Snapchat’s redesign backlash

In a world of millennials dependent on their iPhones and communication, social media platforms are constantly evolving to attract more users and give themselves an edge over their competition.

 

In November, Snapchat CEO Evan Speigel announced that the app was working on a major redesign to attract new users. This past week, the redesigned app was rolled out to 40 million users. In this update, Snapchat Stories, which are photos and videos shared that disappear after 24 hours, are mixed in with direct messages and individual snaps.

 

In the past, Snapchat has made quality improvements that have been widely praised, but this update has not had the same reaction.  There has already been a Change.org petition asking for the company to remove the new update, and it has 590,000 signatures. Snapchat has 187 million daily active users- for many, it is a primary method of communication.

 

Assessing Snapchat’s update from a quality management perspective demonstrates significant flaws in the new system. The first aspect of total quality management (TQM) is customer satisfaction. Given the large number of social media platforms, customer satisfaction is crucial for Snapchat to maintain its user base. After the roll out of this new update, many millennials voiced their frustration and possibility of using alternative platforms; “I might start using Instagram stories now,” said a 21-year old Snapchat user who is a senior at University of Maryland. In addition, the app has dropped to a 1.9 out of 5-star rating on Apple’s App Store.

 

Another issue users have with Snapchat is not just the update itself, but how Snapchat unveiled it. Instead of releasing the changes as a formal update that users could opt to download, Snapchat quietly rolled out the changes. For many, their phones automatically updated the app, surprising users with the new platform. Historically, social media users have been resistant to change. For example, Facebook faced similar flashback in after its 2008 website redesign. Knowing this, it is surprising Snapchat chose to unveil their update in this manner.

 

To improve customer satisfaction and ensure quality management, Snapchat must stress continuous improvement of its flagship app. Failure to do so could lead to serious external failure costs and loss of users.

 

Sources:

http://money.cnn.com/2018/02/12/technology/snapchat-update-backlash/index.html

 

https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2018/02/13/nobody-seems-like-update-snapchat/330559002/

10 thoughts on “Snapchat’s redesign backlash

  • February 15, 2018 at 8:46 am
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    Benjamin,

    I appreciate your use of the recent Snapchat update because it is something most of us are familiar with as college students. I believe that Snapchat is a great example of how not to handle quality management. Snapchat’s biggest asset has been how much its users have enjoyed the app, and how frequently they use it. Their biggest problem is that they are now a publicly traded company, who is having trouble meeting their revenue expectations.

    This update was an attempt by them to increase their revenue. The new update makes it easier to view the advertisements and company’s stories by eliminating the My Story page. The biggest take away from this disastrous update is to never sacrifice the quality of something (the popular format of the old app) for anything, which in this case, was to increase advertisement views.

  • February 14, 2018 at 9:07 pm
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    Ben,

    Not surprisingly, I am also unhappy with the Snapchat update. However, I am not sure they could have released it any better than they did. They cannot control whether or not a user has their app updates switched to “automatic”. That being said, maybe it could have been possible for them to send a snapchat to all users saying something along the lines of “We are updating this app and you should turn off automatic updates if you do not wish to update the app.” Though, if they did that, then that would show they do not have confidence in their own update. Also, after the update, the stock price per share for Snap Inc. spiked up drastically from $14.06 per share on February 6th to $20.75 per share on February 7th, showing that some investors are confident in the update. As we have learned, business is always adapting…and Snapchat will adapt accordingly to ensure they continue to reap heavy profits. Even though many people are unhappy with this update, I am confident that the next update will be seen as a great one.

  • February 14, 2018 at 8:00 pm
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    Specifically concerning the topic of Quality Management, Snapchat’s new update is concerning. First off, the way in which the update was revealed was short-sighted and did not take into account user preferences. Allowing for users to choose whether or not to download the new update would have been much more considerate to each Snapchat user’s individual preferences, and forcing users to automatically download this update is an example of Snapchat management willfully ignoring the preferences of its users. As you mentioned, the app’s rating in the Apple store has plummeted since the update, which is representative of the poor customer satisfaction that this update has brought upon Snapchat. Furthermore, a major factor of Quality Management is consistency, and any fundamental change to the app’s layout and visual design is an abandonment of that consistency. This explains the visceral reaction by the loyal Snapchat users and the hundreds of thousands of people who signed the petition on Change.org to roll back the update. Snapchat foolishly surprised their users with fundamental changes to its platform, and now they are feeling the backlash of their decision. Snapchat executives were looking towards the future with this update, but neglected to consider the reaction of their current user base. In my opinion, this is an example of poor quality management and Snapchat will suffer in the short-term because of it.

  • February 14, 2018 at 5:46 pm
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    Ben,

    I appreciated this post as well in its relevance to to us as college students as frequent users of the social media app. As a user of the app myself, I have been fortunate not to update to the new version but I have heard many complaints about it from friends. Some have even decided to delete the entire app out of frustration with the new layout. As I was interested in this decision by the company, I decided to research it more in order to learn about the motives for such a drastic change. In addition to the change.org petition that you cited in your article, a fake tweet was circulated regarding the redesign, claiming that Snapchat will reverse the changes if the tweet gets more than 50,000 retweets. The tweet was shared 1.47 million times making it the fifth most retweet tweet of all time. Clearly there is an outpouring of backlash about this change to a service that has become entwined in our culture. One would assume that with so many users expressing their frustration with such a fundamental change, the company would do what they could in order to make the necessary changes. However, in response to the backlash, a Snapchat spokeswoman said “updates as big as this one can take a little getting used to, but we hope the community will enjoy it once they settle in.”
    In the market however, Snap just beat analysts benchmark revenue estimates since their IPO back in March 2017 and they did it by 72% totaling $286 million. This is a huge improvement for them after their stock had been fluctuating near half of its original IPO valuation. The impact of this new update could significantly impact them in the future so I am interested to see how their active daily user rate will change in the next quarter after this new update.

  • February 14, 2018 at 4:53 pm
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    Ben,

    I really enjoyed reading your article as, of course, I also use Snapchat daily and am not a fan of the update. Given that the first element of TQM is customer satisfaction, I can see how it makes sense to say that Snap’s services are of a lesser quality. My first impression is that quality is more than customer reaction to changes or satisfaction with existing products, but according to TQM’s website, “The customer ultimately determines the level of quality. No matter what an organization does to foster quality improvement—training employees, integrating quality into the design process, upgrading computers or software, or buying new measuring tools—the customer determines whether the efforts were worthwhile.”

    Something else I think is interesting is Snap’s share price movements over the last couple weeks. The firm’s earnings report on February 6th caused a dramatic bump in after-hours trading. Since the report, the price has stayed relatively steady, and there has not been a downturn since the very public reaction against the update. I think we should expect the next dramatic movement to occur when the firm’s quarter 1 earnings and DAU numbers are released, which will probably show a decrease as people flock to Instagram over dissatisfaction with the update.

    For more info on Snap’s financials, see bloomberg.com and search ticker “SNAP”

    • February 14, 2018 at 7:25 pm
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      Christian,

      I find that fascinating that such a widespread and publicized negative reaction to the update did not put off investors. I am interested to see what actions Snapchat will take to win back their users and gain back that customer satisfaction. I typically see reactions like this as confusion and frustration resulting from the need to adjust from a familiar layout to something very foreign. I wonder if Snapchat will just ride it out and hope people adjust, or if they will need to be proactive about it in order to stop losing users. Either way, I will be keeping a close eye on the investor reactions over the weeks ahead.

  • February 14, 2018 at 12:13 pm
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    Ben,
    I’m glad that you raised this point about Snapchat as it relates to quality management. What is interesting to me is that Snap inc. released its financial statements that saw a huge amount of growth in Q4 of the last fiscal year. This was prior to the new update but was a result of the way they redesigned the way ads were displayed on their platform and allowed more companies to buy ads based on their needs and advertising desires. As far as I know, users were pleased with the way that ads were integrated into the interface and didn’t mind the addition. I look forward to see how this new update, which is pretty much a consensus bad redesign, will impact their ad revenue and how Snap reacts to their consumers feedback. I am also interested to see how this update will impact their ability to draw popular users away from other platforms like Instagram or if it will push users to a higher quality product. It seems to me like it was just a change for the sake of change and wasn’t focused on product quality or user satisfaction.

  • February 14, 2018 at 10:53 am
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    Benjamin,

    The latest Snapchat update has caused quite a stir and has led to frustration among the app’s users. Last week, Snapchat changed the interface of its app through an update that users did not have the option to choose whether or not they wanted to update the app. Additionally, this update occurred at different times for every user. I remember sitting at breakfast one day last week and one of my friends was complaining about the new Snapchat update. I had no idea what they were talking about since I did not have a notification that there was an update available for Snapchat. However, later that day at I knew what they were talking about since my Snapchat decided to update itself. Snapchat was totally redesigned.

    Now, Snapchat is facing backlash from this update. Users of the app have taken to all forms of social media to express their frustration with the new design. There have been campaigns on Twitter and Change.org petitioning for Snapchat to fix this update. Users have been complaining that it is difficult to see who are the recipients of a Snapchat and how poorly it is organized in terms of viewing Snapchat stories. Since customer satisfaction is an important factor in a service’s success and long-term a company’s success, it is surprising to me that Snapchat has not reverted its app to the format before the update. In addition, I think that if Snapchat does not address their users’ dissatisfaction soon; they could potentially lose users. They could be losing its customer base to Instagram; since Instagram stories seem to be the new thing. Here, is an article saying (https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/13/snapchats-new-interface-is-already-pushing-some-users-to-instagram.html) that Snapchat is already losing users to Instagram. I wonder what the long-term effects of this update could have on Snapchat’s future. Lastly, since Snapchat did not allow their users to choose whether or not they wanted to update the app, I think users’ trust could have been negatively affected.

  • February 14, 2018 at 8:29 am
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    Ben, I found your post on the blacklash and resistance that Snapchat has received about their recent redesign to be extremely interesting. As a customer and user of Snapchat I was extremely disappointed not only in the update itself but the way in which Snapchat unveiled it.

    I think there is a large disconnect between what the current users want and what Snapchat’s goal behind the redesign was. In your post you mentioned that the major redesign was in an effort to attract new users. However, Snapchat failed to take into consideration how this would affect the current users of their app. Snapchat assumes that current users will learn to love the new redesign in time as according to The Sun, a Snapchat spokesperson said “updates as big as this one can take a little getting used to, but we hope the community will enjoy it once they settle in.”

    As you mentioned in your post, the first aspect of total quality management is customer satisfaction. In order to both release an app update and redesign as well as ensure customer satisfaction, Snapchat should have taken a different route. Snapchat could have launched a beta version of the update, allowing users to test out the redesign and provide the company with comments, critiques, and advice. This would ensure customer involvement in the redesign process in an effort to maintain overall customer satisfaction among current users. Additionally, many users were frustrated that their phones automatically updated the app without them even knowing. In order to prevent this, Snapchat could have had an opt-in update within the app itself and not just on the phone. Customer satisfaction is extremely important and Snapchat missed the mark with their new redesign, I’m interested to see where they choose to go from here.

    Sources: https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/5519090/snapchat-new-update-how-avoid/

  • February 13, 2018 at 11:46 pm
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    Benjamin,

    I think the Snapchat update is a great example of issues the company is having with quality management. While the update clearly allows for an increase in revenue from publishers and brands, the user base is unhappy. This affects the customer service portion of the supply chain. An increase in the amount of advertising to increase revenue is dependent on the amount of Snapchat users remaining the same.

    As a user of Snapchat I have found the update incredibly frustrating. I have gone so far as to text friends pictures instead of taking Snapchats. CEO Evan Spiegel claims that the update is attempting to distinguish friendships from content (USA Today). Although this intention seems good, the issue then becomes with the quality of which friendships can be maintained over the left panel. Snapchat’s lack of response to the issues users are having shows their lack of interest in maintaining quality. While the stock price has risen over the last 6 days, decreases in activity of users could bring down revenue for the company in the long term. https://www.marketwatch.com/investing/stock/snap

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