In 2011, when Snapchat was released for the consumption of the general public, everyone believed the tech company which was founded by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown who were former students at Stanford Uni, would become bigger than Facebook — which was fast declining among millennials, and — Instagram, which was traditionally known for static and glamorous pictures, and the reason we all thought Snapchat would be the next big thing was because it traditionally featured cute videos — which, every tech and digital guru swears will make up to 80% of the preferred media format for the internet.
Well, it has been 7 years now, and Snapchat had its case of the ‘Britneys’ — basically a publicly humiliating meltdown — earlier this year. The timeline of this meltdown started in February when Snapchat changed their user interface which ultimately disrupted the general user experience and angered everyone, what was worse was, they turned a blind eye to customer complaints.
The ultimate burn came from Kylie Jenner — who, everyone knows was the Queen of snapchat — she sent out a tweet that said “Sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me….ugh this is so sad”, the tweet, was followed by a 7.2 percent drop in Snapchat’s stock value—about $1.3 billion.
As if that wasn’t enough, in a bid to garner ad revenues, Snapchat started advertising in between the viewer’s stories, but that wasn’t even the baaaad part, a third party ad went ahead to publish a very insensitive ‘game’ that related directly to the assault Rihanna suffered in the hands of Chris Brown.
Is it just me, or is this ad that popped up on my Snapchat extremely tone deaf? Like what were they thinking with this? pic.twitter.com/7kP9RHcgNG
— VOTE NOVEMBER 6TH!!! (@TheRoyceMann) March 12, 2018
Which Rihanna responded to with a totally eviscerating burn, causing Snapchat to lose $800,000,000.
Following all these controversies, Snapchat has since lost a huge chunk of its daily users, 3,000,000 daily users have stopped actively using the app. The company lost $353,000,000 alone in the last quarter and an analyst has predicted that Snapchat would lose $1,500,000,000 in 2019.
It doesn’t look all that bad for Snap. Inc. I mean, it looks bad, but even Britney got back on her feet eh? So yeah, the giant has since gone back to drawing board and seems to be trying hard to get back up.
Enter ‘Snap Originals’ — well, Snapchat’s genius move for keeping millennials glued to the app is to become the HBO of smartphones, when I read this, I whispered to myself, “isn’t – isn’t that what Netflix is already doing?” … anyway they currently have over 10 original mini web series, which are exclusively shot for Snapchat alone, and are like, 5 minutes long.
People’s reaction to this new move by Snapchat has mostly been nonchalance.
Don’t care fix Snapchat
— 🇹🇹🇨🇻 (@CastiloSjr) October 10, 2018
nobody cares we just want to be able to change our usernames
— 🅱️he 🅱️eal 🅱️lim 🅱️hady (@foulshit) October 11, 2018
Revert the UI then I’ll care
— Tab (@Tab_641) October 10, 2018
but like what if you just did what your users wanted instead of snap originals something literally no one has asked for
— Abe (@skeekyxan) October 10, 2018
While others are completely rooting for Snapchat.
I'm too old for snap chat but I am all about the underdog and would love to see Snapchat get HUGE but… There is so much to not be interested in there. The "for you" crap is just crap. I'm trying snap… I really am. I try and use it everyday. I want you to win.
— paper cuts anonymous (@scottebisch) October 10, 2018
Personally, I believe ‘Snap originals’ was Snapchat’s reply to Instagram’s ‘IGTV’. The whole thing looks hurriedly put together, because even the name ‘Snap Originals’ sounds very unoriginal, it was ripped off of Netflix’s ‘Originals’.
So if I’m right, and Snapchat indeed responded to Instagram, then I think this move may flop because Instagram literally gave content creators a platform to entertain their audiences, however Snap’s move to shove content that they think their users will like may backfire because, when a platform takes away the inclusivity of its users in the content creation process, then can it still be called a ‘social media’?.
If Snapchat is looking to increase brand affinity, a good place to start is listening to what their users are saying and take it from there.
Anyway, thanks for coming to my Ted Talk. Byeeee.