Snapchat is trying something new in order to appeal to users, CNN is reporting. The app, while overall successful with 188 million daily active users, is still struggling with losing out to other apps, such as Facebook and Instagram. Snapchat has experienced their first drop in daily use this past quarter, and this could be due to the “Stories” feature being added to Instagram and Facebook. This feature allows users to leave up photos and videos temporarily, which is essentially Snapchat’s primary function.
The numbers also contribute to this theory: over 400 million users are active on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. That’s twice as much as Snapchat’s daily users. Snapchat is also experiencing some extreme staffing changes, with VP of Marketing Steve LaBella announcing his departure. LaBella is not even the first employee to leave the company this year, with Chief Strategy Officer Imran Khan, Chief Financial Officer Drew Vollero and VP of product Tom Conrad all parting ways with the app. In addition, people are speculating that the fact Snapchat has not had a chief operating officer since 2015 may also be contributing to their downfall.
In order to keep the faltering company afloat, Snapchat is introducing “Snap Originals,” scripted shows that will be exclusive to the platform. But this won’t be just another Netflix or Hulu says VP of Content Nick Bell. Some of the programs will give you the option to experience “augmented reality,” such as swiping up during an episode of the show and being able to interact with objects and characters.
“[You] can go on to the beach with [social media star] Summer McKeen, look around where she lives, see what it’s like,” explained Bell. “Or with our scripted series, you’ll be able to go around the crime scene to look for clues for yourself.”
Snapchat has some established names involved with this new development, like writers for hit shows Riverdale and Friday Night Lights. Bell says the company is hoping that the shows “resonate with the demographic” and will bring in new users. So far, shows include Co-Ed, a show depicting freshmen college roommates, and Growing Up is a Drag, which will feature teen drag queens. The experts are saying these new additions could be a smart move.
“Snapchat is one of the most creative and unique communications mediums, and there’s a lot of benefit to that,” said Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst at the research firm eMarketer. “If it keeps executing and making smart moves, then things will turn around for the company.”