Finding ways to effectively monetize an app is the great challenge faced by many successful startups these days.
Having built a sizable audience, ephemeral messaging service Snapchat started pulling in a few bucks earlier this year by persuading media outlets to start offering content via the app’s Discover feature. Brand involvement via sponsored Stories has also helped the startup to make money.
Its latest revenue-generating effort involves targeting Snapchatters directly by tempting them with extra Replays – for a fee.
Replay is a feature introduced two years ago that lets users take a second look at a Snap before it permanently disappears. Up to now, Snapchatters have been allowed one Replay every 24 hours, and while that feature remains, the startup is from this week offering three additional Replays for 99 cents.
The Snapchat team explained the new feature in a post on its blog: “We’ve provided one Replay per Snapchatter per day, sometimes frustrating the millions of Snapchatters who receive many daily Snaps deserving of a Replay.”
It goes on, “But then we realized – a Replay is like a compliment! So why stop at just one? Today, U.S. Snapchatters can purchase extra Replays, starting at 3 for $0.99.”
Of course, Snapchat has built its brand on the idea of ephemerality, so in an effort not to stray too far from this concept, users who pay the 99 cents can only Replay a particular Snap one time.
With more than 100 million people now exchanging messages on Snapchat, the startup’s first in-app purchase certainly has the potential to be a decent earner.
Snapchat has been enjoying steady growth and gained much attention since launching four years ago. In 2013 it rejected a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook, though since then has attracted plenty of interest from investors. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, for example, earlier this year dropped $200 million on the startup.
LA-based Snapchat said in March it’s planning for an IPO, though no concrete plans are thought to be in place at this stage.