Snapchat’s Story Playlist Caters to Personalized Experiences

by Sean Ogino |

Snapchat’s Story Playlist Caters to Personalized Experiences

A social media platform, in essence, is a digital hangout place where people want to express themselves and see what is happening in the lives of their friends. But they want to do it as per their will, wish, and comfort. They need the freedom of not viewing updates from the friends that they don’t wish to see. That’s where Snapchat’s Story Playlist comes in.

Snapchat’s Auto Advance feature, introduced in an update earlier this year, automatically played every story in the user’s feed in a reverse chronological order. It automatically directed the user to the next story available. Naturally, it irritated users as they could not avoid seeing the stories of all friends before being brought back to the Stories page. Manually backing out of the Story menu was the only solution.

Thus, Snapchat users have been eagerly awaiting the demise of this blatantly frustrating feature. This blog post circulated by the app’s team says that it is replacing Auto Advance feature with Snapchat’s Story Playlist — a feature through which users can create a list of friends’ stories and they can watch that list back-to-back by hitting the play button at the bottom.

Understanding The Changes That Snapchat’s Story Playlist Will Bring:

There are two main changes that will stem from the advent of Snapchat’s Story Playlist. The first change is that the individual stories of people will now appear at the top of the Stories tab, and Discover publishers’ channels and Live Stories will be placed below it.

snapchat story playlists
Note the new format, and users’ ability to check the stories they’d like to watch.


The second change deals with the functionality. Until now, due to the Auto Advance feature, people were not able to automatically return to the Recent Updates feed to choose what they wanted to see next.  Now, after viewing someone’s Story, they’ll be returned to the Recent Updates feed.

The new update has enabled users to add individual stories of their friends to Snapchat’s Story Playlist. To do that, you just have to tap the story thumbnail to the left of their name. Once you are done with the selection of friends, you have to hit the purple play button that will pop up at the bottom of the screen. After that, Snapchat will automatically transport you from one Story to the next.  But note that if you wish to see stories from the same 10 friends every day, you’ll have to build the list manually each time.


Recent Updates feed
Users can check the Stories they’d like to view, then press the large play button at the bottom to watch them in a playlist format. Here it is in action.

So, in essence, it will make Snapchat something like video-on-demand service. Pick out exactly the Stories you want to watch, add them to a Story Playlist and watch them and only them.

Why is Snapchat’s Story Playlist coming out now?

It’s not a change made in haste. Snapchat is trying to achieve some concrete goals by coming up with this change.

A) To Counter The Threat Of Instagram:

Instagram’s Story section is a clone of Snapchat’s Stories. Even Instagram has admitted it. But Instagram did it in such a way that it accumulated 100 million daily users. The Facebook-owned company made the feature unmissable by planting it at the top center of its main feed, instead of hiding it in a separate tab. Due to this, people started to believe that Instagram cares more about its user’s friends than Snapachat as Snapchat’s Discover channels were at the top. Certainly, it could have hampered Snapchat’s growth prospects. Hence, Snapchat also decided to follow Instagram.

Clearly, it’s a demotion of publishers’ Discover content. But the rationale behind it rings resoundingly true as Discover already has its own page in Snapchat. And thus, it eliminates the need to cross-promote it. Similarly, though Discover is effective, it’s a common sense that Snapchat is not Twitter where most of the people are interested in following celebrities. People come on Snapchat to interact with the people that they know. It clarifies Snapchat’s intent to give more prominence to the connected people of its users’ accounts. It’s very much like Facebook’s recent News Feed change that ranks “friends first” above publishers.

B) Monetization:

Either directly or indirectly, the ulterior motive of any functional change in the field of social media is monetization. The story of Snapchat’s Story Playlist is no different.

One has to understand that Snapchat will make intelligent and better use of ads in this whole ecosystem of Story Playlist. The mid- roll ads, which Snapchat used to insert between auto-advance Stories, will now appear mixed into Story Playlists you watch.  Besides, there is a new ad placement. Even if you watch only a single story, post-roll Snap Ads may appear at the end of that story. And you might also see an ad when you finish watching a Story Playlist. Therefore, Snapchat will earn money no matter how you watch Stories, either singularly or in bulk.

Moreover, it has been observed that people are spending more time on watching Story Playlists than before. Accordingly, if this Story Playlist makes people spend more time on Snapchat, it automatically means the possibility of ads getting more viewings by more people. Also, there is always a possibility to monetize this feature by allowing Sponsored Stories or Promoted Stories as brands could pay to have their Stories in people’s feeds.

This monetization effort is particularly important at this point in time, as Snapchat is planning an IPO as soon as March at a $25 billion or higher valuation. That’s why it needs something substantial to create a perception that it has enough modes of revenue generation. If everything goes well, it would be the biggest one in the U.S. since 2014, when the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba raised $25 billion through a public listing. Snapchat just can’t let this opportunity slip through its fingers!

Key Takeaways:

1- Never force people to do what you want to do. Instead, try to help them in accomplishing what they want to do on social media platforms. Otherwise, like Snapchat’s Auto Advance feature, you will have to remove it sooner or later.

2- Keep a close eye on your competitors. Analyze what they are doing and how it can threaten your position in the market and try to come up with a solution to lessen that threat.

3- Think about better ways of monetization every time you bring some new feature or modifications in the existing feature.

Note: We always keep a close watch on each and every happening in the social media world. We just discussed Facebook’s recent marketing updates, including the ability to tag products and create Snapchat-esque Stories in Messenger. We also covered everything you need to know about Facebook’s launch of Marketplace.

To know which new ad targeting tools Snapchat has added in its arsenal, have a glance at this blogSimilarly, to get acquainted with the latest Instagram updates, this blog is a must read.

[White Paper]
[White Paper]