Published July 19, 2021

Great Apps Get Great Engagement

We are often asked by our partners, “what works best? What should we build to drive engagement?”

That depends entirely on an app’s goals, which might range from boosting monetization, to increasing time spent, or even climbing to the top of the app store.

Since we launched Snap Kit, over 1,000 developers have brought their apps to life with the best of Snapchat. Snap Kit helps our partners enable safe logins, helps users share visual communication, and makes apps more delightful.

We’ve seen a lot happen in the industry this year which is why we’re talking about great apps getting great engagement.

Why is this important?

According to the market intelligence provider, App Annie, consumer spending in apps set an all-time quarterly record during the second quarter of 2021 reaching $34 billion. Their Q2 estimates show consistent levels of downloads but increasing user engagement in apps. Users are spending more time in the apps they already enjoy and are spending more money.

According to Sensor Tower, the mobile app experts, two-thirds of app revenue is generated by mobile games. As such non-gaming apps face a much greater challenge monetizing as they pursue smaller available wallets. Many publishers have turned toward subscriptions. About 85% of non-gaming apps offer subscriptions which account for approximately three quarters of total revenue for non-gaming apps.

This means there’s a lot of pressure on app makers to retain users, offer compelling experiences, drive virality, attract multiple log-ins per day, and increase session lengths. Not only must they win the subscription, app makers must then continuously prove the value of the subscription. In other words, if you are a non-gaming app pursuing monetization through in-app purchases, engagement is everything.

Apps seeking advertising revenue face a different challenge that is more aligned to growing audiences efficiently. We wrote about building audiences efficiently by keeping an eye on Customer Acquisition Costs earlier this summer. Growing audience is extremely important and when paired with an engaging user experience, you have a huge success on your hands.

One of the apps that we think is getting great engagement is sendit.

sendit became an early publisher of Lens Games on Snapchat using Snap Kit

We are impressed by sendit’s success. The app took a chance on Snapchat by becoming one of the earliest publishers of Lens Games. With Dynamic Lenses, sendit rose to the top of the app store, generating one million app installs in its first month after launch. The integration enables Snapchatters to challenge their friends to fun games played out within Snap’s camera.

At our 2021 Snap Partner Summit, sendit’s CEO, Hunter Rice, sat down with Seema Puthyapurayil, Manager of Partner Engineering at Snap. (To see the interview, please visit our 2021 Snap Partner Summit recap which includes breakout sessions featuring partners like sendit, Givingli, Voodoo and many others). In their conversation, Rice lays out how partnership with Snap was an important component of sendit’s success.


Rice said that he works with Snapchat primarily because he believes in the community and the importance of enabling communication among best friends.

He chose to build on Snap Kit because distribution was his top priority and Creative Kit was key to reaching his audience. As a product manager, Rice’s main UX (user experience) objective is for sendit’s users to take the least amount of steps when completing an action. In this case, sendit wanted to provide users with an easy path toward sharing sendit content directly into Snapchat stories. Fewer steps meant less drop off, more completed actions, and more sharing to create virality.

In this example, the content in sendit can be shared directly to Snapchat via a share button enabled by Creative Kit, limiting friction.

this or that

Alongside Creative Kit, sendit implemented Dynamic Lenses. The implementation started as an experiment with the objective of discovering new ways to build around sendit’s core interaction. Dynamic Lenses proved to be highly engaging; within one month of launch, sendit observed a billion impressions to the Snap Camera globally.

Content from sendit transforms the Snap Camera into a delightful game via Dynamic Lenses.

Rice consistently emphasizes a few things when he talks about product management. He wants sendit to drive engagement by offering a better user experience that reduces friction and helps users accomplish their goals more quickly. He also stresses the importance of doubling down on a successful core interaction and finding new ways to extend it.

Are there rules of the road?

We’d never recommend that one size fits all. But there are a few things that the best Product Managers consistently stress:

  • Your UX should make things easier. Reduce friction wherever possible to help users accomplish their goals within the app more quickly.
  • Learn from your users. You won’t be able to judge if your UX improvements are working if you are not carefully observing your users and measuring the changes.
  • Know your audience. One of the reasons that sendit’s integration was so successful is that they knew their audience characteristics aligned with Snapchat’s audience, so it was an easy decision for them to learn more about Snap’s developer tools.
  • Keep them coming back. As you build new features, ideally because you are being led by your users, are you achieving “stickiness”? One way to measure stickiness is tracking DAU / MAU. This ratio gives you a sense of how important your app is to your user base. The higher the ratio, the more likely that your app is becoming an essential part of your audience’s life online.
  • Drive virality. It’s sometimes easier said than done, but communication on-line should include opportunities to continue and share the conversation. Experiences should not ever end with a “full stop.”

We are excited by our developer community and cannot wait to see the next sendit emerge. Please check out Snap Kit developer site when you have a moment. We’ve made it easy for developers to register apps and review the documentation you need to get started right away.