Snapchat may be popular, but the company is struggling to make money through advertisements. It’s been searching for a new source of revenue for months, including additional photo lenses and sponsored photo lenses, but neither of those are big money makers either, and so the search continues. But whereas its previous monetization attempts have involved augmenting its existing service, Snapchat’s next attempt may be overhauling its service entirely. The developers of Snapprefs discovered some code references in the Snapchat APK on Monday that suggest that the company plans to implement audio and video calling features in the future, as well stickers for its chat, similar to what messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WeChat support.
Snapchat is toying with the idea of introducing video and audio calling and stickers to its chat, according to a number of leaked screenshots. While the features are already embedded in Snapchat’s existing code, they are invisible and can’t be accessed by users. The fact they appear to be in testing at the moment, though, is a signal about how the company is planning to take its service forward. After concerns from advertisers that there’s a lack of data available for targeting ads and the failure of its paid filters option, the company could be looking to new monetization possibilities within the messaging sphere by taking on the likes of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. The company recently slashed the cost of its ads by $600,000 and started bundling up users in a bid to win over more advertisers. It also now allows brands to link to their Snapchat channels and content on Facebook and Twitter, making up for its own lack of data analysis by enabling users to use click-through rates from other sites as a method of working out their own stats. Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel has mentioned in the past that he admires other services like WeChat as well, so it’s not surprising that with Alibaba on board, the company might start drawing inspiration from the big Asian messaging apps, which make millions through selling branded stickers.