Here is a word of advice from young marketers like me: the Snapchat update is old news.
Yet, people are still not over it.
It’s now the marmite of my generation. After welcoming Snapchat into my life at 14 years old, I’ve seen it all during my seven years of dedication to the app. The abolishment of ‘best friends’, the birth of stories and the introduction of the iconic dog filter (it changed my teenage life). I had stuck by it through thick and thin… until now.
And I’m not alone.
Viewing figures of my story have dropped dramatically. The amount of people who care about my daily avocado on toast pic (now I’m just being stereotypical) has plummeted from an average of 600 views to a grand old total of 90. Either I managed to piss off 500 people or Snapchat did something seriously wrong.
After recently stepping on to the career ladder, I’m able to see the update from the perspective of a user and a content creator. While it has been a win for various publishers like The Sun, who recently claimed that since the post-update their news stories had reached a record-breaking 6.7 million unique users, it’s resulted in a loss of brand respect and love from Snapchat users who have been robbed of their seamless user experience.
I asked some of my peers what they thought.
Hannah Old, marketing assistant at The Koh Group, said that she hates the new stories layout: "It just seems so messy and difficult to use. I much prefer using Instagram and watching stories on there now. Also, it's easier to find people on Instagram compared to Snapchat.”
The same goes for Ellie Dobner, communications intern at HP, who said: “I actually deleted Snapchat a couple of weeks after the update. It was annoying having all stories and snaps in one place and it was too time-consuming to go through everything. I also lost all the Discover pages I liked so there was no point in keeping it. Snapchat clearly isn’t listening to people’s feedback.”
Caitlin Moulds, account assistant at We Are Lotus, added to the outrage: “I've completely boycotted Snapchat and moved over to Instagram stories. The new update is not user-friendly at all and the Discover pages kept showing me people I had absolutely no interest in.”
It's easy to assume that the outcry will pass over. This isn’t the first time the public hasn't been happy with an algorithm update. Remember when Instagram and Twitter announced they wouldn’t be showing feeds in chronological order? There was uproar and promises of ‘I’ll never use the app again’. But, all appears to be forgotten now.
However, there’s just something about this update that the public refuses to forgive.
After facing a huge social media backlash and a petition signed by 1.2 million people, Snapchat are finally said to be responding to the public's cries by reviving chronologic stories (for a lucky few).
While Snapchat once boasted a simple interface and gave ordinary people the power to create content with just a camera, the birth of its update resulted in the death of its USP; it robbed users of the ability to easily view the content they want to see and from the people they care about most. In a world where consumers can take pictures and stories on Instagram and discover more with Twitter Moments, it seems the end of Snapchat could be nigh.
Unless it miraculously brings back the ‘best friends’ feature, then I just don’t see the public falling back in love with the app again.
Thank you for the memories Snapchat and thank you for teaching me a valuable lesson early on in my career. Never will I put profits, partners and advertisers before my consumers… it could be deadly.