Snap CEO says two big changes helped boost the stock 175% this year

Key Points
  • After two rough years on the public markets, Snap's stock has been on a tear in 2019.
  • Snap CEO Evan Spiegel credited two big changes inside the company for the turnaround, including a new self-serve ad model and a redesign of the Android app.
Evan Spiegel, co-founder and chief executive officer of Snap Inc., speaks during the New Work Summit in Half Moon Bay, California, U.S., on Monday, Feb. 25, 2019.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Snap's stock has been on a tear this year, and CEO Evan Spiegel credits two big changes inside the company for the turnaround.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Spiegel said Snap's adoption of a self-serve ad platform, as well as a redesign of its Android app, which was initially poorly received, have helped it turned a corner.

"You're seeing a lot of investments we made — some of which were quite controversial — start paying off," Spiegel said in the interview.

Shares of Snap, which is the maker of Snapchat, have bounced back after a rough ride in the public markets in the two years since its IPO in 2017. The stock is up more than 175% this year, representing a significant turnaround since it posted its lowest close of $4.99 on Dec. 21, 2018.

The company initially faced broad backlash from users around the redesign, which separated content from close friends and brands into two different sections of the app. At one point, Spiegel was forced to apologize for the change, admitting the redesign was "rushed."

Spiegel said the redesigned Snapchat app has started to "pay off," while the transition to a self-serve ad platform, which makes it easier for brands to buy ads on the platform, has expanded Snap's ability to sell ads, he said. Users appear to have embraced the redesign and are watching more premium content in the app, Spiegel said.

"I think that's another example of one of those big bets that was challenging to make at the time starting to pay off," Spiegel added.

Read the full report from The Wall Street Journal here.

Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal is an investor in Snap.

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