Snapchat unveiled a redesign that separates content from friends and content from brands in a move to increase its user base by appealing to an older demographic.
“… We are separating the social from the media, and taking an important step forward towards strengthening our relationships with our friends and our relationships with the media,” Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel wrote in an op-ed on Axios. “This will provide a better way for publishers to distribute and monetize their Stories, and a more personal way for friends to communicate and find the content they want to watch.”
The redesign will begin rolling out Friday, and will be available globally in the coming weeks.
The format includes a new “Friends” page on the left of the main camera screen that serves as a container for all social content. For instance, chats and stories with friends will all be grouped under the Friends umbrella, instead of being split up on separate pages. And for the first time, a new algorithm will organize the feed that so that the people users interact with more frequently appear at the top.
On the right side of the camera, the existing “Discover” feed serves as a container for more premium content such as that from TV networks, celebrities, and vloggers, rather than appearing among items shared with friends.
In his op-ed, Spiegel focused on the importance of curating content based on individual behavior and preferences. The philosophy is less in line with Facebook’s practice of sorting feeds based on what’s popular, and more akin to Netflix’s recommendations based on what a user previously watched.
“The combination of social and media has yielded incredible business results, but has ultimately undermined our relationships with our friends and our relationships with the media,” Spiegel wrote. “We believe that the best path forward is disentangling the two by providing a personalized content feed based on what you want to watch, not what your friends post.”
Essentially, “the left side is of the app is now for sharing and discussing, while the right side is for searching and consuming,” according to The Verge.
This concept is not necessarily new to the app. As The Verge puts it, the redesign is more of “a simple moving of furniture.” But it does tidy up what goes where, rather than blending content from friends and brands, which blurred lines between casual and professional users and created results that were sometimes confusing—especially for older, non-millennial users.
Spiegel surprisingly admitted as much when parent company Snap fell $30 million short of third quarter revenue expectations. He told shareholders the app needed to be more accessible, particularly to users older than 34, in order to grow its base beyond its core millennial demographic.
“The one thing that we have heard over the years is that Snapchat is difficult to understand or hard to use,” he said, Fast Co. Design reports. “As a result, we are currently redesigning our application to make it easier.”