App “Upgrade”: Snapchat revamped its app in March 2018. The app was updated automatically for many users, much to their displeasure. The entire layout of the app was altered and many felt key functions such as “Stories” were not easily accessible. Kylie Jenner criticised the update on the twitter, wiping $1.2 billion off Snap’s value in a day. Over a million people signed a petition for Snap to reverse the update.
IPO: Snap launched its Initial Public Offering in March 2017. It was valued at $33 billion as it price closed a $24 per share on the opening day.
Spectacles: In February 2017, Snap launched its spectacles. It also changed its name from Snapchat Inc to Snap Inc to allow its app and spectacles to be marketed from one company. These spectacles however, failed to take off. Only 220,000 units were sold worldwide. So few have been sold that they were charged $40 million for inventory space. Despite these poor sales, in May 2018 it released new versions of the spectacles
Data hack: In 2013, Snapchat was hacked and 4.6 million usernames were leaked onto the internet.
1) Profitability: Snap has yet to make a profit. Despite, revenue climbing by 54% year on year, Snap is not able to turn its user into profits. The company only recently launched ads and the current ad revenue alone isn't enough to balance the books. With Snap's Spectacles (discussed below) failing miserably, the company will need to devise bigger and better monetization plans if it wants to be profitable.
2) User Growth: Snap has been struggling to add new users. Snap currently has over 190 million users worldwide and this number has been relatively stagnant throughout 2018 into 2019. The company is struggling to bring in as many new users and keep them active. This was partially due to the App Upgrade mentioned below but now the problems run deeper than this.
3) Competition: There is no copyright protection on any of Snapchat’s core features. Facebook has already integrated many of the features of Snapchat into its own platforms. Instagram now offers customisable disappearing images and 24 hour “stories”. While there are not many other direct competitors, for now, Snap must be tactical if it is to retain its position.
Snap is not in crisis but its failure to turn users into profits is somewhat concerning. The lack of sufficient user growth is spooking investors as its share price is now under half of its IPO price. The issue with social media is that the apps can be faddish. Myspace was the largest social network site from 2004 until 2010 but since then, its user base has declined rapidly. A similar demise could happen to Snap unless they can find ways to bring in more users. Without increased user growth advertisers will seek better alternatives and reduced advertising revenue will sink them even further to the red.