Snapchat's Paperclip link tool could open up revenue streams for publishers and creators

Snapchat is further opening up its app to third-party links with a new feature called Paperclip that could open up revenue streams for brands, publishers and influencers within the app.

Until now, users were unable to link out to external websites by adding direct links – the only way to share content from the web was by sharing a QR 'Snapcode' then asking friends or followers to open the app and scan it.

However, this is changing thanks to platform's new Paperclip feature which now lets users attach a link to a photo or a video before it is either shared privately with friends or within a Story.

The update mimics a similar feature from Instagram's Stories service that gives verified accounts the ability to add links into their stories. Much the same as on Instagram, Snapchat users will have to swipe up on an image or a video to navigate to the link.

There is potential for this to be used as a tool by brands and publishers to drive traffic to specific pages. Brands can still add links if they buy ads and build in a way to swipe up on Snaps, but the latest tool opens up the same opportunity to brands using the platform natively.

The fresh feature also has the ability to appease influencers by giving them the ability to link out to their blogs and social platforms. Snapchat has thus far remained uncluttered by influencer endorsements, and there's been reports that it's not keen to play ball with creators. Dom Smales, founder of internet talent agency Gleam – which counts Zoella and Tanya Burr among its clients – told The Drum back in February that Snapchat appeared to be concentrating on traditional media owners and brands. At the time he said the company wasn't working "proactively" with online talent to consolidate young social media savvy audiences, but now if users complete purchases through the links shared within Snapchat's walls it could now open up revenue opportunities for influencers.

The move from Snap also raises a challenge for its rival Instagram, which only allows links to be shared within Stories or in users' profile bios; something that has been a gripe for publishers and creators in the past.

Snapchat added two further features in its latest update – one called Backdrops that lets Snapchatters place colourful and artful patterns behind objects in their photos, and Voice Filters which gives users the chance to choose from a number of character voices after recording a video.