Snap has finally begun publicly testing the engineering overhaul of its slow and buggy Android app that for years has cost Snapchat users. Promising early results and reduction in app startup time could help Snapchat fix its growth problem after daily active users sank in Q2 and Q3 before staying put at 186 million in Q4, Snap announced in its earnings report today.
“We ended the year with user engagement stabilizing and have started rolling out the new version of our Android application to a small percentage of our community,” CEO Evan Spiegel wrote. “Early tests show promising results especially on less performant devices, including a 20 percent reduction in the average time it takes to open Snapchat.” The problem is that because “Our engineering team remains focused on rebuilding our Android application,” they haven’t been dedicated to fixing the existing version. That means that despite iOS daily active users and average time spent growing faster than last year, Android dragged Snapchat again to see no total daily user growth.
Interim Chief Financial Officer Lara Sweet noted that, “While we are not going to give specific guidance on daily active users, we are cautiously optimistic and we do not foresee a sequential decline in daily active users in Q1 2019.” It seems Snap believes the new year is going well and the Android rollout could stem losses so it might finally grow its user count again, or at least stop shrinking.