If you have some time on your hands this morning, there’s a 6,500-word internal memo from Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel to read, after it leaked to (and was published in full by) tech-news site Cheddar. It’s something of a mea culpa.
“In our excitement to innovate and bring many new products into the world, we have lost the core of what made Snapchat the fastest way to communicate,” wrote Spiegel, before setting out his plans to help Snapchat recover its mojo. There’s some candid talk about how Snapchat mishandled its app redesign process (“We slowed down our product and eroded our core product value”) as well as some ambitions for 2019 that include “achieve full year profitability”. A big ambition, given Snapchat’s $3.45bn net loss in 2017 (admittedly including a big wedge of costs related to its IPO) and a further $739.1m net loss for the first half of 2018 (with no such excuse).
“Most of the incremental growth in our core markets like the US, UK, and France will have to come from older users who generate higher average revenue per user,” wrote Spiegel. “This means that aging up our user base and core markets will be very valuable in terms of revenue growth. Growing in older demographics will require us to mature our application and deliver our core product value of being the fastest way to communicate. Many older users today see Snapchat as frivolous or a waste of time because they think Snapchat is social media rather than a faster way to communicate. Changing the design language of our product and improving our marketing and communications around Snapchat will help users understand our value.”