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What Snapchat Will Look Like in 2018

Big changes are afoot for Snapchat: Executives of Snap Inc., Snapchat’s corporate parent, revealed during Tuesday’s earnings call that they are planning a major redesign for 2018. They also want to take a number of other steps to keep creators and users happy.

While the executive team stopped short of sharing too many details about their plans, they dropped quite a few hints. According to those hints, here is what’s going to change for Snapchat in 2018:

Snapchat will become much simpler.
Once touted as a feature, the minimalistic and opaque design of the app is about to go away. “One thing that we have heard over the years is that Snapchat is difficult to understand or hard to use,” said CEO Evan Spiegel Tuesday. “As a result, we are currently redesigning our application to make it easier to use.” The company is already testing this redesign internally, and plans to test it with a subset of its users as well.

Discovery of Snapchat Stories will be more personalized. Spiegel talked quite a bit about content discovery during Tuesday’s earnings call, reflecting on how both Twitter and Facebook surface content to their users. He said that both methods — following people or brands as well as connecting with your friends — have some downsides, and hinted at plans to bring more behavioural personalization to Snapchat Stories. “Ultimately, what we found is that the best predictor of what people are interested in and want to watch is actually what they’re watching,” he said. “I think there’s an opportunity here for us to create a really great personalized content service.”

Creators will be able to make money with stories. Snap currently partners with a small group of media partners who are able to monetize their stories on Snapchat. Next year, the company plans to open the floodgates and allow many more users to make money with their Stories. Said Spiegel: “ In 2018, we are going to build more distribution and monetization opportunities for these creators in an effort to empower our creative community to express themselves to a larger audience and build a business with their creativity.” And once more creators make stories for bigger audiences, helping users to find the ones they like will be even more important.

Anyone will be able to make Lenses. Snapchat’s dynamic photo filters have been a huge success, and the company is now looking to give many more people an opprotunity to build their own Snapchat Lenses. “We are working hard to democratize Lens creation so that anyone anywhere can create and publish their own Lenses,” said Spiegel. “We can’t wait to see all of the Lenses created by our community!”

There will be a new Android app. Android has been a bit of a sore spot for Snapchat for years. Now, the company is looking to change that by starting over on the platform, said Spiegel: “To attract more Android users, we are building a new version of our Android application from the ground up that we will launch in select markets before rolling it out widely.” The company is already testing a version of this Android app internally, and wants to make it widely available next year.

Snapchat’s user base is supposed to get more global — and older. Snapchat has long prided itself on its reach among teenagers and other users under 34. The company also for some time focused first and foremost on U.S.-based users and users in other English-language countries. With user growth slowing, Snapchat is now looking to change both. Said Spiegel: “In order to further scale our user base, we need to accelerate the adoption of our product among Android users, users above the age of 34, and users in the rest of world markets.”

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