Self-destructing photo-messaging service Snapchat has introduced its first paid-for service with a new function that enables users to make their favourite messages reappear for $0.99 (£0.64).
The company has also introduced the ability to enhance pictures with 'Lenses' that animate images with graphics, filters and more, and trophies that reward users for completing creative tasks within the app.
Snapchat already allows users one free replay of a message per day, and has done so for the past two years, meaning that added them as a paid service is essentially a free development for the app, and one that could see it rake in considerable revenues from the 100m users who log into the service every day.
While the company has managed to draw in investment that values to startup at $16bn, it only brought in $3.1m in revenues last year from advertising on its Stories and Discover channels. The addition of this new paid service may be part of efforts to remedy this lack of income.
The Trophies and Lenses features are both free, and designed to increase engagement. Trophies awards users with virtual stickers based on how they use the app, while Lenses enables users to take selfies then add filters which distort their face or add animations or sound.
The Lenses feature comes courtesy of a new acquisition by Snapchat, San Francisco-based startup Looksery, whose app created similar filters and animations for photos. Snapchat reportedly acquired the firm for $150m, bringing the entire team on-board to manage the Lenses feature. Looksery's own app disappeared off app stores this morning following the new Snapchat update.