Snapchat to focus on Android to boost user acquisition rates; CEO Evan Spiegel regrets not doing this earlier

Spiegel indicated that in an effort to attract new Android users, Snap would be developing a new version of Snapchat for Android from scratch.

Snap Inc, the parent company of Snapchat has announced the financial results for the quarter ending on 30 September 2017. The results do not paint a pretty picture for the company as a slowdown in user acquisition that had troubled Snapchat for previous quarters continued into the latest quarter as well. While reading out a prepared statement in the investor call after announcing the financial results, Evan Spiegel, the CEO of Snapchat outlined a series of measures that Snap was taking to improve the Snapchat experience for Android users.

Snapchat on an Android smartphone.

Snapchat on an Android smartphone.

Spiegel noted that in the Q3 of 2017, Snapchat was used on over 60,000 Android smartphone variants. Snap has committed to continuously invest in developing new processes to ensure that Android users get a high-quality application. Snap also reported a record low in monthly crash rates on both Android as well as iOS, a year after Snap started tracking the metric. To get continuous feedback on the performance and design, a wide variety of Android devices have been distributed to the engineering teams.

Spiegel also indicated that as an effort to attract new Android users, Snap would be developing a new version of Snapchat for Android from scratch. Snap plans to test the new application in select markets before a wider roll out. Spiegel indicated that this new application would be a significant effort, and would take up a large portion of the engineering resources available to Snap and that it would be the focus for the year ahead.

"After seeing the results of increasing Android performance over the past few months, with significantly more Android users added than iOS users in September, we wish we had done this sooner," Spiegel added.

The new application is apparently already being used internally by employees at Snap. Responding to a question by an investor if Spiegel saw an acceleration in adoption by Android users considering the number of new users acquired in September, Spiegel said that he did expect more new adds coming from Android going forward, considering the sheer number of Android users around the world.

Spiegel also hinted at some surprising changes in the way the content was shown in Snapchat, addressing some of the problems with a content feed that is based on the curations of friends. He pointed out that the feed in Twitter was based around interest, but the News Feed on Facebook was based on the activity of friends. A problem with Facebook's approach was that in order to see more content, it was necessary to add more friends, and as the number of friends increases, people are more hesitant to post content, which in turn leads to the necessity of adding even more friends.

"I think there’s an opportunity here for us to create a really great personalised content service, that doesn’t at all diminish the great and, I think, very differentiated communications business that we’ve established," Spiegel said.

Apart from increasing the reach among Android users, other identified weak areas of growth were users above the age of 34, and in countries apart from US, France, Australia and UK.

Snapchat has historically focused more on the iOS version of the application as against the Android version. The application was an iOS exclusive at launch, with an Android version landing three months later. Certain features that have been available on the iOS version, have not been available for months on the Android version, such as the multi-Snap videos, which allows users to take a series of 6 ten second videos.

The financial results were announced just a few days before Snapchat introduced Lens Studio, applications for desktop computers that allow users to create their own face filters, as a measure to boost user interaction.

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.