A Look at the New and Improved Snapchat

Snapchat finally released what their redesigned app is going to look like. The redesign is supposed to launch December 4th, but it will actually be launched earlier in certain test markets. As Evan Spiegal, CEO of Snap Inc. says, their new design has finally “separated the social from the media.”

When the app opens, it starts with the camera like before. On the left, are only for things relating to your friends. All of your friends’ messages and stories will be in one place. An even bigger change, is that you won’t have to scroll all the way down to find your best friends anymore because they will be at the top. Snapchat is incorporating an algorithm that will show the people you like to interact with at the top. So you no longer have to resort to strategies like putting “aaa” in front of your friends’ names so you can easily keep your Snapchat streak. Instead, just keep talking to them and watching their stories, and you should see them rise on your list.

To the right of the camera, is the Discover section where the content from brands, publishers, and creators will be. You will no longer see a mixed bag of content, but instead the tiles will be organized in a way that’s a lot easier to swallow. This side will also have an algorithm that will put the content that is most relevant and interesting to you first. This is similar to what Google is doing with the feed in their Google app. Publishers will be differentiated from friends depending on if a person follows you back. The ones who do follow you back will be put on your friend list on the left, but the publishers will be put on the right where the brands are.

The Snap Map is going to be in the Discover and Search section, and there will be a new feature called Group Story in group chats.

Overall, Snap Inc. did make the app easier to use, which is what Spiegal said they were aiming for. But this may also be a sign that they are starting to take some pages from Instagram’s book.

The new Discover section seems to be following after Instagram’s Explore tab. This may improve the amount of return that influencers get for distributing their content on Snapchat. The app scared off influencers because it was not proving to be as good as Instagram for building audiences and it didn’t pay as much. Because of these distribution and monetization issues, 0 percent out of 600 influencers listed Snapchat as their most important platform for their personal brands, compared to 28 percent who listed Instagram. The new Discover section will hopefully help creators find new fans and entice them to come back.

For advertisers on the other hand, the new Discover section is a bit of a double-edged sword.

Snap Inc. has a history of making life hard for advertisers, and they still might be doing that by clearly drawing the line between user content and brand content. In Facebook’s feed, promoted posts are mixed in with the organic posts made by your friends, making it hard to tell whether something is an advertisement or real content. But in Snapchat, there will be no chance of confusing what is what. Something that would probably improve your app experience but would create some challenges for advertisers. On the other hand, if Snapchat’s new design brings in enough new users, then that may be attractive enough for advertisers to consider Snapchat.

Will this be enough to catch up to Instagram? What do you think?

To read more from Hanna Bae, go to her website.

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