Snapchat will be the next billion user social platform if it can overcome the key issues outlined in this analysis while continuing to leverage its unique strengths.

Chris Travers' Analysis

A SWOT analysis is an effective way to summarize complex dynamics within a company by identifying its key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Every valuable SWOT analysis first identifies the primary objective of the business, then concisely identifies factors that are favorable and unfavorable towards achieving that objective.

Chris identifies that Snapchat's primary objective is to retain and effectively monetize an ever-growing user base. When formulating this SWOT analysis summarization of Snapchat, Chris performs a user feedback analysis, references a SWOT analysis he performed in June of 2014, and outlines two years of learnings from experience in the industry. Let's check it all out!

User Feedback Analysis

This user feedback analysis is based on reviews of Snapchat's iOS app from users who live in the United States. Chris web scraped 62,706 user reviews of versions 9.26.0.0 through 9.42.1.0 from AppAnnie.com, then proceeded to sanitize, spell check, standardise, and analyze them. Public user reviews are helpful, though some discretion is necessary when trying to identify valuable trends beyond knee-jerk reviews. That being said, these are Chris' careful findings.

Specific Feature Mentions

Snapchat has creative, unique, and enjoyable features. The users agree according to the data, but users also have plenty of suggestions for new features, and, in many cases, requests for the return of old features. Users despise change, but Chris believes Snapchat has been both strategic and justified with their updates so far. Let's see what features users focus on the most.

Frequently Occurring

1. chat – 38,603 times
2. update – 32,867 times
3. story – 23,738 times
4. view – 18,644 times
5. friends – 14,784 times

Features App Store Feedback

  • Top 5 or 10 list - "I have too many snaps to watch. I think you guys need to make a top list so I can choose who I really want to see on a regular basis."
  • Change our username at least once - "I love this app and use it very often. Although, I no longer like my username. I picked out my username years ago and I would like to change it, but the option isn't available. I don't want to make a new Snapchat because I don't want to restart on my Snap Score. We should be able to change our username, if not unlimited times, a limited number of times. At least one time. Please make this feature available."
  • fix now pls - "All Snapchat does is glitch, crash, and opens snaps for me. I hate the feature where it scrolls to the top every time I get a new snap, I have so many friends that when I try and respond to the people at the bottom of my feed it doesn't work. I'm very frustrated."
  • Great! Hoping for an added feature though - "I've been using snapchat for a while now and I love seeing the growth of it. While certain features like the calling or video call may seem redundant, I do know people who love it. One of my personal annoyances with the app is the lack of the ability to switch between accounts easier and quicker like on other apps other apps. ie. Instagram. I'd love to see something like that on snapchat."
  • Advice - "Bring back the feature where you can hide the Live Snapchat Stories that you don't want to see or aren't interested in."
  • Stories update is so bad - "You really need to get rid of some of the features. Snapchat takes forever to load. I'm on an iPhone 6, and it takes like 30 seconds to load now, it used to open up really quickly. I feel like you guys need to get rid of some of the features in Chat. No one uses the voice message, I've only used video message once. The stickers is also something no one uses. We need things that will actually help us. Please see this and change it."

User Experience Feedback

While Snapchat has wonderful features, they do not all function as consistently as they should. According to users, Snapchat is a tremendously glitchy app and the experience is far from flawless. Chris thinks Snapchat urgently needs to focus on improving the user experience in order to remain relevant in the face of competition. Let's see what the users think.

Frequently Occurring

1. please – 16,659 times
2. fix – 14,110 times
3. phone – 7,985 times
4. new – 6,068 times
5. change – 5,283 times

Experience App Store Feedback

  • Frustrating - "I really love the app contrary to what other people say but maybe snapchat should spend less time coming out with new features and more time fixing the bugs. Sometimes the app just randomly closes on me and I lose important pictures/messages I was sending or posting. Some features are confusing like when you're messaging someone and you click the Send button. PLEASE FIX CRASHING ISSUES!!!"
  • Crashes A LOT - "Don't get me wrong, Snapchat is pretty good. It has all the features as advertised and they work, at least somewhat, decently well. However in the past few months, it seems like every 5th time or so I use it, it straight up restarts my phone."
  • Awful - "You just updated it but it seems to have completely broken my app. Videos won't load and there's even MORE media and ad garbage filling up my story. This used to be a fun way to communicate with my friends and now it's just an advertisement frenzy. I hate this app and will most likely delete it now."
  • Snapchat step up your game - "Snapchat hasn't been doing so well over the last update. Don't get me wrong, the new stickers are nice and all. However, the new complicated chat features AND the constant crashing that lead to frustration AND losing all your snap streaks with your friends ruin everything... It's getting pretty bothersome to the point that I won't (and can't) use snapchat. Snapchat WAS a great app but now I cannot dare to say that ever again."
  • Not even worth it anymore - "Snapchat you're just adding wayyy too much to the app causing it to run even slower after each update. Seems to me your ratings are decreasing at a rapid rate due to the unsatisfaction of your customers. Like I said before there is a good chance there's an app that's gonna come along with better/faster features."
  • Meh - "I'll never understand why they try to fix apps that aren't broken. RIP autoadvance. You made being lazy so much lazier. Watching stories is obnoxious now having to readjust your volume every single time."

Specific Emotion Mentions

Emotions can run high when leaving an App Store review. A user is most likely to leave a review when something goes wrong during their experience, so the majority of App Store reviews will be out of hate or disappointment towards Snapchat. The data backs this up. Chris found mentions of like reaching 20% and great reaching approximately 10%, with want, don't, dislike, and hate accumulating a collective 55%. Snapchat's reviewers are not happy 😟.

Frequently Occurring

1. like – 10,821 times
2. want – 10,542 times
3. don't – 9,366 times
4. hate – 5,717 times
5. great – 5,208 times

Emotions App Store Feedback

  • Love! - "I adore the filters! So much fun! Love the creativity!"
  • It used to be good - "The startup time of the app needs to be fixed. Oh that dudes about to do something cool! Snapchat it! Oh bummer didn't get it cuz snapchat is still loading. What a piece of garbage this app has become."
  • Consistently Unimpressed - "This app is all gloss and little functionality. Can Snapchat cease changing design so often and actually get their app to, you know, work? There have been numerous updates, and this app progressively works LESS (how ironic!). The app is pretty enough. Fix the stuff that matters."
  • Total joke of a communication platform - "Despise this app. Functionality is confusing, lack of iPad support, and tepid user base has me uninstalling this with little intention of reinstalling."
  • HATE IS A STRONG WORD - "I hate your new update. I hate that I can't save my Snapchat's to my camera roll! It's not like you will put it back, but it's stupid!"
  • Great - "Snapchat overall is a great form of social media. It is a great way to contact your friends and make them laugh by using filters. There are awesome filters that change every day. Please download snapchat you won't regret it."

Emoji Usage Trends 😋

Emojis are an effective way to express emotions - Snapchat knows this best. App Store reviews are no exception to emoji use. Counting unique occurances after removing duplicates ("😍😍😍") reveals Snapchat's users are majorly angry, sad, and disappointed. A large proportion are happy and loving of the updates. Let's dive deeper.

Frequently Occurring

1. 😡 – 1,683 times
2. 😊 – 1,387 times
3. 😍 – 1,266 times
4. 😭 – 1,247 times
5. 😩 – 1,243 times

Emoji App Store Feedback

  • Ugh - "Can stop logging me out? FIX IT!!! I'M SICK OF HAVING TO LOG IN EVERY TIME 😡"
  • Get it together - "When you're almost at a 100 day streak and all of a sudden the streak is just gone 😡"
  • Nice app - "Sometimes I get mad at the app, but I still love it! 😊"
  • Cool - "I like it it's good but it's a little bit of glitches but other than that it's super great! 😍"
  • Just One Problem - "I wish you could change your username at least once. Made mine when I was little and it's just embarrassing now. I really want to change it but don't want to lose my score or my streaks 😭"
  • Love - "I've met so many new people using this app and Idk what I'd do without it 😍"
  • My account messed up - "Love this app but recently it won't let me log in and is saying my account is locked 😭 I have been using it for a while now and it's like just now saying this?"

Overall Mood

Chris took the most frequently mentioned emotion and experience related words, as well as the emojis, then objectively applied a positive, negative, or neutral label to each word to learn about the general mood reviewers have towards Snapchat. The results came through as primarily negative (50% of the reviews were negative), with approximately 45% offering positive feedback and 5% offering neutral feedback. A key trend that skews the data in favor of positive reviews is that users start off with a soft compliment, then quickly insert a negative word such as "but" or "however". This trends occurs frequently enough that the overall mood is actually more negative than the data suggests.

Overall Mood App Store Feedback

  • Crashing - "When I open it, it freezes and I can't get out of it for a minute and then it finally crashes. Not too happy about it but there are worse things."
  • I LOVE it. It's the BEST! - "I don't think there's anything wrong. In my opinion Snapchat is better that Instagram, Facebook, etc. It's the best. I can't wait for new updates."
  • Sick of seeing Kardashians - "The news outlets are a headache! Allow us to modify which news we see first! I should be seeing important news! It's disgusting!"
  • A MUST HAVE - "Everyday I am on snapchat. It's better than any other social media. I promise. It's very easy to use, and it's fun to show all your friends what you are doing by taking pictures. The filters are wonderful, and there are many. It is a must have app."

Learnings From User Feedback

2014 SWOT Analysis

On June 14, 2014 Chris constructed an SW analysis of Snapchat v7.0.0 while doing market research just prior to launching my second social media company. Chris opted to include his 2014 analysis to show how Snapchat has improved over time and highlight what areas Snapchat needs to continue improving. Here are Snapchat's past strengths and weaknesses.

Snapchat Features

Since 1984, the Gatorade dunk has been an iconic victory celebration seen by many but only experienced by a few. For this year’s Super Bowl, Gatorade, digital agency VML, and media agency Resolution Media partnered with Snapchat to create a Sponsored National Lens that let anyone celebrate like the pros.

Key Learnings

  • Key learning 1
  • Key learning 2
  • Key learning 3

User Experience

Since 1984, the Gatorade dunk has been an iconic victory celebration seen by many but only experienced by a few. For this year’s Super Bowl, Gatorade, digital agency VML, and media agency Resolution Media partnered with Snapchat to create a Sponsored National Lens that let anyone celebrate like the pros.

Key Learnings

  • Key learning 1
  • Key learning 2
  • Key learning 3

Emotions

Since 1984, the Gatorade dunk has been an iconic victory celebration seen by many but only experienced by a few. For this year’s Super Bowl, Gatorade, digital agency VML, and media agency Resolution Media partnered with Snapchat to create a Sponsored National Lens that let anyone celebrate like the pros.

Key Learnings

  • Key learning 1
  • Key learning 2
  • Key learning 3

Emoji Usage Trends

Since 1984, the Gatorade dunk has been an iconic victory celebration seen by many but only experienced by a few. For this year’s Super Bowl, Gatorade, digital agency VML, and media agency Resolution Media partnered with Snapchat to create a Sponsored National Lens that let anyone celebrate like the pros.

Key Learnings

  • Key learning 1
  • Key learning 2
  • Key learning 3

Strengths

Strengths

  • Complete Seamlessly combines multiple services in one streamlined platform.
  • Useful Simply put, it's fun and entertaining with the right friend network.
  • Retaining Updates and new features feel like gifts or toys to the users.
  • Gamified Snap score delightfully incentivizes users to perform primary actions.
  • At the forefront Chat combined with classic Snapping is a new, unique method of conversing.
  • Ephemeral The fleeting element is sleek and exactly what people need.
  • Quick The fast speed of sharing enables over 700 million moments to be shared daily.

Weaknesses

  • Inconsistent New releases are scattered between different types of phones.
  • Low Quality Camera quality does not fully translate to after a moment has been captured.
  • Limited No editing options available for videos.
  • Unreliable New Chat and app interface is glitchy and laggy, even on new devices.
  • Unclear Who can see your snap story vs. who cannot is too ambiguous.
  • Unsafe [Mainly in the news] Has potentially major security issues and vulnerabilities.
  • Unreliable Bugs and crashing across multiple device types and brands.

Learnings From Experience

As the past Founder and Product Manager of two moment sharing platforms popular among university and high school students, Chris has two years of intimate experience in Snapchat's industry. Chris' learnings from these past two ventures affect how he perceives Snapchat's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. So, before proceeding to the SWOT analysis, here are just a few of his most relevant takeaways as an ex-Founder in the industry.

  1. Timeless platforms perfectly replicate offline, real-world actions in the online world.
  2. New social media products must integrate with pre-existing social platforms in order to win, or they should expect to starve and die in the shadow of pre-existing behemoths. The industry is a huge game of Risk.
  3. Novelty alone wears off, then users move on. Unless novelty is built on top of a genuine utility and a concrete social network, everything will fall apart. It's just a matter of time.
  4. Unless anticipated, moderated, and disciplined, a vocal minority of bad actors can unravel any online community.
  5. When working on repetitive technical tasks: if you cannot automate it, then outsource it.
  6. Make your product beautiful, fast, and seamless, or expect other players in the industry to happily do it better than you and reap the benefits.

SWOT Analysis

Chris' SWOT Analysis takes into consideration his user feedback research, his 2014 SWOT Analysis, his learnings from experience, and his power usage of Snapchat. Chris thinks his research will be useful to Team Snapchat and is prepared to discuss any specific items in detail, answer any questions, or chat about Snap. Just reach out. Enjoy!

Snapchat Features

Since 1984, the Gatorade dunk has been an iconic victory celebration seen by many but only experienced by a few. For this year’s Super Bowl, Gatorade, digital agency VML, and media agency Resolution Media partnered with Snapchat to create a Sponsored National Lens that let anyone celebrate like the pros.

Key Learnings

  • Key learning 1
  • Key learning 2
  • Key learning 3

User Experience

Since 1984, the Gatorade dunk has been an iconic victory celebration seen by many but only experienced by a few. For this year’s Super Bowl, Gatorade, digital agency VML, and media agency Resolution Media partnered with Snapchat to create a Sponsored National Lens that let anyone celebrate like the pros.

Key Learnings

  • Key learning 1
  • Key learning 2
  • Key learning 3

Emotions

Since 1984, the Gatorade dunk has been an iconic victory celebration seen by many but only experienced by a few. For this year’s Super Bowl, Gatorade, digital agency VML, and media agency Resolution Media partnered with Snapchat to create a Sponsored National Lens that let anyone celebrate like the pros.

Key Learnings

  • Key learning 1
  • Key learning 2
  • Key learning 3

Emoji Usage Trends

Since 1984, the Gatorade dunk has been an iconic victory celebration seen by many but only experienced by a few. For this year’s Super Bowl, Gatorade, digital agency VML, and media agency Resolution Media partnered with Snapchat to create a Sponsored National Lens that let anyone celebrate like the pros.

Key Learnings

  • Key learning 1
  • Key learning 2
  • Key learning 3

Strengths

  • Fast - Snapchat is a fast way to share moments.
  • Ephemeral - Disappearing moments incentivizes sharing and fully expressing yourself.
  • Global - Live Stories and Discover gives users a chance to peek into different cultures.
  • Addictive - Features such as streaks, trophies, stickers, etc make Snapchat a habit.
  • Useful - At the end of the day, Snapchat is an effective photo, video, and text messenger.
  • Fun - Snapchat has a fun and bubbly feel to it.
  • Easy - Once users are onboarded, the buttons and swipes are predictable (in the best way).
  • Retaining - By mirroring users' contacts lists from their phones, Snapchat solidifies itself as a messenger worth keeping. Strong social network.
  • Creative - Snap Inc has an ingenious team with a fun culture, as reflected by the products they ship. Amazing teams make winning products.
  • Quality - All things considered, Snapchat is one of the most quality offerings on the App Store.

Opportunities

  • Polish - If Team Snapchat aggressively eliminates bugs that plague the app, it will be untouchable.
  • Older Generations - Millions of users ages 35-70 are up for grabs. How can Snapchat win them?
  • Spectacles - Expanded releases of more diverse styles of Spectacles will strengthen the Snap brand and serve as a retention mechanism.
  • Filters & Lenses - If Snapchat can use data to more intimately cater lenses and filters to it's users, both engagement and satisfaction will rise.
  • Invested Users - Snapchat should figure out how to subtly turn the top 1% of power users into aggressive brand advocates. Free t-shirts?
  • Chat - Chat, if taken to 3.0 with a complete focus on usability and functionality, could become the most popular messenger in the entire world.
  • Youth - Constantly trying to acquire new users around ages 10-15 will ensure Snapchat remains relevant forever.

Weaknesses

  • Buggy - Snapchat can be buggy, glitchy or slow.
  • Upsetting - A glitchy user experience upsets users. A great UX would go unnoticed instead.
  • Unreliable - The app crashes or blocks users out.
  • Explicit - Explicit Discover content does not appeal to everyone and makes users unhappy.
  • Strict - Users badly want to change usernames, filter Discover content, etc - but cannot. Snapchat may need to bend the knee on some restrictions.
  • Toyish - Snapchat is fun, but might be childish in the eyes of older generations. Restricts growth.

Threats

  • Commoditization - Instagram wants Stories to become a commodity. This tarnishes Snapchat's unique offering and forces users to decide which service they prefer based on other factors.
  • User Disdain - Users might grow tired of Snapchat as competitors work tirelessly to offer a faster, smoother, and simpler solution.
  • Devices - Phone models are inconsistent, numerous, and difficult to develop edge cases for resulting in buggy experiences for some users.
  • Niche Social Apps - Viral apps such as Yik Yak or Musical.ly will always lure users' attention away from Snapchat. How can Snap learn from them?

In Conclusion

         Snap has long maintained a hard earned position as a must-have moment messenger for millions. Based on the weaknesses and threats he discovered in his analysis, as well as his history of growing viral social media apps, Chris worries about the future of Snap from a retention and user satisfaction standpoint. However, based on the strengths and opportunities he discovered during his research and his confidence in Snap Inc, Chris also sees a path to 1 billion happy Snapchatters.
         Snap Inc has a lot of work ahead if they realistically want to reach this goal. The team should relentlessly focus on bug resolution during the next 24 months in order to emerge over the competition unscathed. In addition to relentless bug resolution, Snap Inc should continue to analyze the health and strength of the social network, then implement new ways to encourage genuine, lasting connection between users based on their findings. Snap Inc should continue to do an excellent job exploring creative ways to monetize the user base beyond traditional advertisements and expect to thrive as a business in years to come. Further, Snap Inc should rehaul the Chat experience with Chat 3.0 to be more user friendly, bug free, and familiar. Lastly, Snap Inc should bring Chris Travers on as their next UI/UX Designer to lead them to further success. Thank you for reading this analysis.

HIRE CHRIS TRAVERS

Hey there,

HireChrisTravers.com can only be viewed from your computer.

Thanks,
Chris