The social media wars rage on, as apps invest heavily in new features to grab and hold their fickle young audiences. Snapchat seems to have developed a knack for introducing enticing features that are also attractive to advertisers.

Snapchat and Social Media
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I recently blogged about Snapchat’s geofilters feature, which permits users to add sponsored frames to their posts. Similarly, Snapchat’s lenses feature offers sponsored animations for users to spice up their selfies. Now, the company is reported to be acquiring Bitstrips, whose users can create “Bitmojis” — eye-catching cartoon avatars of themselves that can be paired with messages and greetings.

So what makes Bitstrips worth its reported $100 million purchase price? Advertisers. Snapchat is betting that sponsors will create branded Bitmojis, of movie characters, for example, that users will embed in their posts. Indications so far are that this may prove to have been a smart bet. Users of the Bitmoji smartphone app spent an average 8 minutes/month on it, and 4% were still using it a month later. By comparison, monthly usage of  MSQRD, the photo-editing app purchased by Facebook, was 30 seconds less, and retention was only 2%.