When Snapchat first came out, teenagers all over the world flocked towards it and spent most of their time using the app and sending pictures of themselves to friends and strangers alike.
If you go and check them now, you would see them using Instagram for the most part and using features that Instagram copied from Snapchat.
Why did people stop using Snapchat in the first place?
It wasn’t a single factor that led people off it but rather a few problems from the app and from the people running it.
1. Rihanna Ad
At the start of 2018, there was a scandal regarding an ad of the game “would you rather” where they asked people what they rather do, slap Rihanna or punch Chris Brown. This made Rihanna angry since she accused Chris Brown of domestic violence a few years prior. She went and left a message on Instagram stories targeted directly to Snapchat.
The singer wrote on an Instagram story,
Now Snapchat, I know you already know you ain’t my fav 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. You spent money to animate something that would intentionally bring shame to DV victims and made a joke of it.
This made Snapchat lose $800M in the process which stripped them of the billion dollar company mark and had millions of uses leave after the incident.
The repercussions are still evident in late 2018 with other celebrities like Kylie Jenner tweeting “Sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad.” and making even more people stop using the app simply to follow “trends.”
Not to mention the 1.3 billion dollar loss Snapchat faced with that single tweet.
2. Bad Interface
One of the things people loved about Snapchat was their easy to use interface and separated chat section they had for friends. After a while they started adding features like explore which added to the app and was in a separated space.
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At the beginning of 2018, people were upset with the app because they had changed everything they have grown used to and changed it into something they thought people would love.
They left it like that for months to see if people would get used to it, but people never did and preferred using Instagram stories to share their content.
When they took the time to listen what people didn’t like about the interface it was too late; thousands of people had stopped using Snapchat altogether in order to spend more time with Instagram and related social media apps.
The main complaint went towards the chat where people didn’t know which friends had sent them a message because it wasn’t ordered by new messages but rather by which people you engage more with, making their users lose streaks. (Days messaging each other on a consistent basis)
When people at Facebook started seeing how fast Snapchat was growing they got nervous of how much people Snapchat could draw out of their own apps.
They responded by making an offer to buy Snapchat which was declined. After not being able to do much more, they did the unthinkable and copied the best feature from Snapchat and made it better.
They made the transition between their apps and the new story feature seem seamless, giving out a feeling like it was always there even though it was implemented no more than 1 year ago.
This made it even easier for people to go towards Instagram when all of the problems started at the beginning of 2018.
Fast forward to the end of 2018 and we can see how Instagram is dominating over every aspect when compared with Snapchat, leaving a lingering question.
Will they be able to pull the comeback off?
If they play their Snapchat Alpha (a new interface with simpler design) cards well and look for a way to innovate without making things complicated, they might get people back to using their app.
We will have to wait and see what they come up with in the months to come.