Snatch app offers new way to engage consumers but needs to sharpen its game to win

Snatch, the new Pokémon Go-esque app, allows shoppers to go on a virtual treasure hunt for parcels containing prizes such as discounts at major brands. It was created by Joe Martin who was fed up of spending time and money on mobile games that gave him nothing tangible in return. Snatch uses the latest in augmented reality and geo-location technologies, and around 25 brands are already on board – big names that include Unilever, Topshop, Topman, Mitchells & Butlers, Just Eat and Pizza Hut. Our market research suggests that whilst the app allows companies to connect with customers through an experience that’s more immersive and fun than conventional, overtly targeted advertising, the execution isn’t yet compelling enough to ensure long-term engagement. Here’s why..

Game soon robbed of appeal by the ‘snatching’ element

Initially, Snatch’s users are excited by the innovative concept and the challenge of finding one of the virtual prizes in their locality. The excitement is heightened by the fact that a big part of the game involves snatching other players’ parcels. However, this buzz soon dissipates as it dawns on participants that it’s quite easy for others to walk past and pinch their winnings! This aspect means consumers are left feeling they have no genuine control of the game – and, as shown by ABA’s 5Drivers model of the emotions that drive consumer behaviour, a lack of #control is very likely to leave people disappointed or annoyed. Crucially, this weakness undermines the sense of challenge around Snatch. Players like the idea of being in a race to find a prize and relish the feeling of achievement when they discover the more special prizes, but the element that involves stealing parcels from others feels more ‘snide’ than satisfying!

Treasure not yet compelling enough to hook the hunter

Some of the prizes are worth winning but, overall, the rewards just don’t seem substantial enough to keep players engaged. Instead of offering the tangible benefits envisaged by its founder, too many parcels are filled only with ‘free coins’ for use within the game itself. Securing a parcel and opening it to find you have won 50 coins for the umpteenth time can get boring and make the better prizes feel illusory. There needs to be greater opportunity for players to, early on, win something worth winning. A tweak to the underlying algorithms seems necessary. Beyond this, some of the ‘better’ prizes themselves need reviewing. Money off at Topshop and ASOS may look appealing at first sight, but these perks are no different from student discounts, and ‘2 months of Now TV for free’ is hardly an exclusive discount deal. Who hasn’t seen that offer?!

The idea of a virtual world laden with wonderful hidden prizes could well be a fun way for brands to provide an immersive experience that helps strengthen bonds with consumers. However, if Snatch is to be the leading player, it will need some refinements and must put more emphasis on the winning than the pinching.



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