Snapchat Downloads Are Up in the Midst of Polarizing Updates

New Users are Helping Snapchat Bounce Back

When Snapchat unveiled their new app interface on February 6th, they fell headfirst into a sea of staunch criticism, negative user reviews, and heated social media protests. Tweets, posts, and articles slamming the new interface spread like wildfire and a group of angry users even kicked off a petition begging Snapchat to kill their divisive new design.

Model and super-influencer Kylie Jenner also lent her voice to the opposition with a viral tweet stating, “sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad,” After tweeting this statement on February 21st, Snapchat’s market cap sunk by 1.3 billion. However, this intense backlash stemming from Snapchat’s core user base hasn’t deterred new users from downloading the app.

Data provided by  SensorTower Store Intelligence revealed a 55% increase in first-time Snapchat installs post redesign for seven days after the launch. Whether or not this sudden spike is due to positive interest in an easier-to-navigate interface and a new split style story format or curiosity in the highly publicized criticism, new users are downloading the app at a generous rate.

According to TechCrunch, this user increase has helped Snapchat recover from a 14.3 percent download drop in Q3 2017. This drop was strongly attributed to the launch of Instagram Stories. Last months Q4 earnings report showed Snapchat’s growth increase from 2.9 percent to 5.05 percent and Snapchat is trying their utmost to hold on to the momentum.

Damage Control and Additional Updates

Despite this increase, backlash and negative comments against the new interface have continued to grow and Snapchat has had to find new ways to respond to those concerns, ease user fears, and hold on to their reputation. Since the redesign, the publicized petition that garnered over 1.2 million votes, and a trend of users trying to hack the system to bring back the old Snapchat have dominated the social sphere. As a response, Snapchat unveiled a few welcome updates to their interface in an attempt to appease their irritated users.

The major new feature Snapchat has introduced since the redesign are dedicated tabs in the Friends and Discover sections of the app that separate friends’ Stories and creators you subscribe to. Three distinct tabs in the Friends section are a welcome fix for users who were confused about how to access friends’ stories. Two of the three tabs separate your list of friends from your stories, and a third tab lets you create a group room where up to 32 of your friends can chat together or create collaborative Stories.

Snapchat has also given users the ability to add a variety of GIF stickers from Giphy to their posts. By opening their ears to the negative feedback, Snapchat has shown that they are willing to grow and adapt with the needs of their core user base in mind.

Brand and Publisher Concerns

From a publisher standpoint, the new interface takes some getting used to, even with the new updates in place. Various publishers, brands, and creators that users aren’t subscribed to will show up in the Discover tab. The publishers that users are subscribed to show up at the top of the feed but the endless scroll feature and the inability to visually see where one group ends and the other begins has been the root of most of the concerns amongst creators.

Many influencers who use the platform to connect with their fans and followers have been vocal about their disapproval. Aside from Kylie Jenner, popular Youtubers and other creators have mentioned that the number of users watching their content has drastically reduced.

This not only spells trouble for individual creators but for brands as well. Snapchat is an increasingly popular way to share branded content with younger users but if people are finding it difficult to access that content, brands and creators may seek out other platforms.

If Snapchat wants to keep publishers and creators on their side, they will need to tweak some organizational features and give some attention to the Discover tab so that creators and brands can continue to interact with their audiences.