Snapchat Values Ad Revenue Over User Experiences
February 20, 2018
The saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” must be unfamiliar to Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel, as proven by the atrocious app update that was released in early February. Many Snapchat users are furious over the update, including myself. There is even a Change.org petition signed by 1.2 million people requesting the app to be changed back to its previous version, and for good reason. While Snapchat presented this update as a move towards improvement of the app, this update was motivated by one thing: money.
The greatest concern that users have with the update is that it is extremely disorganized. The individual snapchats are mixed in with the stories, and the stories are not presented in chronological order, but rather in order of whomever you interact with on Snapchat the most. It is possible to see some stories that were posted yesterday at the top, while new stories are at the very bottom. According to an article about the change, this was done to make the app more personal.
I am not buying this public relations stunt. This update is designed to benefit advertisers, or the one thing that most internet users despise.
Notice that the old story page has now become a discover page, or what I would call “The Ad Page.” Snapchat’s previous version had both Snapchat stories and sponsored content from news outlets and other media sources. Nevertheless, users did not interact with the sponsored content as frequently as Snapchat wanted. Now, Snapchat has glorified its ads by giving them their own page. The personal stories are shuffled in with the chats, creating a mess.
This was all done for monetization.
Snapchat, which competes with copy-cat Instagram, has recently been performing poorly in terms of profits. This horrible, ad-friendly update is a result of a net loss of around $450 million in the summer. After this loss, Spiegel said,“In 2018, we are going to build more distribution and monetization opportunities for these creators.” Spiegel followed through on this promise; however, the update is not worth user dissatisfaction.
Do not be fooled. The update was not created to provide you with a more personal experience on social media or to fight against the dehumanizing aspects of social media interaction — its motivations were purely monetary. Snapchat, in undervaluing its user base, disregarded the most important rule in business: the customer is always right.
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A version of this appeared in the Tuesday, Feb. 20 print edition. Email Mert at [email protected].