Iterations: Snoopify, The Greatest Mobile Photobombing App Of All Time

Posted: May 13, 2013 in GT, Mobile, Opinion, Technology

“What are the cool new apps you’ve seen lately?” To
this oft heard question, lately, there have been lots of
answers. So, mobile is indeed exciting and moving
fast. And, just recently, a fun new app came out that
instantly captured my attention — no, it’s not from a
Stanford dropout or from the ”innovation lab” of a large technology company. No. It’s from Snoop Dogg
— excuse me — Snoop Lion. Yes, that’s right, the
same artist so many of you grew up with. He’s
diversified his musical career into the business of his
own branded apparel, a television show, and now he
invades the greatest consumer stage of our times — our mobile phones. And, what’s more impressive is
just how he did it — the genius to observe and iterate,
to pull out the nuggets of lessons we have learned
and package it together with marketing that’s both
fun, easy, and devilishly derivative yet
simultaneously novel. The app is called “Snoopify.” I think it’s both a noun
(the app) and a verb (as in, to “Snoopify” a photo).
Essentially, you can take a new or existing picture,
and then open up a box of Snoop stickers (that’s
right, stickers) and overlay them onto the picture
before sharing it on every social platform . Most of the stickers, as you can imagine, have something to
do with Snoop and his brand, which makes for a
hilarious “Snoop filter” on these doctored photographs.
The first time I downloaded the app, I ”Snoopified”
about five times in the span of 10 minutes and shared
them everywhere. Snoop has essentially digitized himself and appified a scalable way to photobomb
any picture with his signature brand. And, this is the
best part — if you want to unlock the 2nd, 3rd, and
4th pages of stickers, pull out your credit card
because they’re locked behind a paywall. In-app purchases. Genius. From a marketing and branding standpoint, this is all
fascinating to me. Look at the intersections of trends
here: (1) Photos remain the premium communication
currency in our mobile world. Like SnapChat showed
with their expiring images, there’s no end to the
creative manipulation mobile software can offer to pictures. (2) Influencers with their own global, diverse
audiences can leverage networks like Twitter and
Instagram to breakthrough the noise and clutter of the
iOS app store distribution minefield. There’s the tactic
of growth hacking, yes — and then there’s the pure
organic lift a celebrity can leverage to surpass everyone else. And (3) Stickers. Just a few months
ago, everyone was hemming and hawing about Path’s
latest 3.0 update which include new sets of free and
paid stickers, perhaps influenced by the growth of
mobile messaging apps in Asia (such as Line, an app
which reportedly raked in US$50M+ in Q1 of 2013 by selling virtual goods in-app). So, Snoop and his team watch all these trends
converge, and steal a page out of the apps like Line
and Path. Great artists steal, right? And, what do you
know, it worked — I bought stickers, my first in-app
purchase of a digital good. Brilliant. I’ll be writing more about the overall trends I’m seeing
at the app layer here in my column this summer, but
an app like Snoopify, which rose quickly in the charts
earlier this week, breaks convention with how much of
the startup world views how apps are supposed to be
made and distributed. Distribution may, in the end, be just as, if not more, important than the actual app.
Maybe. The creator of the app doesn’t actually have
to do the hard-coding of the software — he or she can
commission it, and it can be developed elsewhere. Of
course, as I finalize this post, the app has already
slipped in the charts. When I started drafting this post a few days ago, “Snoopify” was in the Top 25 trending
free apps according to App Annie, but now as I
finalize this early Sunday morning, it’s slipped to #36
(on AppData) and #58 (on App Annie) and is ranked
#156 for grossing according to the official Apple App
Store. An app like Snoopify was destined to be faddish and
not a business. Or, maybe this is just the first move
by Snoop Lion to cut into the iPhone, on the app
level. At scale, it’s an incredibly clever technique to
extend his brand on top of other peoples’ pictures —
the greatest photobomb at scale….ever! Perhaps he doesn’t see enough quality engagement on his work
in popular music apps like Spotify or Rdio or other
myriad music apps. Maybe he’s tired of
Instagramming and receiving hearts in return, or
maybe Twitter is just for distribution to his fan base.
Maybe after stickers, he’s going to open private messaging inside his app, or broadcast scenes from
his next concert to a select audience. (I’m having fun
with this, naturally, though it’s not out of the realm of
possibility.) The opportunities on mobile are continuing to prove
endless, and for someone as creative as Snoop, even
a little mobile icon can represent the largest of
sandboxes. Of course, not every artist can go to the
lengths that Snoop went to in developing and
promoting his mobile app, but of the ones who do have this luxury, Snoop’s foray into the app store
was a brilliant move, complete with a built-in revenue
model, a platform for showcasing his brand, and
artfully blending some of the biggest trends in
consumer mobile behavior we have all collectively
observed. Well played, Snoop — well played.

  1. Hi! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay. I’m definitely enjoying your blog and look
    forward to new updates.

  2. oLxOPOJQ says:


  3. CbPXkDTW says:


  4. WHyqajgO says:


  5. sIJtxEcp says:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s