Snapchat was successful because of its simplicity, something that it has taken for granted over the years.

From redesign row to backlash on stock market why Snap is on a downward spiral
Atom News Wednesday, May 09, 2018 - 17:58
Written by  Sanchit Khera

Snap has been on a negative spiral ever since its stock started trending downwards a few years ago. They haven’t been able to add new users at a rapid pace and critics are lamenting their latest updates. They’ve clubbed together promotional and friend’s related snap stories. That’s what happens when an innovative company can’t protect their IP and gets copied by some of its largest competitors. It tries to take bold risks and starts bursting at the seams.

A few weeks ago, Snap laid off about 120 people from its team. They’re trying to do new things in social media and combining hardware with it. That’s something no one’s been able to crack the code on, and it’s a feature that might make the app cool again. Snap recently filed its paperwork on what could be a new Snapchat spectacles hardware. The paperwork is limited but its set to be another step in the right direction for Snapchat, who’s hardware play could save it from becoming redundant.

Snapchat is good at one thing – being cool. That’s its core value proposition. When it starts to deviate from that, and gets too commercial, it loses its charm. That’s exactly what happened when Kylie Jenner (Instagram influencer) tweeted out her grief towards Snap.

“Sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me... ugh this is so sad," Jenner tweeted on Wednesday.” – Kylie Jenner  (Source)

This tweet sent Snap’s stock down by 6%, as investors started to believe that the company wasn’t cool anymore. She tweeted it out right after the redesign which many online media outlets criticised over and over again. Right now, Snap is in hot waters and investors are dropping out collectively. Snap can still rebound and prove to everyone that it’s a core part of the consumer experience.       

What’s worse is that there was a petition formed right after the redesign of the app. It was created because so many people hated using it. It was signed by 1.2 million users, which is probably one of the top petitions signed on the platform. No platform wants that kind of press, and its stock hasn’t been doing anything interesting for a long time now. Hovering at $14.78, it’s not exciting investors enough to pump in more money.

There hasn’t been much of a push in any other social media platform as well. That’s one saving grace for Snapchat. The moment Instagram or Facebook do something interesting, investors might start going away from Snap even more.

Another nail in the coffin was the recent insensitivity shown by the company in their content production. The app suggested a quirky poll depicting the domestic violence issues between Rihanna (singer) and Chris Brown (accused). Rihanna tweeted it out to her followers, who stormed the app to delete the post and apologised immediately.

"Now snapchat I know you already know you ain't my favourite app out there! But I'm just trying to figure out what the point was with this mess! I'd love to call it ignorance, but I know you ain't that dumb” – Rihanna (Source)

This was another public setback for Snapchat, which didn’t understand why it couldn’t tap into the public consciousness.

Right now, Snapchat is focussed on giving content creators, more tools. Just recently, Snap extended its developer platform to allow creators to develop face filters themselves. This means that any mom-and-pop shop can create a customised filter just for their own brand. A university in a city somewhere can develop a customised filter for its own sports teams. The closed trial runs saw 30,000 filters being made in the first two months, receiving close to 1 billion views in total. This has been an immensely popular feature for Snapchat which is continuing to innovate in the space.

There isn’t much that CEO Evan Spiegel can do right about now. Although he loves working on the new design (2-3days a week), he spends a lot of his free time flying helicopters across the region. He’s working on new breakthroughs for Snapchat but they’re far from being announced. There is speculation that the new update and announcement will be hardware + software-oriented, but there is no news yet.

Snapchat is pushing hard on users to come back to the platform, releasing adverts showcasing its latest features and updates. However, the charm of Snapchat may be fading away.

Snapchat was successful because of its simplicity, something that it has taken for granted over the years. Now that Instagram has taken over the social media landscape, Snapchat will need something powerful to come back into the game. While the ticker hasn’t moved at all in 2018, Snapchat is going to make some drastic moves on increasing investor pressure.