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Snapchat is appealing to older users with universal search

Snapchat isn’t the easiest app to use; the interface is simple, but for a first time user hard to navigate. Not to mention, there wasn’t an easy way to add anyone who wasn’t in your contact book. To add an official account of the NBA team, NFL team, or celebrity you had to either find their Snap code online or offline, or you needed to know their exact username on Snapchat. The lack of a user search or real discovery tool left many new users feeling like they didn’t know what to do with Snapchat. Who could they add? How could they find their favorite sports teams, celebrities, or other brands on Snapchat?

Snap(chat) understands finding friends and brands on the service isn’t an easy task. They introduced the Snap code to help alleviate the problem, but people weren’t regularly seeing the codes and many times they don’t know how to use them. Snap(chat) has started rolling out a new update to Android Beta users which feature easier navigation, a focus on bitmoji, and most importantly, universal search.

Now when you look at your friends, you’ll see their Bitmoji instead of the profile image they recently rolled out. When you start searching for a brand like the NBA you’ll see a little basketball emoji next to the name, and you can see an official story from them. It’s a nifty idea that lead me to finally creating a bitmoji and linking it to my Snapchat account.

Now the update isn’t meant for the teenager who knows how to use the day today, but it’s for the parents and anyone older than 28 years old who say “I don’t understand Snapchat.” They’re making the app feel more like Facebook or Twitter, where you can search for friends or brands you like. You can quickly follow those who aren’t directly in your contact book, making discovery easier. There’s also more to this search than appealing to the older crowd – influencers who want to make a name for themselves on Snapchat can start promoting themselves by name and make finding them much easier.

All total, Snapchat is preparing for an IPO this year. They’re trying to make the app feel more like a traditional social network, with hopes they grow exponentially after they IPO. Bolstering their stock price and reaffirming their place in current trends. Especially since Instagram is straight out copying all of their core features, and getting almost as many users using the features.