Snapchat Separates the Social from the Media in the Latest Redesign

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When was the last time you’ve seen Evan Spiegal, Snapchat CEO, on YouTube? About two years ago. In a video titled “What is Snapchat,” Spiegal shared with us his wonderful handwriting and, of course, explained to us why we need Snapchat.

It all starts with a snap!

“Snapchat began as an escape from social media, where people could send photos and videos to their friends without the pressure of likes, comments, and permanence. By focusing on the camera, Snapchat lowered the barrier to self-expression and showed a new generation that everyone is creative.” // Evan Spiegel @Axios

In his newest video, Spiegal, again, explains us, what is Snapchat, but with a twist.

Snapchat Separates Social from Media

Don’t worry, Snapchat still starts with a snap. In an effort to breath life in the ailing platform, the latest redesign splits social from media. To be exact, the update changes the way content by users and publishing partners is delivered to users.

“With the upcoming redesign of Snapchat, we are separating the social from the media, and taking a significant step forward towards strengthening our relationships with our friends and our relationships with the media. This will provide a better way for publishers to distribute and monetize their Stories, and a more personal way for friends to communicate and find the content they want to watch.” // Evan Spiegel @Axios

Friends: Everything that’s produced by friends, chat message, snaps or public stories will appear when a user swipes to the right from the main screen.

Snapchat redesign placeholder.

Discover: Content produced by publishers, including featured content from social media creators and user-generated stories handpicked by Snap editors, is on the right side of the main screen and is revealed when a user swipes to the left.

Algorithmic Content Recommendations

Snapchat will deliver algorithmic content recommendations Netflix-style. Instead of content distributed based on social signals such as likes or comments, Snap will deliver content based on what a user likes. Furthermore, recommended content (curated stories, publisher stories or influencer stories) will sit below the content that a user follows.

Dynamic Friends Page

Instead of scrolling through your contact list to find friends, a new algorithm will keep friends you are engaging with the most on the top list. It sounds great on paper. However, won’t this inadvertently hide some of your friends for good?

Human Curation and Moderation of Content

Snapchat plans to hire content programmers with an editorial background to add diversity to content formats and  promote interesting or editorially valuable content to users. Well, that’s a nice touch.

Other changes are vertical scroll for news, improved access to Snap Map, and the new (old) auto-advance feature. Great, a social network for humans!

Mission Accomplished for Snapchat?

Behind the altruistic mission to restore faith in social media, by separating friendships from businesses with a swipe, the redesign is probably the last opportunity to keep Snapchat running. And, I don’t see that happening. While die-hard fans may be happy with the new friends hub, Snap still lacks user-friendly onboarding. It’s the same experience as before. We’ll see how this translates to the Snapchat user base and it’s financials.

Snapchat redeseign new screens

Further, the redesign will hit media partners who invested in the platform. Before, paid content was delivered to users between a user’s friends video diaries. Now, all professional and entertainment content is kept separate, which will diminish the number of users this content reaches. Then why invest in Snapchat?

And I’d rather prefer some high-quality content that I can skip than having Snapchat push ads between stories or messages between my friends and me. Snap is already doing this with the new “Sponsored” advertising slot in the Discover section, and I assume they’ll do that in the friends hub, too.

The redesign will begin rolling out to a small percentage of users this week. The rest of the world will get the new update by the end of the year. Will the redesign help the tanking social network to attract new users and, subsequently, increase its revenue? Or perhaps Snapchat has run out of juice.

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