Daily Insights

Snap Into History

By: Mackenzie Baker | Jan 26, 2021

Snapchat helped users enjoy Inauguration Day, even as the pandemic altered the traditional event. 

In tandem with the smaller-scale inauguration ceremony, Snapchat launched a lens that transported users to the U.S. Capitol to participate in the event themselves. With the new lens, users can take a selfie with the Capitol in the background, joined by falling confetti and a seal marking the historic event. The camera can also be flipped to show President Biden on a jumbotron in front of a crowd of inauguration attendees, whose faces are those of supporters who submitted their pictures to Snapchat. The forward facing camera display also includes a clip of the president saying “Hey Snapchat! It’s me, Joe. Welcome to Inauguration!” Snapchat users that accessed the lens during the live broadcast of the presidential inauguration could also click a link at the top of their screen that would take them out of Snapchat to view the livestream. The lens could help younger Americans be a part of a significant event as the pandemic keeps them homebound, but tuned in via smartphone. 

Snapchat’s Inauguration Day lens follows the brand’s voting lens from the Biden administration in the lead up to the election last November. Similar to its latest lens, the voting-inspired spectacle included both a selfie and front-facing image as well as Biden-Harris and American flag decorum. The Biden team also worked with Nintendo’s Animal Crossing last year to “sell” yard signs to players. The emphasis on social media promotions could help Snapchat and fellow tech titans retain engagement from Gen Z users, who make up many of their majority bases and are also the most politically active generation in history. With more consumers getting their news and current events from digital and social media sources according to a Gartner report, the inauguration promotion could help keep users up to date. For Snapchat, hosting a second political lens experience allows it to boost its image as a socially active and aware platform, which could help it appeal to new and loyal users and potentially grow its user base. 

Using Snapchat to watch the Presidential Inauguration signals how reliant consumers have become on their smartphones for connection and entertainment during the Coronavirus pandemic. The lens experience also demonstrates how social media has weaved its way into every industry—even politics—as the era of connecting via tech carries on.