VENICE, CA: New leaked data from the secretive photo-sharing app Snapchat shows that its recent additions including Maps and the Discover publishing platform are largely ignored by users who still use the app mainly for chatting and sending photos.

Data obtained by the Daily Beast showed that Snapchat’s prominent new feature, Maps, which allows users to see what their friends are doing on a map had over 30m daily users at launch, but that dropped to 19m in September, just 11% of Snapchat’s total 178m daily active users.

Maps, released last June, was supposed to be a major new feature for both regular and professional users, such as journalists using the feature as a news gathering tool. Despite positive reviews from some outlets, user numbers declined sharply following launch.

In addition, the data revealed that the app’s publisher panel, Discover, which features content from news brands and magazines, including The New York Times, The Economist, and Bleacher Report, is used by just 21% of users daily.

However, the core function of the app appears healthy. According to the data, users sent an average of 34 messages a day from June to September last year – the period covered by the leak. This suggests that the app’s core audience is not only loyal, but is increasing its use.

“The data shows that despite its perception as a nascent social platform, Snapchat is much more of a chat app. And key features like Snap Maps have yet to gain widespread adoption among the app’s user base,”said the Daily Beast.

A complicated product and sluggish user growth are just a few of the problems that Snap has faced since its IPO last March. “If [Daily Active Users] go down or stay flat, the stock could go under $10,” a former employee told the magazine.

Part of the company’s problem is brands’ frustration with its reporting as well as its general secrecy, which the leak punctures. Like Facebook, Snap is learning the hard way that messaging apps create huge user loyalty, but they are difficult to monetise.

The data does indicate why Snapchat is currently undertaking a redesign to bring together features that users like, not least putting friend’s snaps and stories together in the same place, a move that the company hopes will mean more opportunities to display advertising.

Separately, Snapchat is partnering with Fox Sports to showcase matchday highlights from the FIFA World Cup taking place in Russia this summer.

Sourced from the Daily Beast, Reuters; additional content by WARC staff