Snap got destroyed by Wall Street today after a horrible Q3 earnings where revenue and user growth fell well under expectations. So to get things going in the right direction, CEO Evan Spiegel says Snapchat will make some bold moves not everyone will like. Specifically, it’s redesigning the app to be easier for older people to use, and it’s using data to power an algorithmically sorted Stories feed instead of the strictly reverse-chronological one it uses now.
In the prepared remarks for today’s earnings call, Spiegel wrote about these changes:
- “One thing that we have heard over the years is that Snapchat is difficult to understand or hard to use, and our team has been working on responding to this feedback. As a result, we are currently redesigning our application to make it easier to use. There is a strong likelihood that the redesign of our application will be disruptive to our business in the short term, and we don’t yet know how the behavior of our community will change when they begin to use our updated application. We’re willing to take that risk for what we believe are substantial longterm benefits to our business.”
Algorithmically personalized Stories feed
- “We are developing a new solution that provides each of our 178 million Daily Active Users with their own Stories experience, leveraging the tremendous benefits of machine learning without compromising the editorial integrity of the Stories platform that we have worked so hard to build. As part of our efforts around Search and Maps, we now index millions of Stories every day, meaning we have the long tail of content necessary to provide a truly personal experience. We hope that showing the right Stories to the right audience will help grow engagement and monetization for our partners and for Snapchat.”
- During the earnings call, Spiegel discussed how he saw Facebook as wisely evolving the content-sharing format with its personalized feed of friends, but now sees another opportunity for progress. He explained how Facebook’s feed encourages people to add more friends so it has more posts to draw from, but Spiegel believes that people share less personal content when exposed to a larger audience. But if Snapchat integrates premium video and search-based content, it could fill gaps in friend content without incentivizing you to over-friend. To a similar end, Snap plans to make Snap Map more accessible, as right now it’s invisibly buried behind a pinch gesture on the home screen.
Why It’s Hot
- As Snapchat improves design for “the olds”, will the younger generation abandon ship?
- Anytime a social media platform drops the term “redesign” the eyes begin to roll. This could either make Snapchat friendly for all or it could be the death rattle.