Snap finally launches a desktop version of its app, tapping into the infamous yet lucrative “side-tab economy”

Tuesday, July 19, 2022 by Robinhood Snacks |
Snap goes back to the future (Snap Inc./Getty Images)

Snap goes back to the future (Snap Inc./Getty Images)

Vintage, so adorable... not the "Mean Girls" skirt. Snap's latest move is so old school it's almost innovative. After more than a decade as a mobile-only app, the little ghost is coming for your laptop. Snap’s launching a web version so that you can send disappearing puppy-face pics on your desktop too.

  • Snapchat for Web will initially be available only to subscribers of Snapchat+, its new $4/month subscription. And only in the US and some other English-speaking countries.
  • Do less: The site will launch as a stripped-down version of the app, focused on chats and video calls (no Stories yet). Snap says its average caller spends 30 minutes/day on calls.

Feeling ghosted... by investors. Snap stock is down 70% this year after it said it would miss its earnings guidance for its latest quarter (FYI: it reports Thursday). In May, Snap warned of slowing growth. Now it's trying to spark engagement with its core user base:

  • Save the Snap streak: Snap says it’s used by more than three-quarters of 13- to 34-year-olds in key markets, like the US and UK. These Gen Z’ers and millennials will be more likely to Snap between classes and Zoom meetings.
  • Case in point: Snap’s web offering features a privacy screen that hides the Snap window when you toggle away for another task (think: Excel when your boss walks by).

The side-tab economy has intensified… since the rise of WFH. The side-tab economy = everything you do on your desktop between Google Meets, classes, and deadlines — from bathing-suit shopping to Twitter scrolling. Snap wants to be a tab you always have open during your workday. And its biggest rivals, TikTok and Insta, already have web offerings.