Ever had to strike up a conversation with that old friend that you haven’t spoken to in years just to ask where they got those pancakes that they just posted on their Snapchat Story? Snapchat Context Cards are here to get you out of those awkward moments.

The image messaging service took to YouTube yesterday evening to unveil a new feature. Snapchat Context Cards are set to simplify the process of researching hotels, restaurants and attractions.

The next time something on Snapchat catches your eye, you will be able to swipe up and instantly receive a tonne of information about the location.

Snapchat has paired up with various other internet companies, such as TripAdvisor, Foursquare, Michelin and goop to deliver their users information on opening times, contact details, menus, distance and more. Users will also able be able to browse reviews to determine whether something is worth checking out in advance.

Likewise, partnerships with ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft make it even easier to book a taxi to your next spot. Services such as OpenTable, Resy and Bookatable have also been integrated, allowing users to book tables through the app.

Snapchat has said that Context Cards will turn Snapchat messages into “the visual starting point for learning more about the world”.

It seems that the company is banking on this feature being the next big thing, but will it be a success?

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By GlobalData

Can Snapchat Context Cards overcome Instagram?

Attracting users has never been a major issue for Snapchat. The app currently attracts 173m daily active users. It saw its user base grow in 2014 and 2015 by 33.7 percent and 39.9 percent respectively.

However, that growth stalled over the last year, as Facebook wormed in on Snapchat’s market. The social media giants released a similar feature to Snapchat Stories on their Instagram photography platform.

According to TechCrunch, Snapchat Stories saw a significant decline in views following the launch of Instagram Stories. Likewise, Facebook announced earlier this year that Instagram Stories had more daily active users than the Snapchat app.

Snapchat has since set about developing new features in an attempt to provide something that Instagram doesn’t.

They announced a Snapchat art feature earlier this month, which will allow users to view AR art sculptures through the app. However, Facebook is already working on similar technology.

Although, Snapchat hopes that Context Cards will give them an edge over their rival and start attracting users again.

Will it provide a boost to Snap Inc’s struggling stock?

Snapchat Context Cards are also undoubtedly viewed as a way to overcome the monetisation issues that the platform has faced.

Snap went public in March and saw its share price climb to $27 on its first day of trading. However, it has now fallen below the initial offering price of $17 a share.

This is largely a result of the company’s monetisation struggles. While Snapchat generated $404.5m in advertising revenue last year, Instagram’s earnings were estimated to be somewhere between $2-3bn.

However, Snapchat Context Cards could provide a solution to that problem.

Snapchat won’t be adding this feature to every single Snapchat sent. Instead, it will only appear when users tag an image with a venue-specific Geofilter.

In order to place these location-triggered overlays, businesses must pay a fee depending on the size and popularity of the area that they wish to target.

In the past, users would have to exit the Snapchat app and perform a search for the advertised business. However, they will now be able to find out more with one swipe, so long as the event, location or business in question is willing to pay for the privilege.

This will undoubtedly increase the appeal of advertising through Snapchat and, the company hopes, boost revenue and engagement.

It seems Snapchat is now positioning itself as a marketing platform, rather than an instant messaging service. While certainly an interesting move, we will have to wait and see how it is received by Snapchat’s current users before it can be deemed a good one.