Snapchat has unveiled some major changes. Users of the social network will no longer see their friends and the brands they follow in the same feed. Snapchat now organizes Chats and Stories from a user’s friends on the left side of the app, which used to be home to the Chat tab, while Stories from what the company is grouping together as “publishers, creators, and the community” can be found on the right. The app will still open to the Camera, which will be in the center of the two feeds.
The Friends tab looks like the previous Chat tab. It still shows a list of a user’s friends. The major difference is that there is now a user will see a blue ring around their friend’s profile photo if that friend has posted to their Story.
Apart from moving friends’ Stories to a different tab, the Discover feed hasn’t changed much either. The main difference is the introduction of Official Stories, which come from verified accounts for brands and celebrities, and Stories and Shows appearing as vertical tiles, causing fewer items to appear on screen at one time. These Official Stories will be interspersed with organic Stories from other public-facing accounts, such as brands a user follows. If a user and a brand account follow each other, Snapchat would consider them friends. In this case, the Story wouldn’t appear in the Discover tab and would appear in the Friends tab like any other friend.
Snapchat’s goal is for both feeds to become more personalized for each individual user. The Chats feature will list a user’s friends in the order you want to talk to them, which means that people they speak to often will be at the top. On the new Discover page, which will be home to everything not produced by a user’s friend. This will have a user’s subscriptions at the top. The remaining content will undergo a combination of “human review and machine personalization,” which sounds like Snapchat isn’t putting all its trust into its algorithms yet.
What all this means for advertisers is that Snapchat is becoming more like Facebook, which is essentially pay to play. The good news is that companies that pay for ads can appear in both the Friends feed and the Discover feed. However, they must go through Snapchat’s sales team to create Promoted Stories, which are expensive, countrywide, and only last one day. For now, Promoted Stories don’t make sense for local businesses, but that doesn’t mean Snapchat won’t make changes down the road that will make Promoted Stories a useful tool for smaller companies.