Snap on Wednesday unveiled a redesign of its mobile photo-sharing application on Wednesday, which centers on separating posts from a user's social circle from those sent by publishers and content creators, hoping to lure more users and advertisers.
The company said a simpler design will encourage people to spend more time using Snapchat, increasing the app's appeal to advertisers over the long term. The main change in the new design is the separation of photos and videos sent to users by their friends from content produced by media companies.
"Until now, social media has always mixed photos and videos from your friends with content from publishers and creators," Snap said Wednesday in a blog post. "While blurring the lines between professional content creators and your friends has been an interesting internet experiment, it has also produced some strange side-effects (like fake news) and made us feel like we have to perform for our friends rather than just express ourselves."
The redesigned Snapchat app still opens first to a camera. Swipe right, and users can see photo and video messages from their friends, as well as daily public stories friends share, in the same place. Swipe left, and all the content from Snap media partners, such as television networks NBC and ESPN, is mixed with curated event videos and "snaps" from internet celebrities.
Snap said it will organize the content based on user behavior. Instead of listing friends in the order of whom a person talked to most recently, like in messaging apps, it will organize them based on how important they are to that person. Snap will draw on similar behavior cues for the media feed.
Organizing the content with the use of algorithms creates the potential for feed ads, a type of advertising familiar to marketers from Facebook and Twitter.
The redesigned app will be available to a small percentage of users right away and roll out to everyone "in the coming weeks," Snap said.
Chief Executive Officer Evan Spiegel has taken pains since going public to present his strategy as unique and not directly comparable to Facebook, which has seven times as many users and has copied some of Snapchat's most-popular features.