Snap market value plummets as users voice distaste for new interface

23 Feb 2018305 Views

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Kylie Jenner is one of many people who dislike the new Snapchat design. Image: Sky Cinema/Shutterstock

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Users have yet to warm to the Snapchat redesign.

In one of its worst trading days since it went public just shy of a year ago, Snap Inc saw more than $1bn stripped from its market cap on Thursday (22 February).

Since the redesign was launched, a petition Siliconrepublic.com previously reported on has reached more than 1m signatures, with users begging the team to revert back to the previous iteration of the app.

Users claimed that the update “has not made the app easier to use, but has in fact made many features more difficult … Many ‘new features’ are useless or defeat the original purposes Snapchat has had for the past years.”

Snap responds to massive petition

The deluge of negative comments finally sparked a response from Snap on 20 February. The company maintained that it was listening to user concerns, saying: “We completely understand the new Snapchat has felt uncomfortable for many.”

It said that the new and much-maligned Friends page “will adapt to you and get smarter over time”, adding that this personalisation would be noticeable on the new version of the app’s Discover page. It will also be introducing new tabs in an upcoming update.

Snap shares dropped almost 8pc, closing at 6pc down on Wall Street, but are now back around the $17 mark, according to the BBC.

Prior to the major tumble on Thursday, Citi analyst Mark May wrote: “While the recent redesign of its flagship app could produce positive long-term benefits, the significant jump in negative app reviews since the redesign was pushed out a few weeks could result in a decline in users and user engagement, which could negatively impact financial results.”

Celebrity Kylie Jenner is among many public figures who achieved notoriety with the help of Snapchat voicing their dislike for the new design. She tweeted her opinion on 21 February, the day prior to Snap’s market value experiencing a major slide. While the influence of Jenner and her ilk is undeniable, a more fair assessment of the value drop would be to acknowledge the generalised negativity around the update from such a vast amount of Snapchat users. While celebrities do indeed have the power to move markets, the negativity towards the new version of Snapchat was already a rather widespread opinion.

Snap’s most recent quarterly report showed a company that had somewhat recovered from a previous drop in user growth and CEO Evan Spiegel previously said the redesign would take some getting used to, but was necessary to attract new user demographics. At the time of the Q4 result release, he said: “With our plans for user growth, augmented reality and content in 2018, I have never been more excited about the future of our business. We’re going to keep up the hard work and stay focused on the big opportunities ahead.”

Kylie Jenner. Image: Sky Cinema/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam is a writer covering all manner of business and tech subjects

editorial@siliconrepublic.com