From Kylie Jenner’s tweet causing a major drop in stocks, to large employee layoffs meant to “streamline and unify” the engineering team, Snapchat finds itself in the tangles of a brand crisis. The platform’s latest update has left many users turned off and frustrated. The new layout meshes stories with individual snaps and completely separates celebrity snaps, making it difficult to maneuver.
With the introduction of marketing tools, the platform has taken away the unique personal factor it previously offered. New analytics encourage content creators to use the platform as a space for their sponsored content and ads, ultimately bombarding users with suggested and advertised content that they never asked for.
From its beginning in 2011, users enjoyed the simplicity of the photo sharing app. Pictures would last for three seconds and were considered an easy way to capture quick moments to share with friends and family. Over time, the app expanded to include filters, geofilters, longer snap times, and most recently the inclusion of Bitmoji and a map to show your location (which users can turn off). These additions allowed users to share more life experiences in further detail.
The evolution led to Snapchat seeing astronomical growth in Q4 of 2017. According to the The Motley Fool, revenue grew 72% during that quarter, reaching $285.7 million. Additionally, Snapchat saw an increase of 8.9 million daily active users, totaling to 187 million active users. These numbers helped to drive investor growth, giving the company a bright outlook for for 2018.
The redesign, which rolled out in February, completely altered how users view stories and personal snaps. The platform became less user-friendly, making it difficult to view your own story, find your friends’ stories, and keep track of videos you have yet to view. The mix and disorganization of celebrity, influencer, publication, and suggested friends’ stories on the far right side swipe can be difficult for users to sort through. Even celebrities are voicing their concerns; Kylie Jenner recently tweeted how she did not open the app anymore, reportedly leading to the brand’s stock losing $1.3 billion.
Snapchat has recognized that many of their users are not fans of the update saying,
“We hear you, and appreciate that you took the time to let us know how you feel. We completely understand the new Snapchat has felt uncomfortable for many.”
Although they “hear” the complaints, there is no sign of them reverting to the old layout. Snap Inc.’s CEO, Evan Spiegel, felt that the complaints actually justify the changes, “One of the complaints we got is, ‘Wow, I used to feel this celebrity was my friend and now I don’t feel like they’re my friend anymore.’ Exactly. They’re not your friend.” Spiegel conveys Snapchat is attempting to separate personal relationships from celebrity content.
With the loss of stock and the recent layoff of 120 engineers, the company has some work to do. In an effort to entice users back, they have rolled out new font options and are slowly introducing the ability to tag users in a story using an @mention. Some users love the different fonts and look forward to tagging friends, while others feel these ideas are stolen straight from Instagram. As Snapchat goes full force with the latest layout, we will wait to see what changes they add and if they help bring back the success the app once saw.
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