Confusingly jamming Stories in between private messages has sparked backlash among the first users of Snapchat’s sweeping redesign. From the few countries including the U.K., Australia, and Canada where the redesign is broadly available, 83% of App Store reviews (1,941) for the update are negative with one or two stars, according to data provided to TechCrunch by mobile analytics company Sensor Tower. Just 17 percent, or 391 of those reviews, give it three to five stars.
The most referenced keywords from the negative reviews comprise “brand new update”, “Stories”, and “please mend”. Meanwhile, Snapchat’s Support Twitter account was busy responding to people who despise the update and are requesting to uninstall it, noting “It’s impossible to revert to a former version of Snapchat”, and seeking to clarify where Stories are to confused users.
Hopes were the redesign could boost Snapchat’s soggy revenue, which fell short of Wall Street earnings expectations in Q3 and contributed to a loss of $443 million. The redesign mixes Stories, where Snapchat shows ads but which have seen stagnation in sharing rates amidst competition from Instagram Stories, into the more popular messaging inbox, by which Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging is more differentiated and entrenched.
Scattering Stories From The Inbox
A recent flow of Snapchat’s consumer statistics released by the Daily Beast’s Taylor Lorenz proves that from late-April to mid-September, Snapchat saw zero growth in the amount of users posting Stories. That’s compared to the roughly 7 percent growth in the app’s total user base, which has been seen as disappointing for what’s supposed to be the hot teen societal app.
Daily Snaps sent climbed much faster with users sending an average of 34 Snaps daily, which is quite a bit more promising. But it’s difficult to monetize messages ads with no feeling interruptive, therefore Snap’s strategy appears to be mixing ad-laden Stories into the inbox. And customers are rebelling.
Snapchat successfully started algorithmically sorting Stories to show ones out of your favourite people and nearest friends initially, rather than ranking them just reverse chronologically. TechCrunch strongly advocated for this sorting back in April, as an identical movement proved to significantly boost participation for Twitter and Instagram making it easier to quickly get value out of opening the app.
But what seems to annoying users is that Stories from buddies who follow back you are sprinkled through the inbox with message threads in between, instead of all laid out together. Snapchat also pulled out Stories from social media stars, brands, as well as other people that don’t accompany you back and pushed them into the other side of this app alongside professional Discover content. For users who enjoy a more voyeuristic experience, or aren’t hot in their college, that may make it tough to know who’s posted a Story in the last 24 hours.
Snapchat’s redesign also prevents users from auto-advancing to put back and watch a lot of people’s Stories in a row. Rather it forces users to tap a preview of the following person’s Story ahead of it’s revealed.
While that might make certain you don’t observe anybody’s Story you don’t care about and end up in their opinion list, in addition, it produces the app less relaxing to watch for long periods like you can with Instagram’s auto-advancing Stories. Maybe Snapchat desired to guarantee you were searching so it can sell advertisers to the concept of undivided attention. But it’s farther pissing off users.
Snapchat’s response concerning the negative reviews is that “Updates as large as this you can take a bit getting use to, but we hope the community will appreciate it once they pay in. ”
Change can surely evoke emotional responses, as we saw users protesting the launching of Facebook’s News Feed from 2006…before it became one of the very popular and well-used products in the world.
But the response to Snapchat’s redesign seems more justified because it doesn’t add new functionality they simply need time to grow accustomed to. It jumbles present functionality in a manner that seems driven more by Snapchat’s intent to increase Story usage by piggybacking it on messaging as a response to increased competition from Facebook.
An algorithmic Stories record? Great. Grouping all of professional content creators together? Okay. Muddying its core use case with an upsell to money-making Stories? A risky bet when dealing with fickle teenagers.
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