Snapchat Numbers: How Millennials Picked the New King of Social

by Posted @ Jul 13 2016

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If you haven’t puked rainbows or swapped faces with a friend on Snapchat, you’re probably over the age of 25.  Snapchat has become one of the major social media players in the last couple years and is snapping up droves of users in high school and college.  Everywhere you look, students are drawing on their photos, taking video with funny filters and even making plain old phone calls using Snapchat.

For example, the graph below shows the percentage of the U.S. population (age 12+) that has used Snapchat before.  As you can see, Snapchat has outpaced Twitter in the matter of 3 short years.

Snapchat Growth vs. Twitter Growth
Snapchat’s hold on the prime 18-24 demographic is incredibly strong, and it’s gaining in the 25-34 demographic as well.  These younger groups tend to be trend setters for older generations and often dictate which social media is adopted on a society-wide scale.  Younger demographics are also prized by advertisers and are likely a big reason why Snapchat is trying to roll out several advertising platforms this year.  As you can see below, Snapchat’s “reach” (its potential audience) among younger demographic groups is huge.

Snapchat Usage Metrics by Age
Though Snapchat started as an app that seemingly catered to sexters and other ne’er-do-wells, it has become a major facet of communication for millions of people who just use it for ordinary purposes.  In fact, when college students were asked why they use Snapchat, half responded that it was good for keeping in touch and easier than texting.  A whopping 37% thought that Snapchat allowed them to be more creative than other platforms.  Meanwhile, a minuscule 2% mentioned sexting.

Reasons People Use Snapchat
Snapchat has evolved beyond photos.  Now that you can send videos and video chat in the app, Snapchat has become a player in the great “video game” between Facebook and YouTube.  And while YouTube still holds the top spot by a sizable margin, Snapchat is quickly gaining ground on Facebook.  Before long, an average of 1,000 hours of video content will be consumed on Snapchat every second (that’s 88 viewings of the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy every second).

The Amount of Video Consumed on Snapchat
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, keep in mind that Facebook is still king when it comes to total user numbers.  Though Facebook is fading slightly here in the U.S., it is still fresh, exciting and excelling outside of the States.  Facebook had 16x the number of monthly users as Snapchat (which has a lowly 100 million users approximately) in Q1 of this year.  But, as we saw before, the real magic is in Snapchat’s hold over the 18-24 year olds. Don’t laugh when you see Google+’s user count.

Social Media Monthly Active Users
What do all these numbers mean?  Well for one, it means that Snapchat is worth a lot of money, even if it’s not actually pulling in a lot of revenue right now.  In fact, Snapchat was recently valued at around $20 billion.  That means the market has placed a higher value on Snapchat than on Under Armour, Burger King and Pinterest just to name a few.  And in all likelihood, that valuation number will just keep growing due to the app’s popularity with young people.  You can see each of Snapchat’s valuations since its founding in the chart below.

Snapchat's valuation over time
These Snapchat numbers also mean that the communication landscape is changing.  Of course, the landscape always changes, but Snapchat gives us a great indication of how it’s changing.  The newest generation has seen the data leaks, hacks, and mishandling of information, and seems to want more privacy in its social interactions as a result.  People also want to be able to express their creativity and do more with the text, videos and pictures they send.

What do you like about Snapchat?  Why do you think it is taking off so quickly?  Let us know in the comments below.

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