- Image-messaging app Snapchat rolled out a major redesign last weekend that triggered a reaction so negative that many users are shifting to rival Instagram, according to CNBC. Angry Snapchatters voiced their disapproval on Twitter, where about 80% of all tweets about Snapchat are currently negative, per a study from LikeFolio cited by CNBC.
- The update has a reformatted layout that's confusing for some users who have developed a routine of checking features like Stories, which string together multiple images into a single post that disappears after 24 hours. A petition on Change.org calling for Snapchat to reverse the update had more than 963,000 supporters as of Wednesday morning.
- Meanwhile, Snapchat opened its advertising API on Feb. 13 to let any brand, agency or developer create their own software to automate the buying and targeting of Snap Ads, according to Marketing Land.
Snapchat's redesign will be a test of the app's "stickiness" with loyal users. While some users may threaten to abandon the app for other social channels, they might soon discover that many of their friends and family are still connected to the messaging app and can't be reached on other platforms. Backlash against Snapchat is likely to dwindle as users adapt to the new format.
Virtually every app redesign triggers a negative reaction from some users, as Facebook and Instagram have seen. Facebook has redesigned its interface and features several times in an effort to improve usability or the readability of its News Feed, also leading to protests and calls for boycotts. The social network rode out the criticism, and users gradually adapted to the new layout. The Instagram Stories feature also saw user backlash when it was first released in summer 2016, but ended up being a popular feature among the app's millions of users.
Snapchat's interface was always quirky and tricky to navigate for some users, which CEO Evan Spiegel acknowledged last year in discussing the company's plans for growth. This was particularly prevalent among older users that were familiar with seeing the alternative newsfeed-like format, as Facebook and Instagram have. But that quirkiness wasn't much of a hurdle to younger audiences who gravitated to the app to connect with friends via mobile device.
At the same time, marketers are likely to be pleased that the social media company released its advertising API for all after more than a year of only letting approved developers access the software to programmatically buy ads on Snapchat. Marketers no longer need to go through the company's direct sales team, purchase third-party software or manually place each ad through Snap's self-serve Ad Manager tool. This could reduce the cost and reliance on outside vendors to manage ad campaigns on the social app, which will likely lead marketers to more flexibility and direct control of their ad efforts.