March 30, 2018
There is no denying that the vast majority of people are resistant to change. We’re reminded of this fact every time a major social media platform makes a change to its user interface or algorithm since these actions are almost always followed by some degree of public outrage. Oftentimes, that outrage is mixed with or quickly turns into acceptance, but that’s not always the case. Snapchat’s latest update is a prime example of this, and time will tell whether the public’s negative outlook on the change will shift or cause users to abandon the platform altogether. Our Boca Raton marketing agency is weighing in on the update, and users’ response to it.
The Controversial Changes
Snap Inc. began rolling out its massive Snapchat update in December featuring a full redesign of the platform. By February, all users had received the update, and many were not pleased. The update altered the way content is displayed, putting the Stories influencers and publishers to the right of the camera, and friends to the left with conversations. It has also changed the order in which Stories appear. Under Friends, stories from “best friends” will appear first, rather than in reverse-chronological order as was previously the case. The Discover page mixes publisher and influencer content together, with an algorithm in place that learns types of Stories users like best and puts those first. Previously, all stories were mixed in together, a feature which many users seem to view as having added simplicity.
One user was so unhappy with the update, he launched a change.org campaign that aims to convince Snap to remove the latest update. At the time of writing, the petition has garnered more than 1.25 million signatures. Many of the platform’s top influencers have publicly expressed their dislike of the new update as well. The indisputable Queen of Twitter Chrissy Teigen took to her platform of choice to urge Snap to go rescind the change, and her tweet generated more than 71,000 likes and 6,200 retweets. Kylie Jenner took to Twitter to bash the update as well, an action which many believed contributed to Snap stock dropping more than 10 percent after her comments. However, it’s important to note that both of them are still actively using the platform.
Time to Jump Ship?
Thinking about throwing in the towel on your Snapchat presence? Not so fast. While it’s clear the initial reaction to the update wasn’t a great one, we predict that users will adapt in time. History has shown that failing to evolve is far more dangerous for social media platforms than introducing user-focused changes.
It’s also worth mentioning that other changes that came with the Snapchat update addressed prior user requests. For instance, when Snapchat did away with the auto-advance feature for Stories in 2016 and began requiring users to select the Stories they wished to view. Both users and influencers let their disapproval of the change be known, and when view counts began to fall, Snapchat took note. The latest update reintegrated the auto-advance feature, but with a few tweaks. Now, before going into the next Story, a screen appears introducing the next friend and gives the user the power to skip the story or exit out. Notably, it did not add this feature back for influencers and publishers, a decision which should be beneficial for content creators.
With this in mind, while it is extremely unlikely that Snap will rid the app of the update as some have requested, we can expect the upcoming update CEO Evan Spiegel has promised to address some user concerns. Plus, it is said also include some other great features that should get users excited about Snapchat again, like full-body camera lenses the long-awaited addition of hands-free video.
The ultimate goal of the update is to show users more of the content they want to see, and if that’s the content generated by your brand, it only serves to benefit you. Our advice? Keep doing what you’re doing, and give the people time to adjust. If you’re putting out great content, the results will follow.
Looking for some guidance on your strategy? The social media gurus at our Boca Raton marketing agency are here to help you pinpoint what platforms are worth your time and maximize your efforts with your budget in mind. It all starts with a free consultation.