Snapchat redesign sparks user anger as platform courts marketers

The social media platform continues to beef up its offerings for brand managers, but its recent update is prompting many of its regular users—including big influencers—to flee to other sites.

Snapchat’s new look is not winning the platform any favors among its dedicated users.

On Monday, the app rolled out a redesign that dramatically changes the look and experience of Snapchat—and many members are lashing out.

TechCrunch reported:

Confusingly jamming Stories in between private messages has sparked backlash amongst the first users of Snapchat’s sweeping redesign. In the few countries including the U.K., Australia, and Canada where the redesign is widely available, 83 percent of App Store reviews (1,941) for the update are negative with one or two stars, according to data provided to TechCrunch by mobile analytics firm Sensor Tower. Just 17 percent, or 391 of the reviews, give it three to five stars.

The most referenced keywords in the negative reviews include “new update”, “Stories”, and “please fix”. Meanwhile, Snapchat’s Support Twitter account has been busy replying to people who hate the update and are asking to uninstall it, noting “It’s not possible to revert to a previous version of Snapchat”, and trying to explain where Stories are to confused users.

Many Snapchat users complain that the redesign made Snapchat more confusing to locate friends’ content and send snaps to them. Users with huge followings are throwing in their criticism (and, for some, the towel): The platform moved celebrity and influencer stories to the same area as sponsored content, making it harder to find individual stories.

CNBC reported:

You used to be able to swipe left to find Stories. Now the page is full of sponsored content and featured celebrity stories.

This change is part of Snapchat’s move to be more advertiser-friendly and bring in more revenue. Instead, it has the opposite effect: it makes the ads easier to avoid — you can just stay away from that page altogether.

YouTuber and tech influencer Marques Brownlee posted a video saying Snapchat wasn’t friendly to content creators and that he would move to Instagram:

Model Chrissy Teigen tweeted:

On Sunday, The Daily Beast reported:

A fake tweet claiming that Snapchat would revert back to its old design if it got enough retweets received 1.3 million retweets as of Sunday afternoon and has become the sixth most retweeted tweet of all time.

Thousands of other teens spent the weekend tweeting about the update and begging the company to reconsider its choice. Many posted to their Stories about how much they hated the new redesign under the misguided notion that Snapchat might read their messages and reconsider the rollout.

A petition to “Remove the new Snapchat update” has received nearly half a million signatures.

Snapchat also has dropped to a two-star rating on Apple’s App Store, owing to disgruntled users’ posting a slew of one-star reviews after the redesign.

On Monday, Variety reported:

The annoyance over Snapchat’s app update comes after Snap reported its best quarter ever last week since going public. Snap topped Wall Street revenue expectations for the fourth quarter of 2017 and also posted the biggest net user addition in over a year, adding 8.9 million daily active users in the period to an average of 187 million DAUs. On the earnings call, CEO Evan Spiegel said that 40 million users had the redesigned Snapchat app as of Feb. 6, and that has increased as Snap expanded the rollout last week.

Variety further reported:

Snap currently has no plans to revert to the previous Snapchat app design. In a statement, a spokeswoman said, “Updates as big as this one can take a little getting used to, but we hope the community will enjoy it once they settle in.”

It’s worth that anytime a widely used app platform makes changes — even seemingly minor ones — people tend to freak out and clamor for a return to the previous design. Over the years users have railed against updates implemented by Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Netflix. Eventually the storm passes as everyone grows accustomed to the changes.

Snapchat’s social media team has been answering disgruntled users to help them adjust to the change—but the platform might be in trouble if the backlash grows and more users leave the app.

The Daily Beast reported:

Though all this outrage may seem like typical user backlash against change, Snapchat is in a volatile place and would suffer greatly if there was a mass exodus to other social apps like Instagram. Its user growth picked up slightly in the fourth quarter of 2017, yet it still has miles to go to catch up to other apps like Instagram.

Snap Map and ad credits further entice marketers

Snapchat might not be endearing users and influencers, but it’s still moving to impress brand managers with additional tools and opportunities to reach younger consumers.

Snapchat opened up its “Snap Map” feature to people outside of its app—another step Snap has taken to court brand managers and influencers who make content and want to find users’ creations.

TechCrunch reported:

… Now, there’s a version of Snap Map available for anyone to view on the web, but it’s less about checking out where your pals are at, and more about media companies using it as an interactive heatmap for real-time content.

… Snap is also hoping this will become a resource for media organizations hoping to drive engagement and provide real-time views of news viewers and readers care about. There’s an embed feature, letting you quickly and easily get a link or an actual embed code for inclusion in your own posts or website. You can see an example of what that looks like below, but basically it provides a vertical view as you’d get with Snap Map in the app, which you can expand to occupy the full screen.

Using its search, you can find pockets of content around the world from public Snapchat stories that users share, such as snaps from the Auto Show in Chicago:

Wired reported:

News organizations, bloggers, and anyone else can embed Snap Map content right into web pages or other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Unlike embedding a tweet or YouTube video—and true to Snapchat’s purpose—Snap Map content will be ephemeral, disappearing after 30 days. That’s far longer than normal Snapchat stories, which only last 24 hours. Users can contribute to the map by opting to share their snap to “Our Story.”

You can embed Snap Map stories elsewhere on the web in three formats: individual stories, a collection from a location or event, or stories in a specific geographic area. For example, in an article about the Olympics, WIRED could choose to embed a specific story from skier Lindsey Vonn, a series of stories about the Olympic Games, or every story from the Pyeongchang area. No matter the format, the stories will disappear after 30 days. The embed won’t break, but will say that the content is no longer available.

Adweek reported:

Snapchat has begun dangling free ad credits to non-Snapchat advertisers that have run vertical video ads on Instagram Stories, as well as on other platforms including Pinterest and mobile publishers AdColony, ChartBoost and Vungle.

Snap Inc.’s sales department and Snapchat Partners have been reaching out to brands to gauge their interest.

What do you think of Snapchat’s redesign—and its marketing features? How will this change your strategy on the platform?

(Image via)


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