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Vox Pop: is a new-look Snapchat the right way forward? (Part 2)

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Clockwise from top-left; Sagittarius, Disrupt (Found), BWP, Stickyeyes, Return, Iris

Snapchat has just announced plans to overhaul its primary app with the intention of making it more intuitive for users. The technology and social media company recently shifted to programmatic advertising and has subsequently suffered huge losses.

The Drum Network asks if a new look Snapchat app is the right way forward to bolster sales and widen its appeal, or if it is at risk of driving away its current audience.

Following on from part 1 of this Vox Pop, here's what some more of our agencies had to say:

Kier Humphreys, digital marketing account manager, Sagittarius

Snapchat's issue remains that it hasn't captured the attention of the 30+ audience and has consistently seen competitors execute what it deems to be its USPs in a more user-friendly style, while providing an environment for users and brands to monetise the services. The older audience hasn't struggled with the user experience; it has struggled with Snapchat’s overall purpose and reason for being in a market, where other, all-encompassing options exist. If they don’t engage the large percentage of available market that holds the genuine buying power, no amount of polishing, brave or not, will create viable longevity.

Matt Thorne, creative director, Disrupt (Found)

A new look Snapchat is needed as it really does have a poor user experience in general. Being unusable, however, isn’t the reason why ads aren’t performing; the young user base just doesn’t want to see ads there. This is first and foremost a messaging platform for them and ads are essentially interrupting their conversation with friends – like an annoying person in the classroom who interrupts the teacher every two minutes.

David Aspinall, performance marketing manager, BWP Group

Changes to social media platforms are often met with negativity, risk and hesitation – remember when Facebook was ad free? Switching to a programmatic system was always going to cause initial dips in revenues, as the number of advertisers are simply not there (yet). I believe that by appealing to new audiences while making the platform more accessible for SMB’s to advertise, the use and appeal of Snapchat should increase across new audiences. In return, impression bids will rise and revenues may well surpass prior results. One of BWP’s values is ‘brave’, and without being brave, takings risks, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

William Conboy, head of paid marketing communications, Stickyeyes

With Snapchat being the darling of innovation (social communication, content delivery), a shake-up is certainly in the safest hands. Snapchat must stay true to its pace-setting design approach, without scaling back on innovation, buffered with smart testing (in-house, its remodelled app is already in-play). Personalising content along with improved creator/influencer support is all too important. Why continue allowing the masters of implementation (Facebook and family) take Snap’s shiniest toys and repackage them with mass appeal? The initial signs are positive with Chinese Behemoth, TenCent (WeChat fame), purchasing 10% of Snapchat. Maybe it knows a thing or two?

Liam Tasker, social media executive, Return

One of the causes of Snapchat’s losses is slow development of ad revenue after a swap to programmatic. Programmatic is advertising that displays after negotiations between software, without a human element. Snapchat’s native content focus is on making communication instant, ephemeral and above all, personal and intimate. Currently the programmatic advertising runs jars with that native content. Any redesign could be alienating, losing the intimacy of an app that has been in users’ jeans' pockets for years. A facelift may obscure the old friend behind the new look – and turn the platform into more of a friend of the advertiser than the user.

Beth Carroll, social director, Iris.

Snap’s business model is based on taking risks. Without the scale and speed of Facebook and Instagram it relies on constant innovation to stay ahead of the competition. It was the first social platform to bring AR to the masses with World Lenses and the first to launch social tech with Spectacles. The only way for it to maintain its stance as the nimble innovator is to dramatically transform and do it frequently.

Read part 1 of this Vox Pop here.

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