Snapchat's Explosive Growth Among Teens And Millennials Means It's Emerging As A Powerful Brand Platform


Snapchat launched in September 2011, so it is not even three years old. But as BI Intelligence explained in a recent report, brands stand to gain a lasting advantage from adopting emerging social media early.


In a new report from BI Intelligence, we provide an exclusive estimate of Snapchat's monthly active users, and break down the app's demographics - dominated by older teens and millennials - to help brands and businesses decide whether they need to be on Snapchat. The app is definitely emerging as a key medium for targeted marketing and messaging for certain audiences. The report also spotlights the opportunities ahead, as users embrace new features like "Stories," collections of videos and photos that don't self-destruct, and can be viewed and re-viewed in a 24-hour window.

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  • Snapchat has significant scale: In our exclusive estimate of Snapchat's global user base, we synthesize data from app charts, smartphone penetration numbers, survey data, and Snapchat's own limited announcements. Our estimate for Snapchat's monthly active users or MAUs is the first of its kind. Snapchat is building the necessary scale to emerge as a powerful brand platform.
  • Snapchat is powerful in part because of its unique demographics. Snapchat's users are majority female, and most users are between the ages of 13 and 25, according to press reports, based on statements from Snapchat's executives. We provide detailed estimates of Snapchat users' demographic profile, using data from several sources. Young women are a difficult-to-reach and influential demographic.
  • Engagement is high: Two-fifths of 18-year-olds in the U.S. use it "multiple times daily" to communicate with family and friends, according to a survey published earlier this year. That's a higher proportion than those saying they use voice calls multiple times daily.
  • It's a global phenomenon. Snapchat has reached a top three rank in the iPhone app store in many of the world's wealthiest and most developed consumer markets, including Sweden, France, Australia, Norway, Canada, and the U.S. and U.K.
  • Visual sharing on Snapchat is exploding. Sharing of Snapchat Stories increased 100% in the last two months. Stories are now getting 1 billion views daily, while 760 million disappearing photos and videos are sent daily.
  • Snapchat is much more than disappearing photos. It has introduced several marketer-friendly features in the last eight months, including videos known as "Snapchat Stories." The app's millions of users can weave together collections of photos and video into stories. Brands, too, have been quick to adopt stories. Like with TV ads, brands can make their stories 30- or 60-seconds long, a comfortable and familiar format for advertisers. Also, Stories don't disappear after a few seconds. They can be watched again and again in a 24-hour period.
  • Brands are increasingly active on Snapchat. We also look at what major brands including Audi, Taco Bell, Grub Hub, Audi, Mashable, McDonald's and streetwear retailer Karmaloop are doing on Snapchat. Also notes usage by publishers like Mashable and institutions like the University Of Michigan.
  • Snapchat does pose certain disadvantages. It is difficult, though not impossible, to build a large audience on Snapchat. To do so usually requires heavy cross-promotion on other social networks.

In full, the report: