So many Snapchat users are frustrated with the new layout released last week. In fact, one tweet received over 1.4 million retweets expressing their dislike to the changes. This update mixes subscribed feeds into two categories, Friends and Discover. The Friends feed shows messages and stories of groups and your contacts, while Discover shows your subscriptions, featured snaps, large stories, and publisher content. This move will undoubtedly increase the average time of a user engagement, hopefully, enough to offset the users leaving the platform to Facebook’s Instagram Stories.
Snapchat knows that monetizing their platform is critical, Twitter is one example of a platform that didn’t, and this has been the driving force behind changes in Snapchat. New features, including tapping to view a snap, the discover feed, SnapTags, and interactive content/advertisements all have key parts of increasing their revenue. Through these changes, Snapchat reduced the effort of navigating through content, sell spots to large publishers to engage with Snapchat users, built an interactive sharing system to drive traffic, and decreased the likelihood of ads being skipped.
The newest update shows their Discover feed can automatically feature snaps by keywords or location, and now promotes popular accounts as well as paid brands based on your interests. All of these are driven to keep users engaged as long as possible, but consider what else Snapchat may plan on bringing to the table. Snapchat can wield powerful advertising tools if it doesn’t already, seriously boosting their revenue by offering highly targeted ads (Twitter had it’s first profitable quarter doing this), especially with their push to include larger pages on their stream.
But there’s a reason why Facebook is saying it will demote the priority of large brands, they plague the feed with low-quality content, and I feel that this will be the way of Snapchat and any other free online service. They have to pay the costs some how.