Snapchat Numbers: How Millennials Picked the New King of Social

by Posted @ Jul 13 2016


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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  1. Jack says:

    Snapchat is a step above texting just because it is slightly more personal

  2. Troy says:

    I had no idea about the explosive growth that Snapchat was doing.

    I would be interested in an article about finding ways to utilize it for my blog.

    • Sam says:

      The reason why I like snapchat so much is because it’s personal. It’s very hard for it to be taken over by referrals like Facebook has been. I prefer it to Facebook because it’s about my friends. There’s corporate influence on the filters and the like, but that’s easily ignored, and beyond that, it’s just a way to see about people I care about. As such, I struggle to see how it would be used for the sake of self promotion beyond the circle of people that already care about you. If that’s what you want, then you might just wanna talk to those people face to face, because that’s what the undivided attention that snapchat seems to promote rivals the most.

    • Vicki says:

      Hi Troy – Here’s a great article with examples of how to use Snapchat as a blogger.

      Also, follow Brian Fanzo (@iSocialFanz) and Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) for ongoing updates and how they use Snapchat.

      If you want a specific type of person to follow, i.e. fashion or fitness, just google and you’ll see some top users who have a lot of followers on a similar topic.

      Hope this helps!

  3. Dana says:

    It’s a bit more personal, yes, and it allows easy connection between android and iOS without the limits/costs associated with texting.

    • sam says:

      Curious as to what the limits/costs are associated with texting? All carriers provide unlimited texting and calling these days. Also why not use the like of WhatsApp and other messaging systems, since text messaging is what you compared it with.

    • will says:

      Yes it just more than likely is using mobile data which costs more than SMS. Yes it can be used over wifi but this isnt always available. Anything to get people to use more wildly expensive mobile data

  4. Anon says:

    Snapchat is nice and all, but I only use it due to having friends use it. Their android app is a literal piece of crap, with the CEO stating he was deliberately not investing money into improving the app as a result of him not personally liking Android. Furthermore, the picture taking capabilities are useless, as it only takes a screenshot of the screen which not only lags out the app further, it also completely ruins the quality of the photo by compressing it. I realise on iPhones, it is a good app. But for Android, If there was a better alternative, I would gladly switch to it.

    • Anon2 says:

      Funny thing, they laugh about writing a Windows Phone app. I hate that a CEO’s personal feelings are getting in the way of a few million users using the app.

    • anon3 says:

      really? I recently switched from android to ios and didn’t notice much of a difference. Are the face recognition filters not available on Android?

    • Anon says:

      They are. But unless you’re using a Samsung device it’s optimized horribly. I currently use a Nexus 6, which should be more than capable of running a simple photo app; yet it makes it overheat, and kills the battery.

    • sam says:

      That’s cause the app isn’t optimized for the hardware. Hardly a good argument.

  5. Kate says:

    Could you add in the missing sources for 3 charts (college student, MAU, valuations)?

    • Rachel says:

      I enjoy snapchat because it is an easy and effective way to stay in touch with my friends. I like watching funny, short videos and seeing what my friends are up to without seeing the spam of Facebook or Twitter.

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