Since the release of Instagram Stories in August 2016, Snapchat’s popularity has slowly been declining. The once breakout sensation is now facing its’ demise as other social networking apps are taking over. However, the young and savvy executives of Snapchat aren’t going down without a fight with a promising Q4 report and new redesign. The question remains, will these new updates make or break Snapchat?
After a disappointing Q3 and slow user growth rate, many anxiously awaited the Q4 report to see if the downward trend would continue. Surprisingly, the Q4 report showed that Snapchat exceeded the estimated revenue coming in at $285.7 million and daily active users coming in at 187 million, which equated to a 5.05% increase from the last quarter. Could we see this upward trend continue? Only time will tell.
Reaching New Users
The growth in daily active users can partly be attributed to Snapchat improving performance for Android users and partnering with more wireless carriers to reduce the cost of data when using the app. This made the app widely available to users around the world, especially in developing countries. Snapchat finally smartened up when it comes to their audience reach strategy, but will diving into a new market be enough to save the social networking app?
One of Snapchat’s efforts to keep the app alive is allowing public Stories to be shared on the web so non-Snapchat users can see. While only certain types of stories will be available for sharing, this new feature has the potential to attract new users by being part of the wider conversation on the Internet. Don’t worry, you’re private snaps will be kept private, but you can now share interesting public snaps to other platforms.
Snapchat gets knocked for their simplicity, but I think it’s part of the appeal. Snapchat has always done one thing well – the ability to send pictures and 10-second videos to your closest friends that disappear. Instagram has now adopted this idea on top of its’ public photo-sharing platform. Instagram is fantastic for following your favourite celebrities, brands, influencers, and friends, but that doesn’t always mean you want to see all of those stories. And yes, Instagram gives you the option to unfollow certain accounts’ Stories, but c’mon, who has the time for that? The beauty of Snapchat is that your feed is only filled with those you have chosen, making it the preferable place to put those Saturday night snaps. Unfortunately, Snapchat is facing pressure to ramp up the app’s capabilities, which may be doing more harm than good.
There’s no denying the growing popularity of Instagram Stories, which has factored into Snapchat’s slow decline. Instagram Stories has most of the same features as Snapchat such as filters, stickers, and text. What Instagram has over Snapchat is a larger audience reach, especially for businesses and celebrities. Why try to build a Snapchat following when you already have an established Instagram following? It’s easier to spend all of your time and energy in one place, especially for social media marketers.
Snapchat’s newly rolled out redesign includes a new Friends and Discover feed, which has taken away from its’ beautiful simplicity. Initial user reviews have come back negative because of the confusing layout. Snapchat has adopted a similar algorithm as Instagram and Facebook to push your best friends’ content to the top, regardless of the last time they snapped. This means that message threads and other contacts are weaved through the feed, making it difficult to find all of the current Stories. Snapchat has also pulled the Stories from your favourite celebrities and brands that don’t follow you back to the equally as confusing Discover section. Talk about a headache.
Another last ditch effort from Snapchat to generate revenue is their newly launched e-commerce store. Users can now purchase Snapchat branded merchandise from the Discover section of the app such as a plush dancing hot dog. A little underwhelming to say the least. The goal is to expand the commerce platform for other brands, but for now, this doesn’t seem to be the best strategy to increase popularity among the everyday user.
Will a promising Q4 report, larger audience reach, and string of new updates save Snapchat from impending doom? Or will the stiff competition, confusing redesign, and desperate revenue-generating tactics put the nail in the coffin? We want to know what you think! Let us know in the comments below.