Snapchat Overhaul Designed To Boost Publisher and Brand Views
Fast-growing messaging app Snapchat has rolled out a redesign that's expected to boost how many users view content generated by publishers and media brands rather than by their friends.
The new look brings content from two features -- Discover and Live Story -- to the top of a user's screen, displaying news from publishers in a scrollable series of image panels featuring the content provider's name at the top, along with a short headline describing the content underneath it.
When it first launched Discover in January 2015, Snapchat described it as a "collaboration with world-class leaders in media to build a storytelling format that puts the narrative first," rather than social media. The company currently partners with around two dozen such publishers, and previously displayed links to their content only as small circular logos without headlines on a user's screen.
With the latest update, a Snapchat user will also be able to subscribe to publisher channels simply by pressing and holding on an article and then tapping "subscribe," a company spokesperson told us via e-mail.
Impact of Changes Remains To Be Seen
Prior to this latest redesign, some of Snapchat's publishing partners complained that the app's setup didn't drive much traffic to their sites, Adweek reported yesterday. "The goal of the redesign, of course, is to get people to view more content from publishers alongside user-generated content from their friends," Adweek noted.
Users posting on Snapchat's Twitter account were generally supportive of the new look, describing it as "sick," "legit" and "fresh." What remains to be seen, however, is what impact the redesign will have on partner traffic numbers.
"The moves simplify Snapchat's look," the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday. "But how they will affect viewership of various types of content is unclear because Snapchat didn't test the redesign prior to release."
Expected To Pass Twitter and Pinterest in U.S.
Snapchat's 100-million-plus user base is expected to grow by double digits this year, "pulling ahead of Twitter and Pinterest in the U.S. for the first time," according to eMarketer's most recent outlook for mobile messaging apps published today.
By 2020, eMarketer predicts that Snapchat will have added nearly 27 million users in the U.S. alone. Its U.S. user base is expected to grow by more than 27 percent this year, which would leave Snapchat with 58.6 million U.S. users this year, compared to 56.8 million for Twitter and 54.6 million for Pinterest.
Snapchat enjoys especially strong usage among young people between the ages of 12 and 34, especially on the younger side of that demographic.
"Snapchat has tapped into a key change in consumer behavior: The desire for intimate one-to-one or one-to-few communication as opposed to broadcast-style sharing across an entire network," eMarketer principal analyst Cathy Boyle stated in today's mobile messaging app report. "This desire is particularly strong among millennials and younger consumers who don't have strong ties to the traditional social networks."