Snapchat rolls out QR-style ‘Snapcodes’ to open links in app

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Of course Snapchat has come up with a weird way to browse the web. And of course that way involves snapping a photo.

On Tuesday Snapchat added a feature to its mobile app for people to turn links into “Snapcodes” (its version of the QR code) that can be used to open web pages within Snapchat’s in-app browser. For now the feature is only available to iPhone users.

To create a Snapcode, open Snapchat’s in-app settings, select “Snapcodes” and then select “Create Snapcode.” Then paste the URL of the chosen web page and add an image that will appear within the Snapcode; Snapchat will automatically pull images from the web page as options. The completed Snapcode will be saved to your phone’s camera roll and can be inserted anywhere you can insert a photo, like embedded on a website; posted to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter; painted on a billboard; tattooed on your body; etc.

To open a link from a Snapcode, you take a picture of the Snapcode using Snapchat’s in-app camera, and then a prompt will ask if you want to open the link. As a security measure, URL-laden Snapcodes will include the domain of the site being linked to.

While publishers and brands can add parameters to a URL to track when people are visiting a link from Snapchat, Snapchat will also provide in-app analytics for Snapcodes that have been scanned at least 100 times, according to a Snapchat spokesperson. For eligible links, the person who created the Snapcode will be able to see the total number of scans over the past three months as well as the percentage of people who opened the link after scanning it.

About The Author

Tim Peterson, Third Door Media’s Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has reported for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he currently lives in Los Angeles. He has broken stories on Snapchat’s ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar’s attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon’s ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube’s programming strategy, Facebook’s ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking’s rise; and documented digital video’s biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed’s branded video production process and Snapchat Discover’s ad load six months after launch. He has also developed tools to monitor brands’ early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo’s and Google’s search designs and examine the NFL’s YouTube and Facebook video strategies.


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