Snap Tries To Change Its Tune In The Face Of Lackluster Growth
2017 was a tough time for our friends at Snapchat. The company’s stock and monthly active user rate plummeted, with revenue falling $30 million short in Q3. CEO Evan Spiegel has historically been content with holding on to and simply improving the features that made Snapchat so sticky—ephemerality and the Stories format. But now Spiegel realizes these things alone aren’t going to bring Snapchat back to life. As WhatsApp and Instagram Stories continue to outpace Snapchat, the CEO is ready to make major changes to get the platform back on track.
Here’s what we can expect from Snapchat in 2018:
- More focus on influencers: In an attempt to maintain the integrity of their “best friends” network, Snapchat denied influencers and content creators the opportunity to monetize content or receive in-depth analytics. In 2018, Snapchat will focus on providing influencers with the tools they need to create premium content, as well as the opportunity to reach a larger audience and monetize.
- Tapping into a more adult audience: One of the reasons teens like Snapchat so much is because they know their parents AREN’T there. Snapchat needs to accelerate adoption amongst users above the age of 34 in order to keep growing daily active user count and revenue. That means becoming more user friendly with a massive design overhaul.
And the algorithm, oh the algorithm: Snapchat has always ranked Stories purely by chronological order. This tends to bury the content from your best friends and content creators that you care about most. In 2018, Snapchat will be revamping the Stories experience by using machine learning to provide a customized Stories experience to each of its users.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR MARKETERS
- Monitor shift in user demographics: As Snapchat changes its product to appeal to a more adult audience, there may be shifts in user base and adoption.
- For now, continue to use Snapchat to tap into a young, enthusiastic fan base with an approach that feels less commercial in order to make a meaningful impression.
- It’s possible that if adults take the bait, the changes to the platform will alienate teens, leading them to move on to a new platform of choice.
- Track influencer activity: Until now, the platform has largely shafted influencers and content creators, forcing them to lean on other platforms to grow their following. We will monitor to see if monetization and additional resources cause influencers to grow and create on the platform.
- Plan to tweak engagement strategy for the long haul: Changes in algorithms and encouragement of influencer content creation is going to impact how marketers should think about engaging users. With a new algorithm in place, influencers will need to get even more creative and Stories need to be stickier.