Snap’s slowdown in growth. Design vs. Data?

This exclusive coverage from the Information deals yet again with Snap Inc. and how it has been having growth struggles related to competitors copying its well-known features and that there seem to be a gap between how the CEO Evan Spiegel perceives about these growth issues and the (supposedly) data-driven growth team is looking at them.

It’s been long known than Snapchat has been more focused on providing better core experiences for its existing users through better design rather than focusing too much on growth, especially through once-popular-and-still-prevalent “growth hacks” that usually involve push notifications and smoother, easier user onboarding processes. These have been particularly the case because of the CEO’s dislike and mistrust in such strategies, largely because of his belief that they will drive app to become “spammy,” and therefore shun the existing heavy-users.

I also personally do not fully trust so-called “data-driven” growth tactics, since there are possibilities that the data is misled or skewed due to various reasons. However, as many people on the comments section and the article itself points out, it is dangerous for the CEO to completely shut down such efforts to listen to the data, especially when so many investors are focusing closely on its growth numbers. It will further diminish the culture within Snap since people, especially those working on growth, may think that their opinions aren’t valued enough.

Growth is a notorious problem to any startup, whether they actively use data or apply “growth hacking,” and it will definitely be a first big post-IPO challenge for the Snapchat parent company to figure out why it isn’t growing as fast as it once did. In doing so, there definitely will need to be conscious efforts to understand the users better through data, and a sync between those data-driven insights and design decisions being made going forward.

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