Snapchat introduces playlists to help fight story overload

Snapchat is rolling out a series of important changes to the Stories feed today that brings updates from your friends back to the top — and take a first step toward reducing clutter in the feed today by letting you create a playlist of friends’ stories to watch.

The changes, which are rolling out now, begin with a demotion for Discover pages. Discover, which features a daily mix of text and video stories from big publishers, will now appear below your friends in the Stories feed. (Discover pages you’ve subscribed to will appear right beneath your friends; ones you haven’t appear under those.) You can still find Discover in its own tab to the right of the Stories feed, but that section of the app increasingly feels like Siberia.

The next change eliminates a feature that automatically played every story in your feed with a single tap. On one hand, this feels like a surprise: Snap made money from auto-advancing stories by inserting ads in between some of them. On the other, Snapchat’s growing popularity means that most people have friend lists that are spiralling out of control. Some days, watching every story in your feed might take up an amount of time equivalent to watching a feature film. Eliminating auto-advance suggests that most people were already picking and choosing which stories they wanted to watch.

Now you can add those stories to a playlist. To add a friend’s story, tap the story thumbnail to the left of their name. After you’ve selected some friends, you can hit the play button that will pop up at the bottom of the screen. Notably, stories in this feed will be monetized just as auto-advancing stories were — with interstitial ads between some of the stories. Snap will also now show you post-roll ads at the end of individual user stories, even if you haven't added them to a playlist.

For now, story playlists aren’t persistent — if you want to watch stories from the same 10 friends every day, you’ll have to build the list manually each time. The company wouldn’t comment on its future plans, but I’d guess you’ll eventually be able to put your best friends’ stories in a single playlist that appears above everything else.

Until it does, you may not find story playlists all that useful. But it’s a sign that Snap is pointed in the right direction.


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