After struggling with profitability since going public in March 2017, the executives at Snap Inc., Los Angeles, may have decided on a new way in which to engage Snapchat app users: activity tracking.
On Nov. 7, Snapchat's parent company was awarded a new patent that could, through smartphone sensor data, add a step-counting feature to the app.
According to the patent, the potential app feature could: "generate an image via the digital camera; retrieve activity data associated with a user of the system from the activity sensor; modify the image to represent the activity data within the image; and transmit the modified image, using the communication module, to a server."
The feature would allow users to compare the steps they have taken with the steps taken by friends via data overlays that could be added to their snaps, according to the patent. Users with the most steps taken would be able to include graphics such as trophies or ribbons.
Similarly to smartwatches or other step-tracking smartphone apps, the new Snapchat feature would also allow users to establish a “daily step count threshold (e.g., 5000 steps per day or 10000 steps per day)."
"There’s no guarantee that Snap will implement this service," according to a Nov. 7 report by Quartz, "but it could be a useful addition to the app."
"[O]ne of its strongest pitches to advertisers is how long its users spend with its app," the report said. "Snap told Quartz in September that the average user spends 30 minutes per day with the app, three minutes of which is just spent playing with filters. So the more time it can keep users trying out new features, the more chances it has to engage them with advertising."
Snap Inc. has not publicly commented on the patent.