Snapchat was the original messenger app to ultimately utilise smartphone cameras for messaging purposes. However, Snapchat is now facing the threat that all ‘Early Adopters’ face; fending off the pressure from competition. Their hard to retain Millennial audience is beginning to grow impatient with the app’s redesigned interface and are quickly switching over to Snap’s leading competitor, Instagram.
Unlike other Early Adopters such as Myspace, MSN Messenger and Skype, Snapchat have used an effective risk management strategy to retain their audience; relying on innovation to remain relevant. With the well-received introduction of ‘Snap Maps’, Public Stories, Bitmoji Integration and Money Transferring capabilities, Millennials stuck by their old friend as they were excited to see the latest innovations. As competitors began to mimic Snapchat’s features such as Facebook and Instagram, the company faced a high magnitude risk of losing their audience. The issue with innovation being their solution, is that it relies upon audiences actually being satisfied with the results and dissatisfaction can actually push audiences away.
Snapchat’s latest update has changed their interface to allow for more ad space on their previous story page and it allows all public snaps to appear on one page. Unfortunately, this change was deemed to be less ergonomic and extremely unfamiliar to fans of the app and a petition with over 1 million signatures has been signed to get it reversed. As Snapchat appears to ignore its fans, active corporations and celebrities who use the app have been digging Snap an even deeper ditch. Kylie Jenner’s tweet ‘sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad.’ to her 24M followers saw their shares plummet by 1.3 billion. The negative press associated with the Tweet has also influenced Snap’s trendy millennial audience to continue abandoning the app.
Maybelline also took a shot at Snapchat just a day later by tweeting ‘Our @Snapchat views have dropped dramatically and we want to stay connected to you all. We’re not sure if this is the platform to do it anymore, unfortunately. Should Maybelline stay on Snapchat?’ 80% of respondents then called out for them to convert to Instagram stories, which are rapidly gaining more attention since the update.
Snapchat’s once niche and unique messaging services are now widely available on other platforms and many new social media platforms that are gaining popularity such as Musical.ly. Losing its core audience will be tough to win back with not much to offer, especially as less revenue means less money for innovation. Snapchat’s company model allows for no stockholders or staff to have voting rights, with all voting decisions being created by CEO’s Evan Spiegel and Robert Murphy. These hard headed men have informed users the update is here to stay, although it is against many of their influencer’s interests.
Will this bold move by Snapchat manage to retain their audience? Or will this mark the end for yet another Early Adopter that just couldn’t outdo their competitors?