Snapchat has launched a Replay feature that allows users to call back three disappeared messages for 99 cents.
The app had previously allowed users to call back one disappeared message a day for free, but the company said users were frustrated with that limit and appeared willing to pay for more.
“They’re a little pricey – but time is money!” the company said in a blog post.
The paid Replay feature is a return of sorts to Snapchat’s core ephemeral photo app business. The company has more recently focused on advertising on the free app, and generating revenue from recalled images may be tricky as Snapchat users are used to getting free functionality.
“The only way you get people to pay is by offering them something that is a must-have, either at some moment or by some type of users,” said Greg Cohn, chief executive of Ad Hoc Labs, a Los Feliz startup that produces Burner, a temporary pay-to-use phone and messaging app.
The paid feature could also represent a shift toward a freemium app. West Hollywood’s Tinder recently added premium features to its dating app and subsequently rose to the 12th highest grossing app in the Apple app store.
Adding features, not hiding away existing features behind a paywall, is key to freemium success, said Cohn.
“This is a very good baby step towards a Snapchat premium, as a way of testing the waters to see how much people would value this premium feature,” he said. “I don’t think Snapchat is a must-have kind of app in the sense that it has a utility role that has hard value, but it does pass the toothbrush test in that people use it several times a day.”
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