Is Snapchat’s Redesign a Smart Move?

Last week, Snapchat unveiled a redesign in what it hopes will be a successful move to combat stagnant growth and revenue. The new Snapchat design separates social content from media content, so that you see at the top of your feed is most relevant to your interests.

In an opinion piece for Axios, Evan Spiegel, Snap Inc. Co-Founder and CEO, wrote:

The combination of social and media has yielded incredible business results, but has ultimately undermined our relationships with our friends and our relationships with the media. We believe that the best path forward is disentangling the two by providing a personalized content feed based on what you want to watch, not what your friends post.

What does the redesign look like?

  • Chats and Stories from friends are found on the left side of Snapchat camera screen, displayed in order of who you interact with most.
  • Stories from publishers, creators and the community are sorted in the new Discover page to the right of the camera; your subscriptions are featured at the top, followed by recommended curated content. Human moderators will review and approve all Stories in Discover, which should cut down on the spread of fake news or inappropriate content.
  • Snapchat continues to open directly into the camera screen, but now the screen provides a more intuitive interface for those new to the app. It has an icon for every screen within Snapchat, so it’s easier to find what you’re looking for.

Snap Inc. has had a difficult year, falling short of its earnings and growth rate expectations. Its Q3 2017 earnings report announced that it added 4.5 million daily active users, down from 7.3 million in Q2. It reported $207.9 million in revenue, in contrast to predictions of $237 million in revenue.

This redesign marks a hopeful new chapter for Snapchat. It centers on personal relationships and posts from people you actually care about – and if done well, it will be a simpler alternative to the noisy Facebook newsfeed.

As Snapchat wrote in a November 29 statement:

While blurring the lines between professional content creators and your friends has been an interesting Internet experiment, it has also produced some strange side-effects (like fake news) and made us feel like we have to perform for our friends rather than just express ourselves.

The new Snapchat design has already started to roll out to limited users; it will be available globally in the coming weeks.

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