It’s 4:50 p.m. EST on Feb. 21. Just another day for the social platform favored by teens, Snapchat. Then disaster strikes. Megastar Kylie Jenner tweets “Sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad.” In the distance, sirens are blaring.
One innocuous tweet from a reality television and cosmetics mogul caused Snapchat’s value to plummet 6 percent, knocking off about $1.3 billion in the company’s market value.
Snapchat has been under fire since it launched a redesigned app a few weeks ago. Regular users have claimed the new app is hard to navigate and takes away much of the app’s charm. A Change.org petition calling for the company to remove the update has garnered more than 1.2 million signatures.
Could one tweet have done the work that millions of regular voices could not? It’s hard to say, but when it comes to social capital, Kylie Jenner — like the rest of her family — is rich.
The Power of One Tweet
When calculating earned media value, Twitter isn’t the most lucrative of platforms. In Sideqik’s default calculations, a Twitter impression is worth only $0.000173, less than an impression on Facebook or Instagram. Similarly, as an engagement, Twitter only has two options: favorites, which are worth a mere $0.39, or retweets, which we value at $1.93. While a retweet is worth more than a share on say Facebook, there are fewer opportunities to engage. Similarly, because Twitter is still chronological and can move very quickly, without retweets, a Twitter post can have a very short shelf life.
Despite all this, Kylie Jenner’s Snapchat burn managed to earn quite a bit of earned media value. In total, Jenner’s tweet earned more than $297,200 of earned media, with nearly 5 million impressions, more than 350,000 favorites, and more than 74,000 retweets.
Correlation and Causation
Look, it’s fun to think that a tweet from a superstar could take down a company, but we’d be remiss not to mention that other things could have also caused Snapchat’s sudden plummet. According to Fast Company, Citi downgraded Snap’s stock from “neutral” to “sell” the day before the Jenner tweet and stock prices were already falling before 5 p.m. EST.
Still, in the court of public opinion, Jenner holds a lot of sway. Even if stock traders aren’t turning to the makeup mogul for investment advice, Jenner’s 150 million reach on social means many young people are turning to her.
In the age of social media and influencer marketing, it’s important to make sure you’re biggest brand advocates stay on your side. Perhaps this all could have been avoided if Snap had beta tested its redesign with it’s most passionate users.
As for Snapchat, they’re listening to complaints about the redesign. In a comment on the change.org petition, the company wrote, “We hear you, and appreciate that you took the time to let us know how you feel. We completely understand the new Snapchat has felt uncomfortable for many.”