Snapchat has been in a challenging pickle the last year, with Instagram overtaking the social platform in terms of users and seeing its value drop by almost 40% from its all-time high. It got hit with another conundrum this past week when one of the most “influential” beings on social media, as well as one of its most popular users, seemed like she wasn’t using Snapchat as much as she used it. On Wednesday, Kylie Jenner asked her 24.5 million Twitter followers “does anyone else not open Snapchat? or is it just me…”. Ouch.

Jenner is the #1 most viewed account on Snapchat, so it doesn’t look promising if the most popular user was gradually drifting away from posting content. Being that 54% of users are 34 years old and younger and that the young Jenner/ Kardashian offspring is more relevant to the younger demographic, her critique could lead to Snap’s core questioning their “coolness” if they’re still using it. Interesting enough, Snapchat’s stock drop 6%, an estimated loss of $1.3 to $1.6 billion, a day after Jenner’s tweet. Does her web of influence extend to even Wall Street?

No logical human being will conclude that Jenner has enough power to rock the company’s market cap, but she is a reflection of how Snap is faltering in presenting an adequate product that can compete with Instagram. In January, Snap rolled out a new user interface design that wasn’t well received by many of its users, including young Kylie. It was so bad that 1.2 million people even signed a petition to have the app revert to its old look. This is a major misstep, especially when the alternative (Instagram0 is a simple tap away on your smartphone. There’s only a slim margin of error, so aggravating loyal Snap users could ultimately steer them towards the competition.

This is a good lesson for brands, as understanding the preferences of your strongest users is key to competition and sustainability. One can’t be tone def and force anything on consumers, but ultimately they have the power. Let’s see if Snapchat can regain some traction and compete with Instagram in the near future.

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Rex Pham

Originally from the Bay Area, who then moved to Los Angeles, then out to New York City. NYU Stern MBA c/o 2014. Inspired by the grind of NYC to create something that has value. Lover of all things digital, culture, and brand strategy.

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