Today Snapchat announced a new feature called Birthday Party, which is essentially a duet of lenses – one of which can only be used on your birthday, and one that can only be used if snapping friends on their birthday.
Snapchat will also put a cake emoji next to the name of friends who are celebrating their special day, essentially serving as a reminder to send them a happy birthday snap. Lastly the company will be updating the time filter, allowing users to tap it so it displays the day’s date instead of current time.
These features, which can be turned on by entering your birthday in the settings tab, will certainly increase engagement between users.
But more importantly, it will provide an incentive for users who never provided a birthdate during their original sign up to now hand it over to the company.
Birthday Party is slightly reminiscent of Twitter’s animated balloons feature, which tried to tempt users to give Twitter their birthdate in return for an animated profile page on their birthday. At the time we called the move an “obvious data grab,” but one that was necessary if Twitter was ever going to get serious about ad targeting.
The same is probably true for Snapchat.
As Snapchat tries to increase the quality of its ad product, it will need to continue offering better ways to target specific demographics of users. Adding reliable birthdate data for the entire user-base will certainly be attractive for advertisers who are trying to sort through the platform’s diverse pool of users.
Birthday Party will roll out today to all Snapchat users in an iOS and Android update.