Snapchat to get major overhaul after another bad quarter
By: Jaina Kelly, Staff Writer
Social media seems to be a heavenly balance between following beautiful people we’ll never meet and checking in regularly with our real-life friends. Since Instagram introduced their own version of the Snapchat story in mid-2016, it’s driven a hard bargain for Snap users to stay loyal. While some of us like to move between apps, it’s undeniably efficient to have one prime social media app that we can favour and call home.
Variety reported on Snapchat’s shifting focus earlier this month, stating that Snapchat was unveiling plans to change up the usual functions of the application. This comes after several disappointing quarters that pushed investors to question whether the app is worth their business. This is reasonable, however, given unexpected decreasing revenue and increasing net losses. At the end of the quarter on September 30th, investors had expected a $237 million revenue, but were met with a measly $207.9 million result. This has led to a stock downturn of about 17% following the news.
Business can change in the blink of an eye, and it seems even more so in a world where technology is rapidly evolving every day. Investment can quickly mean losses, if application creators and innovators don’t make the right calls on their project’s development. Evan Speigel, CEO of the company that owns Snapchat, Snap Inc., made a statement about the company’s disappointing results. Speigel blamed a large portion on “dramatically reduced pricing” of the company’s programmatic ad units. Understandably, less money being paid for advertising, means less profit and more net losses for the company. Speigel noted that user growth within the application had not reached the level they anticipated in the previous quarters. To the investor’s dismay, Snapchat had only added 5 million active users, not reaching the 8 million that were expected. Perhaps this has something to do with a common complaint of the Snapchat application: people say it’s hard to use and understand. Speigel’s response was: ‘we’re working on it!’ In 2018, Snap Inc. will release new-and-improved Snapchat features that may enable more efficient and simple use.
Lakehead University student Kayla Mohammed spoke with The Argus and explained that Snapchat is too time consuming, while Instagram is more laid back and easy to use overall. Snapchat does seem especially time-sensitive, and often overbearing if you engage in a video conversation for a long period of time between snaps. Emilie Michalik repeated this sentiment, telling The Argus, that they absolutely prefer Instagram. Michalik elaborated by saying, “I prefer Instagram because I don’t have to follow the people I know in real life, all of whom are awful.” Perhaps this student’s answer also offers a bigger idea of why Instagram is clearly the crowd favourite. Not having to simply engage with people you know “IRL,” but being able to cherry pick public figures you love and want to follow, regardless of where they are in the world.
To further test the likeability of these apps, fifteen Lakehead students told The Argus their preferences, and eleven out of fifteen stated that Instagram was their preferred app for sharing video and images. A Facebook poll showed that out of the twenty people who voted, every single person voted for Instagram – seems like a trend. One person said that they believe it’s a matter of age difference. The younger, high school age kids are going crazy for Snapchat as a way to communicate, while older career-focused twenty-somethings and onward favour Instagram as a better way of staying connected to their industries and passions.
How much of social media do we engage in with people we have never met? It’s not uncommon in this age of Internet to have friends across the world that you’ve met through YouTube or Tumblr. The Internet can provide refuge for an everyday life that feels inadequate. With Instagram it is possible to build a network of the most inspirational and interesting people across the globe; with Snapchat, it’s not quite as easy to access the lives of those you admire. Tattoo culture has received quite the boost from Instagram, as it offers a free platform for artists who want to book clients from all over their country. On the flip side, some sought-after celebrities do use Snapchat, but the accessibility of a story and a photo archive found on Instagram is hard to beat. Looks like we’ll have to stay tuned on whether Speigel and the Snap Inc. developers can somehow salvage Snapchat to become the superior app. With what’s been going on in 2017, I think we’ve all learned to say: ‘anything’s possible!’