Snapchat just wasn't getting traction with advertisers so it knew that it needed to update its app to be more ad-friendly. It also knew that this wouldn't really resonate with its young user base.
The update is rolling out first in Canada, UK, and Australia. TechCrunch analyzed the reviews:
Confusingly jamming Stories in between private messages has sparked backlash amongst the first users of Snapchat’s sweeping redesign. In the few countries including the U.K., Australia, and Canada where the redesign is widely available, 83 percent of App Store reviews (1,941) for the update are negative with one or two stars, according to data provided to TechCrunch by mobile analytics firm Sensor Tower. Just 17 percent, or 391 of the reviews, give it three to five stars.
To be honest this story came to light for me when I was listening to my 14-year-old daughter rail against the update for 15 minutes straight while we drove to her boyfriend’s place (parental oversharing -Ed.). She and her friends were actually using proxy servers and deleting the app and then reinstalling it to try and fool it into thinking they were in another country (we’re in Canada) to bypass the new updates.
It’s possible that Snapchat can convince users that the new interface is fun, but when users are willing to go to these lengths to avoid the update there might be something more fundamental going on.