Student/PR

Snapchat and the $1.3 billion Mistake

As far as in-app update mistakes go, Snapchat topped the tables this week with their completely resigned interface that came with no prior warning or option to update.

I think it’s safe to say, having the app myself and following social media comments, that there’s not a person who favours this update to its previous predecessor, but what more, it could now even be the case that the end may be nigh for Snapchat unless they reverse the update – they’re reported to have lost thousands of users in just days.

Ironically, Snapchat has argued that the update is meant to ease user access and has made no remorseful comment for the changes, just released a guide on how to navigate through the latest changes. From a PR point of view – you listen to your consumers and give them what they want, encouraging the unwilling to adapt to the change won’t do you any favours, only lose you many-years-strong users to your competitors.

The tipping point for Snapchat for me was when a single tweet from Kylie Jenner allegedly lost the corporation $1.3 billion and whilst it hasn’t been confirmed whether the loss was a result of this single act, I don’t doubt it. Social media is incredibly influential, as are figures in the public eye such as Kylie. Many of their followers will follow in their footsteps and thus as soon as the said public figure stops endorsing something, so do their followers which is exactly what has happened here.

So can we see a future for Snapchat, or are they headed down the same no-return road that once popular anonymous chat app Yik Yak did?

It’s actually been reported that downloads are up since the update, however reports have not took in to account two things:

  1. The number of deletes soon after downloads (its likely users are interested in the much talked about update and then will delete shortly thereafter)
  2. How many loyal customers have deleted the app, despite the spike in downloads

So whilst positive news stories may splash ‘Snapchat downloads up’ across the headlines – they don’t necessarily take in to account the other factors which outweigh the bad and are bringing Snapchat down nevertheless.

Ultimately, it’s a huge social platform, one of the biggest players in the game with many reliant users which are undoubtedly waiting around to either get used to the update or be met with an improved update providing them with what they want. For Snapchat’s sake, I hope it’s the latter as this is bound to salvage them a fair few more users, however at present I think if they don’t wise up soon it’s certainly headed to be a kick-yourself mistake for its developers. Will it be the end of them? Probably not, however it’s going to take a lot of work to rebuild their reputation and consumer base back to what it was just a few days ago.

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