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Snapchat set to lose users to Instagram due to redesign

Michael Somerville

Multimedia messaging app Snapchat will see a 2.3 per cent decline of UK active users to 14.5 million in 2019 as Instagram will take around 300,000 of its audience, according to market research firm eMarketer.

The data also predicted Snapchat, which recently launched its own gaming platform, to lose a further 300,000 users in 2020 because of competition from challengers TikTok and other platforms before leveling out to 14.1 million active users in 2021 and 2022. The decline was blamed on Snapchats redesign in 2017 (which continued in 2018), which provoked criticism from users who complained that Stories and chats were mixed together in a confusing way.

eMarketer said it was too early to tell whether Snapchat's ad revenue would suffer as a result of the changes but added that advertisers would spend their budgets elsewhere if the same audience could be reached for less.

A Snapchat spokesperson said that the eMarketers figures were at odds with their own internal figures and said it was pleased with the trajectory of its users in the UK. 

The data below shows Snapchat's predicted decline in users and overall percentage of social network users.

The prediction is a sharp change from eMarketers prediction in August 2018, when it said it expected the number of UK Snapchat users to grow to 16.2 million.

“Many of the same features that have made Snapchat popular have been adopted by Instagram,” said eMarketer forecasting analyst Showmik Podder. “This raises the question of whether former Snapchat users will ever return to the app.”

Watch the video below on Snapchat's decline.

Snapchat has added media companies such as Vice, The Telegraph, The Guardian and Pink News to its platform in recent months in a revenue agreement where the media companies control the inventory and agree to a revenue agreement with Snapchat.

However, the ongoing challenge of retaining and growing its young audience looks set to be disappointing for the platform. As the graph below shows, it is set to lose its valuable younger audience to other platforms in 2019.

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