Snapchat is clueless

Apparently in the last earnings call Snapchat said it can compete with Instagram. They beat analysts predictions and with their statement investors’ confidence was up. They’ve also made a bunch of changes to eliminate bugs on the Android platform. You can read all of the details in this 9to5 post.

Personally I feel that Snapchat is clueless. I wrote a post long ago about how much the Snapchat UI sucks and in my opinion (IMO) it still does. They are banking on revenue from advertisers. Right now the metrics are in their favor because most of the younger audience uses the platform over the once king Facebook. Instagram has a large following and an ace up their sleeve, most celebrities are active on that platform.

The reason I say Snapchat is clueless is, instead of strengthening what brought them into the spotlight they are distancing themselves from it. Sexting, it’s what made Snapchat what they are because when it first came out Snapchat was the sexting king. It was hailed as a way to send risque pictures that would vanish. When sending nudes the thing most people are concerned about is what will happen to it later. Snapchat’s promise that the pictures would disappear was a god send at the time. The app would also alert the sender if the person receiving the snap took a screenshot. The sender could set a time limit on how long the picture could be seen before it disappeared. In theory this was great but in practice it is almost impossible to gaurantee. However Snapchat is still the platform of choice for sending risque pictures. Universally everyone knows sex sells. Why doesn’t Snapchat embrace that and keep working on the dilemna of making risque pictures truely a one time send thing?

The next reason to me that Snapchat seems truely clueless. Their UI still sucks! It is hard to discover anything. The interface is not intuitive and I’ve used MANY social network platforms. Some I’ve used don’t even exist anymore. You swipe left and you don’t get what you expect. You swipe right and nope still not what you’re looking for plus now you’re lost and just want to get back to your original location in the app. Ever try to set an avatar it’s aggravating and sends you searching the web for the answer. If you figure out how to search for users and add them. There is no way to see any of their old stories or maybe like everything else I just haven’t figured out how to do it. I get that there is a time limit on how long the stuff lives for on the platform. But there should be a way for users to distinguish between ephemeral media and ones they want to share with everyone forever. Facebook, who also own Instagram, haven’t been shy about copying Snapchat features. Why is it that Snapchat doesn’t copy UI from Facebook or Instagram?

It will be interesting over time whether they finally get a clue. Young audiences have one thing that has remained constant, they are fickle. If a new social media platform appears that has all the things Snapchat offers and they flock to that leaving Snapchat behind. What happens to Snapchat then? You can’t be used by the older audience and you just lost your young audience.