Snapchat’s user growth re-accelerated slightly in the fourth quarter of 2017. The social media app, particularly popular among teenagers, now has 187 million daily active users, an increase of 18 percent compared to Q4 2016 and five percent compared to Q3 2017. As our chart illustrates, Snapchat is still most popular in North America, where 43 percent of its users come from.
When it comes to their social media preferences, U.S. teens are about as loyal as Brutus was to Caesar. Back in 2013, Facebook was still their social network of choice. In 2014, Instagram took the throne for a while before being replaced by Snapchat in 2016.
Now, in the fall of 2017, Snapchat is the clear number 1 for teens in the United States, with nearly half of the 6,000+ teenagers polled for PiperJaffray’s bi-annual “Taking Stock With Teens” survey naming it their favorite social platform. 24 percent of the teenage respondents called Instagram their favorite, while Facebook and Twitter are losing touch with the teen demographic.
So how do these numbers translate into actual usage? Are teenagers really abandoning Facebook in droves? Not quite, apparently. According to this year’s spring edition of PiperJaffray’s report, more than half of U.S. teens still use Facebook at least once a month. The same holds true for Twitter, which is used regularly by 56 percent of U.S. teens. Snapchat and Instagram hold their ground in terms of usage as well: both are used at least monthly by around 80 percent of young Americans.
A little more than three months after its blockbuster IPO, it has gotten relatively quiet around Snap. Even after reporting less than stellar first quarter earnings last month, the company’s stock price never dropped below the IPO price of $17.
There remains a bit of skepticism regarding the company’s long-term outlook though and not everyone is convinced that Snapchat’s popularity among Millennials justifies its parent company’s $20+ billion valuation. Aside from the obvious threat that Facebook (including Instagram) poses to Snap’s long-term success, marketers have yet to fully embrace Snapchat.
According to a recent report by the Social Media Examiner, just 7 percent of marketers used Snapchat in the first quarter of 2017, which is worlds apart from Facebook’s 94 percent adoption rate. But even Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest are used by a significantly larger portion of the 5,700 marketers taking part in the survey.
This chart shows which social media platforms are most commonly used by marketers in 2017.
Snapchat’s rise to fame over the past few years can be attributed almost entirely to its immense popularity among young smartphone users who found in it a new virtual playground after their parents had caught up with them on Facebook.
And while anecdotal evidence gathered by the author of these lines suggests that Snapchat is still a big mystery to many people past their 30th birthday, new data from comScore points in a different direction. According to the company’s latest “Cross-Platform Future in Focus” report, the age composition of Snapchat’s audience is quickly shifting towards older users. In December 2016, people aged 35 and older accounted for 46 percent of Snapchat’s adult user base in the United States, up from just 24 percent a year earlier.
While it needs to be noted that comScore’s analysis doesn’t include users below the age of 18, one thing seems clear: silver surfers are no longer avoiding Snapchat at all costs, a trend that could make the platform even more attractive to advertisers but also less appealing to the young internet crowd.
This chart breaks down Snapchat’s adult users in the U.S. by age group.
When Snap, the company behind Snapchat, filed for its initial public offering last week, it not only granted us a first look at the financials behind the popular smartphone app but also revealed the size of its user base. According to the registration document, Snapchat had 159 million daily active users by the end of 2016, up from 106 million a year ago and 71 million at the end of 2014.
With 68 million users, North America (including Mexico and the Caribbean) has the largest Snapchat fan base ahead of Europe (52 million) and the rest of the world (39 million). While still growing, the rate of Snapchat’s user growth slowed down significantly in the second half of 2016. Interestingly, that slowdown coincided with the launch of Instagram Stories in August. While copying a feature from your rival’s playbook may not have been the most elegant move by Instagram (or Facebook for that matter), it certainly was effective: by October, Instagram Stories already had 100 million daily users, illustrating how big a threat Instagram with its 600 million users poses to Snapchat’s long-term success.
This chart shows Snapchat’s user growth since 2014.