KEY POINTS

  • Snapchat has significant scale: We estimate it reached 82 million monthly active users globally as of May 2014. It also has attractive demographics, a consistent growth trajectory, and a deep user base in wealthy countries.
  • The majority of Snapchat's user base is female, and 70% is between the ages of 13 and 25, a difficult-to-reach demographic. Snapchat users also tend to live in countries where young people typically have significant spending power. 
  • Engagement is high: Two-fifths of 18-year-olds in the U.S. use it multiple times daily to communicate with family and friends. 
  • Snapchat is 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 users can use Stories to weave together collections of photos and video. 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Taco Bell, Audi, Mashable, McDonald's and streetwear retailer Karmaloop have created accounts on Snapchat and have sent their followers Stories and photos. But many marketer attempts to use Snapchat have been little more than early experiments.
  • Snapchat does pose disadvantages relative to other social networks: There's a lack of metrics, and it favors private one-on-one communication, which tamps down on virality. 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. 

BII_Snapchat3BII


 

SNAPCHAT IS MORE THAN DISAPPEARING PHOTOS

Snapchat has risen to prominence very quickly as an alternative social network for teens and young adults.

Most of the attention on Snapchat has focused on a single novelty feature, "Snaps," or disappearing photos, which are only viewable for up to ten seconds after they are opened. This early focus earned Snapchat a somewhat undeserved reputation as an app mainly used for "sexting," or sending risque pictures back and forth.

But Snapchat has introduced many new features over the past year. Added together, the features turn [...]