Snapchat hopes to surpass TikTok with new Lens challenges

Snapchat is hanging in there. The service has been slipping downward, due in no small part to Facebook’s repeated attempts to copy its core options, a number of which have gone on to become even more successful than Snapchat itself.
As an attempt to recoup disinterested users, Snapchat is introducing a brand new feature called Lens Challenges. Users can be a part of these challenges by uploading Snaps with a Lens that’s themed to a specific song, dance, holiday, event, and more, Snapchat explains.

Snapchat Lens challenges

One of the first challenges is centered on Gwen Stefani’s version of “Jingle Bells,” which users can sing along to and share. Other Lens Challenges are accessible on the Lens explorer section, many of which are songs users can record themselves lip-synching to.

Snapchat designed the Gwen Stefani challenge itself, though others will be created by community members. Aside from that lip-synch Lens is a new one called “Disappear,” courtesy of user Jye Trudinger. With Disappear, users are instructed to take 2 photos — one where they’re present, and one where they’re not — so as to make the subject disappear.

What’s the purpose of these Lens challenges?

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the Gwen Stefani Lens Challenge described above closely mimics another popular service, TikTok. In that app, users can choose a song then dance or lip-synch to it. Challenges are also a main part of TikTok, and they are instrumental within the app’s huge success in recent months, particularly since acquiring the conjointly ultra-popular app TikTok surpassed Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube in new downloads last month.

As TechCrunch reports, Snapchat hopes that by bringing Lens Challenges, creators can create their own challenges and engaged more users moving forward. If this happens, the service stands to earn more growth and user engagement, something it sorely needs after Facebook’s copying fiasco.

Snapchat has been struggling this past year, which was marked by a number of missteps, as well as a redesign attempt that polarized users and declining user engagement and revenue per user, among a number of other things. Within the third quarter of 2018, Snapchat lost two million users, although its user base is still up year-over-year. An opportunity to recover is still available.

Whether Lens Challenges can save Snapchat from becoming obsolete remains to be seen, however patterning a feature after TikTok is a smart move.