As competitors like Instagram Stories and WhatsApp Status continue to grow, Snapchat is struggling to keep up, and as a result, it is resorting to drastic changes. After reporting disappointing earnings during the third quarter of 2017, the messaging app announced its plan to redo its Stories section in order to put forth a more algorithmic approach.
During Q3 2017, Snapchat parent company Snap Inc. lost $443 million, a figure four times larger than the one Snap reported at this time last year. About $40 million of those losses were related to unsold Snapchat Spectacles; hundreds of thousands of the wearable gadgets are sitting in warehouses in China, according to a recent report. As a result of Snapchat’s poor quarter, its stock price went down by more than 15 percent.
How will Snapchat right itself? According to the company’s CEO, Evan Spiegel (pictured above), the plan is to take a page out of Facebook’s…book. Right now, Snapchat’s Stories are sorted by upload time from newest to oldest, but when the next stage of the company’s development goes live, an algorithm will present users with Stories that are most relevant to their interests. Spiegel believes this strategy will widen Snapchat’s base.
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“There is a strong likelihood that the redesign of our application will be disruptive to our business in the short term, and we don’t yet know how the behavior of our community will change when they begin to use our updated application,” Spiegel said during Snapchat’s latest earnings report. “We’re willing to take that risk for what we believe are substantial longterm benefits to our business…We hope that showing the right Stories to the right audience will help grow engagement and monetization for our partners and for Snapchat.”
Many of Snapchat’s struggles over the past year can be attributed to fierce competition from Facebook subsidiaries Instagram and WhatsApp, which have found success with copycat versions of the Stories feature. Now, Snapchat seems to saying, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” If Facebook’s companies can copy and perfect Snapchat’s signature feature, maybe the latter app can put its own spin on Facebook’s signature feed. It’s worth a shot, because based on Snap’s latest earnings report, the company’s previous course didn’t produce adequate results.