It’s finally here, Snapchat’s long awaited big redesign. Evan Spiegel introduced the new design today. Complaints have been made that Snapchat is too difficult too use. These complaints have finally been heard. But will it be enough? Has it become more user friendly? And what is the impact of this update for companies and creators? An analysis of the future of the platform.

Why change?

Let’s start with the new design. Snapchat has long been difficult to understand. Foremost because of it’s vertical oriented content, but also because of the many hidden screens that have been hidden by a horizontal oriented ‘swipe’.

The interface was basically build around the camera with on the left your personal chats and on the right stories. The difficulty with these stories was that there we’re two screens, first the stories that the user was actively following and then Snapchat’s Discover page with curated content.

The New UI

This has radically changed. The new Snapchat splits content in ‘friends’ and curated content. How? With two different pages, the friends page on the left and the curated content on the right of the camera.

Friends

Let’s begin with the friends page. People familiar with Snapchat will immediately see the similarity to the old chats page. It features all of your important friends and the messages that you sent to them. Even though at first sight not much seems to have changed, a lot has. Because the whole ‘story’ feature of Snapchat has been integrated within the friends page. Snapchat hopes to offer more value to it’s user base by integrating all of their friends content on one single page.

Curated content

Then there is the new discover page. Previously found on the outer most right of the app, now immediately on the right of the camera. It’s the same as with the friends page, at first sight not much seems to have changed. But it has, because next to the content of Snapchat publishing partners (The Economist, NYT, TWP) there is also the content of influencers.

This content is a new category for stories and Snapchat will initially start with limited acces. But it basically means that Snap Inc. now has the ability to select influencers with good quality content to automatically publish it to the discover page. The idea is that influencers can monetise their content and reach a bigger audience. How? Because these influencers will also appear in the pages of users that didn’t follow the influencer.

Impact of the redesign

It’s far too early to conclude whether the new design will attract new users to Snapchat. The concept of horizontal orientation might still be difficult to grasp for an older audience. But that fact is that Snapchat has shown that it’s not afraid to make major changes in the way that it’s users use the app. And that is a good sign, it shows that Snapchat understand it’s problems and that it’s working hard to solve them.

But what will the impact be for businesses? It might become harder for businesses to reach people on Snapchat because of the clear separation of friends and publishers content. It’s therefore important to reach people through both channels: the friends page and the discover page. This can be done through a combination of advertisement and a Snapchat content marketing strategy. Time will show that will happen to Snapchat, and what pages will become most relevant for businesses. But one thing is sure, Snapchat’s future is finally exciting again.

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