A controversial redesign of Snapchat’s user interface has been blamed by analysts for a reversal in Snap’s closely-watched audience figures throughout March, bringing strong growth at the tail end of last year to an abrupt halt.
Chief executive Evan Spiegel confirmed that the number of daily users on the platform had dipped below an average of 191m seen for the month as a whole in March. The figures are way off market expectations of 194m viewers for the first quarter but above the 187m registered in the final quarter of 2017.
In its latest earnings report, Snapchat conceded that growth in the second quarter would ‘decelerate substantially’ from the first quarter, hitting revenues and sending its share price lower by as much as 16% as markets digested the grim numbers.
Aaron Goldman, chief marketing officer of data science and marketing specialists 4C Insights, commented: “Today’s earnings announcement isn’t the only indicator of Snap’s performance.
"In fact, 4C hasn’t seen a slowdown when it comes to advertising on the platform, and actually saw a 234% year on year increase in ad spend through 4C in the first quarter of 2018.”
Joe Rohrlich, general manager of EMEA at brand and consumer engagement provider Bazaarvoice added: “Story Ads have just been rolled out programmatically for the first time this week, and we’ve seen recently how Lenses is starting to offer the type of interactive experience that has been prophesised by technologists for years.
"By enabling fully functioning augmented reality, direct response ads, the onus is back on the user. User generated content is some of the most effective in driving conversions and as an entirely video-based platform, Snapchat is making the most of its unique position.”
Spiegel explained the redesign in a 60 second video on Snapchat's YouTube channel saying: "With these changes we hope that Snapchat feels more familiar" however is now in the process of trialing an urgent redesign of its redesign with iPhone users.