Since 2016, the company has invested in native-to-mobile civic experiences to encourage political engagement among its users—whether it’s by learning what’s on your ballot, or keeping abreast of current issues, or by running for office.
Snap Inc (Snap) is a camera company dedicated to improving the way people communicate. Founded in 2011, the company develops and maintains products and services that empower people to have fun and express themselves. Their products include Snapchat, Spectacles, and Bitmoji.
In June of 2020, Snap launched Snap Minis: third-party, bite-size, HTML-based miniature utilities built for friends within Snapchat.
At Snap, civic engagement is considered one of the most powerful forms of self-expression. Since 2016, the company has invested in native-to-mobile civic experiences to encourage political engagement among its users—whether it’s by learning what’s on your ballot, or keeping abreast of current issues, or by running for office.
As part of the next step in Snap’s civic-focused journey, the search began for an external developer with experience building Snap Minis. Snap approached OmbuLabs to build a new civic engagement app, the “Run for Office Mini”. We were chosen because of our proven success developing Snap Minis and our deep understanding of the ideal Mini user experience.
“At Snap, we believe building native-to-mobile civics tools is a critical way to empower the next generation of Americans to make a difference in their communities. OmbuLabs has been a critical partner in bringing these experiences to life and we are grateful for their collaboration.” — Sofia - Head of Policy Partnerships and Social Impact:
Here was our challenge:
Snapchat needed a partner that would be an integral part of the team and deliver on its vision of creating a tool that helps Snapchatters learn about opportunities to run for office in their local community.
Our goal was to deliver the best user experience, ensure top performance, maintain a native look and feel with cross-browser functionality, and integrate with Snapchat’s sharing feature to incentivize users to share the Mini with friends. In addition, we would need to apply our ingenuity and agility to pull in complex election data from a third-party API.
Here’s how we solved it:
We worked hand-in-hand with Snapchat’s product, design, engineering, and public policy team, as well as BallotReady, a start-up that provides nonpartisan, personalized information to voters, to build the Run for Office Mini.
By leveraging BallotReady’s CivicEngine API, we built the Mini to help Snapchatters find local elections they can run in based on issues they care most about, nominate friends to run for local office, and connect with nonprofit organizations that will support them with next steps.
We shared our expertise and creative problem-solving skills and navigated a sea of edge cases that improved the end-user experience. This led to the successful, on-time launch of the Mini on October 5, 2021.
See the results:
The Run for Office Mini is an important step in Snap’s journey to create always-on civic programming within Snapchat.
The Snapchat Generation, which spans from 13 to 34 years old, grew up being able to do everything on their phones, except civic processes such as registering to vote. Since launching, Snapchat has helped tens of thousands of Snapchatters nominate their friends to run for local office and connect with organizations that help them take their next steps towards launching a campaign. In addition to the Snapchatters who decide to step into public leadership, millions more are learning about the different levers of power in their neighborhood and deepening their civic knowledge.
Amanda Litman, co-founder of one of Snap’s key candidate recruitment partners, Run for Something, called this the “biggest candidate recruitment effort” in recent memory.
According to Axios, the Run for Office Mini reached nearly four million Snapchatters, and deepened their engagement. As of October 10th, 2021:
- Almost 4 million Snapchatters have used the Run for Office Mini since its launch;
- Over 46,000 Snapchatters have nominated a friend to run for office;
- Over half of the elections that Snapchatters have selected are at the local level, including roles such as members of the City Council, School Board, Town Council, and City Ethics Board;
The Run for Office Mini, which was featured on the Today Show, NPR, ABC News, and Snapchat’s morning show Good Luck America, has been an overwhelming success for the company and its users.
As a platform where young people gather to communicate and share their experiences, Snapchat plays an important role in normalizing the idea of running for local office. With the Run for Office Mini and other Civics Minis built by OmbuLabs, Snapchatters and their close friends now have the support and tools they need to engage with the civic process in creative and meaningful ways directly from their phones.
Snapchat Run for Office Mini Civic Engagement
- Language: HTML, Typescript and CSS(Sass);
- Frameworks: ReactJS;
- API Integrations: BallotReady’s CivicEngine, Google Maps Geolocations;
- Timeline: 5 months (first calls in May);
- Delivery: October 18th;
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