Published on January 12, 2024, 5:11 pm

The world of customer experience (CX) is ever-evolving, and one platform that is making waves in this space is Snapchat+. With a premium subscription priced at $3.99 per month, Snapchat+ has reached an impressive milestone of 7 million paying users. This number has grown by 2 million since September 2023, and it now surpasses the premium offerings of social media giants like Instagram and Twitter, which struggle to go beyond 1 million subscribers.

What sets Snapchat+ apart from other social media subscriptions is its focus on generative AI features rather than just offering status markers like blue checks. For the subscription fee, users gain access to a range of exciting AI-powered tools. These include an AI image generator similar to Dall-E, which expands pictures based on what the technology determines is out of frame. Additionally, there’s “My AI,” a GPT-4-powered chatbot with special functionality exclusive to Snapchat+ subscribers. Lastly, there’s the “Dreams” tool that uses selfies to create images of users in fantasy settings such as alternate universes or movie posters.

Snapchat+ can be seen as a breakthrough product in the field of generative AI. Its success indicates that the near-term future of this technology may differ from initial expectations. Rather than creating completely new experiences, Snapchat+ integrates generative AI features into its existing app. This integration enhances users’ overall experience by allowing them to send more vibrant pictures, post imaginative scenes on their stories, and engage with a fast and intelligent AI bot while waiting for friends’ responses.

Despite not fundamentally transforming the Snapchat experience itself, these added generative AI features have resonated with users. Snap reports that My AI alone has facilitated the sending of over 20 billion messages thus far. The limited version is now available for free to all users.

This success story highlights that ChatGPT-style experiences may be the most effective use case for this technology at present. Generative AI has the potential to enhance existing platforms rather than completely revolutionize them. For instance, it may not replace search engines but could be integrated as a feature on top of existing search functionalities. It might not reinvent spreadsheets but could offer chat capabilities within spreadsheet applications for easier data manipulation. While generative AI may not create entirely new categories of consumer apps, it can empower developers who swiftly incorporate this technology into their existing offerings.

Snapchat’s early success in this space is understandable. AI image generation is fundamentally a communication tool that allows people to express themselves more vibrantly and imaginatively than ever before. By integrating this technology into a camera-first messaging app, Snapchat leverages its strengths and provides users with an enhanced experience.

Moreover, generative AI presents an exciting business opportunity for Snap, particularly as the company grapples with fully monetizing its ad space. According to Bloomberg’s estimate, 7 million paying subscribers of Snapchat+ could generate around $330 million in annual revenue. This figure is significant for a company that reportedly made approximately $4.6 billion in 2023.

While generative AI has yet to fulfill its lofty potential, companies applying current technologies have a genuine chance to augment their products and achieve success. Snapchat, known for its innovative product offerings, has become the first to capitalize on these opportunities.

In conclusion, Snapchat+ demonstrates the potential and impact of generative AI in customer experiences. Its unique approach of integrating AI features into an existing platform has proven successful, enhancing user interactions and expanding creative possibilities. As other companies explore similar avenues, generative AI represents a fascinating frontier in the realm of artificial intelligence and customer-centric innovation.

About the Author:
Alex Kantrowitz is an esteemed writer, author, journalist, and contributor for MSNBC. With his extensive experience covering major tech giants like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, Alex has written for reputable publications such as The New Yorker, The New York Times, CMSWire, and Wired. He is the author of “Always Day One: How the Tech Titans Plan to Stay on Top Forever” and is the founder of Big Technology. Alex graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial and Labor Relations. He currently resides in San Francisco, California.


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