Confusingly jamming Stories in between private messages has sparked backlash amongst the first users of Snapchat’s sweeping redesign. In the few countries including the U.K., Australia, and Canada where the redesign is widely available, 83 percent 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 firm Sensor Tower. Just 17 percent, or 391 of the reviews, give it three to five stars.
The most referenced keywords in the negative reviews include “new update”, “Stories”, and “please fix”. Meanwhile, Snapchat’s Support Twitter account has been busy replying to people who hate the update and are asking to uninstall it, noting “It’s not possible to revert to a previous version of Snapchat”, and trying to explain where Stories are to confused users.
It’s not possible to revert to a previous version of Snapchat, but we are happy to help with any questions you may have about the
— Snapchat Support (@snapchatsupport) January 11, 2018
Hopes were that the redesign could boost Snapchat’s soggy revenue, which fell short of Wall Street earnings expectations in Q3 and led 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, where Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging is more differentiated and entrenched.
Scattering Stories In The Inbox
A recent leak of Snapchat’s user stats published by The Daily Beast’s Taylor Lorenz shows that from late-April to mid-September, Snapchat saw zero growth in the number of users posting Stories. That’s compared to the roughly 7 percent growth in the app’s total user base, which was already seen as disappointing for what’s supposed to be the hot teen social app.
Daily Snaps sent grew much faster with users sending an average of 34 Snaps per day, which is much more promising. But it’s hard to monetize messages with ads without feeling interruptive, so Snap’s strategy appears to be mixing ad-laden Stories into the inbox. And users are rebelling.
Snapchat smartly began algorithmically sorting Stories to show ones from your favorite people and closest friends first, instead of ranking them purely reverse chronologically. TechCrunch strongly advocated for this algorithmic sorting back in April, as a similar move proved to significantly boost engagement for Twitter and
- RBC: 44% of US teens chose Snapchat as the one social network they would keep if trapped on deserted island, ahead of 24% for Instagram and 14% for Facebook (Kurt Wagner/Recode)
- Snapchat's redesign likely won't appeal to new users, despite goal of growing users, and may alienate media partners by separating content from friend messages (Shira Ovide/Bloomberg)
- Facebook launches collaborative Stories for Groups and Events (Josh Constine/TechCrunch)
- Snapchat's big redesign splits personal content from friends and content from professional creators in separate tabs, will be rolled out globally in a few weeks (Kurt Wagner/Recode)
- Source: Snapchat redesign coming Dec. 4, app will still open to camera, all friend-based comms move to left, all crowdsourced, partner, celeb stories to right (Alex Heath/Business Insider)
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