Snapchat Is Dead, Long Live Snapchat

Written by Run2.
· 4 minute read

We’ve all heard the one about how a single tweet from Kylie Jenner caused a ‘$1.3bn drop in market value’ for Snapchat literally overnight. The reality however, much like with most of the ‘news’ we see on social media, is much more complex than that.

For anyone who doesn’t know, this was the tweet that prompted the furore around Snapchat’s re-design. Whilst it is certainly damaging for a business that relies on content creators such as Kylie Jenner being active on the platform, what the press failed to mention (or possibly even both to research) is that the stock price was already on the way down after a revised earnings forecast on the back of the redesign.

Now clearly the tweet can’t have helped the value of Snap Inc stock, it certainly wasn’t the only, or even primary reason for the fall. What we have here may not quite be fake news, but is a clear example of the kind of sensationalisation that has caused Facebook to redouble its efforts in making the platform more personal and engaging, rather than pushing clickbait headlines that ultimately piss off users on a daily basis.

Ultimately, Snapchat certainly isn’t the first social platform to suffer user backlash after a redesign left them feeling underwhelmed. In fact, back in 2009 a poll of over 700,000 Facebook users concluded that 94% of them did not like the new design. Despite such poor feedback on the design, Facebook has gone from strength to strength over the last nine years and has actually gained users rather than lost them since the update.

The same could very well prove true for Snapchat which can now claim over 178m active daily users who spend an average of more than 30 minutes on the platform each day. Not only that, but they have a pretty unique audience with 78% of their users not active on Twitter, 35% not on Facebook, and 41% not on Instagram. So whilst their total numbers may lag somewhat behind the behemoth that is Facebook (and all of its spin offs), they are actually able to reach millions of users their competitors cannot.

The thing that most analysts seem to fail to acknowledge is that Snapchat’s biggest strength is also Facebook’s biggest weakness…personal connections. Whilst Facebook have openly stated that they intend to focus on meaningful communications (basically trying to filter out the clickbait news content and memes), Snapchat’s whole business model is built around direct communications between friends and families.

The problem however is that brands on Snapchat, and even Snapchat themselves are treating the platform like another Facebook style app, rather than what it really is; a messaging app. Instead, the focus should be on nurturing personal communications on a one-to-one basis rather than trying to push communications to all of your followers at once. Given that digital marketing agencies are increasingly pushing for personalisation in every regard, Snapchat seems like the ideal social network through which to cultivate these relationships.