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Friday, 18 May 2018 15:24

Is Snapchat Dead?

Written by Jessica Leff, Digital Marketing Specialist


What is Snapchat?

For those who don’t know, Snapchat is an app that allows users to send temporary photos or videos to others. Over the years, its capabilities have expanded to allow for text chats, stories (videos or photos that all of a user’s contacts can see that last 24 hours) and branded content. At any point, the recipient of a snapchat can take a screenshot, but the sender will be notified.

Snapchat’s Rise

Snapchat1Snapchat was released in September 2011 and one year later its users were sending 20 million snaps per day. By December 2012, that figure had risen to 50 million snaps per day. 1 With its popularity on the rise, the app caught the attention of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who offered its creators $3 billion for it in 2013, but they declined.2 Teens loved Snapchat. By August 2014, 40% of 18 year olds in the US used Snapchat daily. In 2016, the app had over 100 million active users.3

So, what happened?

Snapchat’s Decline

Competition From Instagram Stories

In 2016, Instagram, owned by Facebook, introduced its own “Stories” feature.4 Now, Snapchat had some serious competition. One year after its launch, Stories had 250 million daily users. On the other hand, Snapchat had 173 million users in the second quarter of 2017, and that figure included users from all of its features, not just their “stories.” Snapchat’s CEO said that user growth was not a priority, since he did not consider Snapchat a social network, but rather a camera company. Financially, Snapchat was okay, still making double the revenue of the previous year, but that was below what analysts were expecting.5

February 2018 Snapchat Redesign Fail

In February, Snapchat launched a substantial redesign, which separated content by who produced it (friends or publishers) and reorganized “stories.” Users absolutely hated the update. While backlash against changes to social media platforms is common – remember when Twitter increased its character limit – this felt different. Soon after its introduction, over 1.2 million users signed a petition urging the company to revert back to the old design. Despite all of this, Snapchat announced that the new design was not going anywhere.6

Influencers Flee Snapchat After Redesign

Snapchat2Average users were not the only people upset by the redesign. On February 21, Kylie Jenner tweeted, “sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me…ugh this is so sad.” After that, Snapchat’s parent company, Snap suffered a $1.3 million drop in market value.6 The following day, Maybelline asked its followers if it should leave Snapchat due to a decline in views.

Results of Snapchat’s Redesign

This redesign seemed to have lasting effects. Snapchat’s growth slowed even further with the user-base only growing 2% over three months in May compared to 5% over three months the previous May.7 Research found that Snapchat’s “impression score,” which measures how positively or negatively consumers view a brand, fell 73% among U.S. adults ages 18-34 between late January and April.8

What Now?

Snapchat’s Re-Redesign

On May 10, Snapchat introduced a new layout as a response to all of the outrage over its February redesign. The new layout put snaps and chats back into chronological order and put stories back on the right-hand side of the app. Yet, some changes, such as separating content by who produced it, remained the same.9

Hope for Snapchat?

Snapchat may be on life support, but it’s not dead yet. About 26% of millenials use Snapchat at least once a day.8 The redesign has also brought more user retention among older users.7 The user base grew about 15% to 191 million in Q1 of 2018, which was below what analysts predicted, but still represents something.8 Financially, the company is not doing as well as investors expected. Yet, there have been other social media platforms that have gone through their own growing pains and made it to the other side.7 If Snapchat acts fast, there could be some hope left. This is certainly something to keep an eye on.











Read 2502 times Last modified on Friday, 18 May 2018 15:31

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