Snap is looking to unify user experience across Spotlight and Stories


Snap’s stock plunged 30% on Tuesday after announcing Q4 2023 results that didn’t meet analyst expectations. On the earnings call, CEO Evan Spiegel said the company is taking a few steps this year to fuel growth. These include unifying experience across Stories and Spotlight, improving ad interactions across platforms, and increasing engagement and user growth in North America and Europe.

The social network launched its TikTok-rival Spotlight over three years ago and it has seen promising results. Total time spent watching Spotlight increased 175% year-on-year and average monthly active users grew 35% year-on-year, according to the company’s Q4 2023 earnings release.

Spiegel said that the company wants to leverage things like ranking mechanisms and recommendation engines from Spotlight and port to Stories for better engagement. The company wants to start with merging the interface and navigation gap between these two segments, but it is aware that changes in core product offerings like these can backfire.

“Anytime you’re asking people to change their behavior, that can be difficult. That’s why we’re really trying to be thoughtful about it. I think one of the most frustrating things from a user experience perspective is that the UI and navigation for Spotlight is different than the UI and navigation for Stories,” Spiegel said in a call with analysts.

“The initial steps here are really trying to unify the UI and then unify the navigation and make sure there aren’t any, you know, negative secondary impacts on various parts of our business.”

It’s all about money

Snap’s efforts to merge Stories and Spotlight experience also have to do with the fact that the social network is trying to offer better incentives to advertisers. During the earnings call, Spiegel boasted about the fact that Spotlight has about 99% brand-safe content, according to a third-party audit estimate.

“I think one of the really unique things about Snapchat is that advertisers can get a brand-safe experience without paying a premium for it like they have to do on other platforms to avoid harmful content,” he noted.

“I do think we’ll be able to continue to extend those benefits to advertisers in this unified experience, and our very high levels of brand safety, I think, are a real differentiator for us.”

The company also said that it plans to deploy insights from My AI usage to more “relevant and engaging advertising” to users.

In May 2023, Snap announced new ad products for both Stories and Spotlight along with sponsored link feature for My AI.

Additionally, Spiegel said that the company focused on evolving the Android app for the past few years to get growth in emerging markets. However, now it is ready to ramp up development on iOS front to attract more engagement from more “monetizable” regions such as North America and Europe.

The company has also started taking cost cutting mesaures already. Earlier this month, the company laid off 10% of the worforce (impacting more than 500 people) to reduce “a number of layers of management.”

“In order to best position our business to execute on our highest priorities, and to ensure we have the capacity to invest incrementally to support our growth over time, we have made the difficult decision to restructure our team,” the company said in an SEC filing.


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