Snapchat announced a major redesign of their popular app on Thursday. The new changes aim to make the the app less confusing to use and better for content discovery. The update, which is first being rolled out to some Android users will soon be available to all users.
These changes come as Snapchat parent company, Snap Inc., prepares for its IPO expected in March and valued at a reported $25 billion.
Snapchat, which started as an anonymous messaging platform for chatting with your current friends, has some challenges to overcome to become more attractive to investors and advertisers. The updates to the app indicate a move to make Snapchat a more traditional content platform with a wider appeal.
The company faces a balancing act amid concerns that their 150 million, mostly 18-24 year old, users will find the app less relevant if their parents start using it.
A search bar will now appear throughout the app. The search bar makes it easer to find friends and also to access news and stories from media companies and celebrities. The improved search capabilities could be very attractive to brands and influencers looking to increase their Snapchat audiences.
The update also expanded crowdsourcing of user videos which Snapchat calls “Stories.” Any of their 150 Million daily users can submit video clips to their “Our Story” feature which the company will curate and collect around themes or specific locations. Previously, users needed to be in a certain geographic location to add to the story.
For advertisers, Snapchat remains a big brand play. CNBC reports that campaigns can run between six and seven figures and that a Sponsored Lens can run between $350,000 to $700,000 a day. eMarketer projects Snapchat will generate about $370 million in revenue this year.