Snapchat has scrapped its auto-advance function in favor of a new Story playlist feature that’s all about personal curation.
In case you’re not familiar with Stories, the feature allows the app’s users to share a collection of images and videos during a 24-hour period. Previously, the integration of auto-advance meant users would have to sit through all of the recent stories by profiles they follow back-to-back. It seems the app pegged on to the fact that its users were frustrated by the auto-play option. After all, watching stories in bulk meant having to repeatedly skip through content you weren’t interested in.
Snapchat announced on Friday that select Android users can now either revert to watching one story at a time, or create their own auto-advance playlists. The latter is a nifty new feature that can be enabled by tapping on the story thumbnails that you wish to watch, automatically adding them to a playlist. Then, all you have to do is hit the play button at the bottom of your screen to watch your chosen stories.
To abate the resultant concerns such a change would have raised with marketers — whose ads are inserted in between users’ stories — Snapchat is introducing post-roll ads, reports TechCrunch. What this essentially means is that even if you decide to view a single story it may result in an ad automatically playing after you’ve watched its main content. For bulk playlist stories, ads will appear in the same manner. With a reported IPO on the horizon, the last thing Snapchat wants to do is scare off advertisers, even if that means exposing its users to more promotional content. After all, Snapchat has to justify its predicted $25 billion valuation if it does end up going public in March.
However, another update introduced today may raise alarm bells for the app’s Discover content providers. Instead of displaying Discover channels at the top of the Stories section, Snapchat is now placing users’ stories in that prominent position. As a result, Discover channels will be relegated to the bottom of the pile, which arguably makes sense considering the app’s media partners already have their own dedicated page.
Snapchat promises a wider Android roll-out of the update soon, and is also planning to bring the new features to iOS.