On Tuesday, Snapchat announced a new feature that will revolutionize the future of the dining game and everything in between. Snap, the parent company for Snapchat, broke the news of their new feature, Context Cards, on October 10. Context Cards allow your Snapchat friends and those who follow you to easily access reviews and reserve a table or a seat at the location tagged in the original Snapchat. With Context Cards, users who tag their locations via Snapchat will open the door to their friends in various new and exciting ways. Not only can their friends now see that they’re at a certain bar or restaurant, they can simply swipe up to analyze reviews via TripAdvisor relative to the set locations their friends are at.
The introduction of Context Cards will do far more than showcase reviews for users of the app. Not only will users be able to swipe up on a tagged post to see what others are saying about said location, but they’ll be given access to other related information, as well. This includes the ability to reserve a spot via OpenTable and to request an Uber or Lyft to the location. This change has given Snapchat an upper-hand in the worldwide marketplace. As sites and apps such TripAdvisor and FourSquare, both partners of Snapchat in this new endeavor, have been targeting those already searching for their services; context cards allows them access to a whole new discovery platform within an app—Snapchat—that users know and love.
By opening up the door to Context Cards, Snapchat has rebranded itself in one simple move. Not only are they a platform that is used across the board by a variety of users, but they’re now innovating the marketing and discovery world, too. By streamlining the process of finding new places and finding ways to get to those places, Snapchat has joined the likes of Google as a search platform that easily showcases reviews to users who care to find out more about a specific place. This is a move that many businesses should welcome, as it provides them marketing without lifting a finger and showcases their rave reviews in an app used by millions worldwide.
Discovery is one thing, but providing the necessary information upon discovering a new place is another beast in itself. Rivaling a well-known competitor such as Yelp is a tall task, but something Snapchat has willingly taken on full-force. By partnering up with the likes of TripAdvisor, Snapchat has integrated reviews into the process of discovering and advertising for restaurants with minimal effort on the restaurant’s front. With this integration, it’s vital for bars and restaurants to maintain their online reputations for the sake of savoring old clientele, while basking in the ability to easily access the new clientele, as well.
For many restaurant managers and owners, it can be difficult to stay on top of reviews, regardless of their stature. Now that one of the most rapidly growing apps has the ability to showcase reviews in a public manner, restaurants are likely to turn a sharp eye to what current and past customers are saying about their business online. With 91 percent of consumers using online reviews, plus the addition of these Context Cards on Snapchat, restaurants are inevitably going to start focusing on their online presences.
By attracting new customers through discovery via Context Cards, Snapchat is marketing on a serendipitous basis, allowing that space of true and valid interest from consumers to bring them forth into their businesses.
This new feature works similarly to how existing paid marketing campaigns use the platform. By offering up links to restaurants near users and fostering a sense of wanderlust within the process, Snapchat is opening a door that has been slightly cracked open by Facebook. However, they’ve taken it to the next level. Beyond placing a reservation via Messenger in Facebook or booking a ride to a restaurant, they’re putting the power of detection into their users hands, and it’s all about their circle’s vested interests. Consumers’ voices are blasting through Snapchat’s airwaves, and if a business isn’t managing it’s online reputation, those flaws will be showcased for all to see, thanks to Context Cards.
Lee McNiel is the CEO and Founder of ReviewPush in Austin, Texas. ReviewPush is an online review management software company that focuses heavily on the fast casual industry and helping restaurants manage their online reputations.