Evan Spiegel Proclaims 'Social Media Is Dead,' and Predicts Snap Is About to 'Transcend' the Smartphone, While Lashing Out at Rivals "Social Media is Dead. Long Live Snapchat!" Snap's CEO wrote in the title of a leaked memo.

By Kali Hays

Key Takeaways

  • Snap CEO Evan Spiegel sent staffers a post-holiday note with an upbeat tone.
  • He laid out areas of focus for Snap in 2024, saying Spectacles are a new computing "revolution."
  • Meanwhile, Snap rivals "are connecting pedophiles, fueling insurrection" and more, Spiegel said.
entrepreneur daily
Joe Scarnici | Getty Images via Business Insider
Snap CEO Evan Spiegel.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Evan Spiegel told Snap employees this week they work for a rare social-media platform that "makes people happy."

In an internal note sent Monday, the co-founder and CEO seemed intent on rallying the Snapchat operator behind a sense of "urgency" after seeing several quarters of stalled revenue growth, layoffs, and struggles with its advertising business.

"Social Media is Dead. Long Live Snapchat!" he wrote in the title of the memo.

Spiegel said the company has "reached a real turning point," while lashing out at rivals that he vaguely alluded to as Meta's Facebook and Instagram, along with the X platform formerly known as Twitter.

"This year is a chance to build on all the momentum we've developed and deliver on our full potential," he wrote in the memo, a copy of which was seen by Business Insider.

Spiegel highlighted specific work done by Snap's data science, content, augmented reality, and monetization teams to improve the company's performance for users and advertisers.

Early 2024 priorities

For at least the first half of 2024, he said Snap will focus on "bringing together several critical projects we believe are essential for our long term success." Those include:

  • Shifting to focus on more user growth in developed markets like North America and Europe

  • Requiring a more "more iOS-centric approach"

  • Further efforts to improve ad targeting and performance

  • And the unification of "content and ad interactions" across Spotlight and Stories, Snapchat's main features, with a vertical swipe navigation

Success in these objectives is required for Snap to be in the financial position Spiegel wants in order to push further into AR products.

"Timing matters, hence the urgency, because consumer augmented reality glasses will gain momentum before the end of the decade, and this is our chance to transcend the limitations of the smartphone and provide a computing experience that is more sensational and shareable," Spiegel said. "We need our business to be strong enough and profitable enough to deliver the future of computing in augmented reality."

Lashing out at rivals

Toward the end of the note, Spiegel took aim at rivals in the social media space. He harkened back to the founding of Snapchat over a decade ago, saying he and Bobby Murphy wanted to build "an antidote to the online popularity contest that started with MySpace, evolved into Facebook, and eventually became Instagram."

A Snap spokesman declined to comment, noting only that during a Tuesday appearance at CES in Las Vegas, Spiegel mentioned his early ambition to differentiate the platform. "Bobby and I grew up with social media, MySpace, Facebook, then Instagram, and felt this constant pressure to be pretty perfect online to get likes and comments, to grow followers, and we just wanted something that we could use to have fun with our friends and our family," Spiegel said during the event.

He went further in his Monday note to staff, however. Spiegel positioned Snapchat as a platform offering "happiness," to teens specifically, through its messaging features and focus on close relationships. Meta on Tuesday announced new features on Instagram and Facebook aimed at making the user experience for people under 18 better as scrutiny has increased on teen mental health issues being exacerbated by content on Instagram, in particular. The company is facing dozens of lawsuits over the issue.

Spiegel seemed to refer to other issues on Meta's platforms, like child exploitation material, as well as on X, and platforms' issues with content moderation around the Israel-Hamas war.

"We're certainly far from perfect, but while our competitors are connecting pedophiles, fueling insurrection, and recommending terrorist propaganda, we know that Snapchat makes people happy," Spiegel wrote.

In an employee-only chat posted to Blind, where users' workplaces are verified, employees expressed frustration with the way Spiegel seemed to speak about competitors, specifically Meta. "You can clearly tell Evan's hatred for Meta in most of the letters he sends out," one employee said.

For the full note, see below:

Social Media is Dead. Long Live Snapchat! 8 Jan

Dear Team,

Happy New Year! I hope you all have had the opportunity to rest and recharge over the holidays. We've got a lot of hard work ahead of us in 2024. After years of fighting through many challenges like the pandemic, platform policy changes, and economic upheaval - all while taking on tough competitors and changing regulations - I feel we've reached a real turning point. This year is a chance to build on all the momentum we've developed and deliver on our full potential.

So much of the progress we've made lately has been the result of focusing intently on who we are and the role we play in people's lives - empowering people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world, and have fun together. Snapchat enhances our relationships with friends, family, and the world.

When we help people enhance their relationships, our business grows. For example, our product, growth, and data science teams developed a new methodology for determining close friends on Snapchat and use that to build features that are more likely to support close friendships. People who have close friends on Snapchat are more likely to retain over longer periods of time, so when we help people find and connect with their close friends we support the happiness and wellbeing of our community while also growing our business.

Relationships are the heart of everything we do. Our content team has used insights around relationships to recommend content in Spotlight that people want to share with their close friends. Our monetization teams are intently focused on helping advertisers form relationships with the right customers. Our augmented reality teams have created a new framework for ranking Lenses that promotes Lenses that people want to send to their friends.

The first half of this year brings together several critical projects that we believe are essential for our long term success:

First, we are continuing to evolve our machine learning models to better differentiate amongst ad interactions across our platform. Our efforts last year showed that evolving our models to drive more down-funnel, post-click engagement reduces waste and improves performance for advertisers. This year we are expanding those learnings across all of our advertising objectives.

Second, we are unifying content and ad interactions across Spotlight and Stories to reduce confusion. This means that Stories and Spotlight will both feature vertical swipe navigation, with a consistent call-to-action for linking to long-form content or engaging with ads. These unified interactions will also allow us to combine content inventory and ranking across Spotlight and Stories which will improve the likelihood that we can recommend the right personalized content for each Snapchatter.

Lastly, we are shifting more of our focus towards user growth in our developed markets like North America and Europe. Over the past several years, we've driven enormous growth in daily active users by focusing on Android performance in large countries like India. We will continue to build on our momentum in large opportunity countries in the APAC region while increasing our investment in improving the product experience for our community in North America and Europe. Doing so requires a more iOS-centric approach in these regions and a continued focus on helping our community connect with their close friends, especially for people who use our service monthly but not daily.

We believe that focusing on these three projects will help us to improve performance for advertisers, deepen content engagement, and increase daily active use of Snapchat - ultimately accelerating our revenue growth and increasing free cash flow. Timing matters, hence the urgency, because consumer augmented reality glasses will gain momentum before the end of the decade, and this is our chance to transcend the limitations of the smartphone and provide a computing experience that is more sensational and shareable. We need our business to be strong enough and profitable enough to deliver the future of computing in augmented reality.

Thirteen years ago Bobby and I set out to build something different. We wanted a way to communicate that was fast, fun, and expressive. An antidote to the online popularity contest that started with MySpace, evolved into Facebook, and eventually became Instagram.

In 2012, we declared that we were building something different to capture the full range of human emotion, not just what is pretty or perfect. Then, in 2017, we separated social from media to strengthen relationships with friends. In 2024, we're on the precipice of another revolution in personal computing that began with the desktop, evolved into the smartphone, and is becoming wearable with Spectacles, our augmented reality glasses.

We're certainly far from perfect, but while our competitors are connecting pedophiles, fueling insurrection, and recommending terrorist propaganda, we know that Snapchat makes people happy. New research published today from the University. of Chicago's NORC shows how our core use case of messaging is a key source of happiness for young people

Messaging is the only feature on online platforms that makes a majority of both teens and young adults happy, as 2 in 3 say messaging with family and close friends makes them extremely or very happy. On the other hand, a majority of teens and young adults feel overwhelmed at the way social media makes them feel pressured to post content that will get lots of likes and comments, or will make them look good to others. Perhaps most importantly, according to the NORC data, respondents who use Snapchat report higher satisfaction with the quality of friendships and relationships with family than non-Snapchatters.

At a time when more people are feeling lonely, suffering from constant judgment online, and exposed to harmful content, snapchat offers something different: a way to enhance relationships with your real friends. And soon, we will offer a new way to use computers that brings the benefits of the Internet and computing into three dimensions, grounded in the real world, and shareable with friends - unlike any experience that exists today.

Technology isn't going away. It's our responsibility to make it more human, more natural, and more seamlessly integrated into our lives, so that we can benefit from its positive potential while avoiding the pitfalls. It isn't just an exciting opportunity - it's existential.

Your leadership and the work you are doing everyday matters deeply to our future. Let's not waste a minute.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Related Topics

Science & Technology

These Are the Top 6 AI Threats to Your Business Right Now

The modern workforce is forever changed by artificial intelligence. If you fail to understand that we will all need to learn AI to some degree, you haven't been paying attention.

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Here Are 3 Strategies Startup Founders Can Use to Approach High-Impact Disputes

The $7 billion "buy now, pay later" startup Klarna recently faced a public board spat. Here are three strategies to approach conflict within a business.

Business News

'This Can't Be True': Google Responds to Viral Hoax Claiming the Company Is Shutting Down Gmail

The fake news release started making its way around X on Thursday.

Business News

Vice Will No Longer Publish Content on Its Website, Lays Off Hundreds of Staffers

Vice Media CEO Bruce Dixon announced the news in an internal memo to employees on Thursday.

Business News

I Tested the 'Invest As You Shop' App to See If It Really Makes Investing Less Intimidating

Grifin is an app that tailors a user's investments to their spending habits. Now, the app is getting even more personal.