Snapchat’s Recent Developments – Interesting to Marketers

Snapchat and its parent company are seeing positive changes, such as a growing number of older adult users and a successful IPO launch on the New York Stock Exchange. Source: Google Images

Snapchat, a social application known for its photo filters and ephemeral photos and videos, has been a favorite amongst teens and young adults for a few years. Snapchat and its parent company, Snap Inc., are continuing to see success as the business develops. Not only is Snapchat seeing growth amongst new demographics, but also the parent company has just successfully launched its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange.

According to an Advertising Age article, a recent eMarketer report projects that there will be over 70.4 million Snapchat users in America in 2017. Users, according to the research firm, are those who use the app at least once a month. While most of these users are in the 18-24-age range, eMarketer estimates that just over 11% of Snapchat users are more than 45 years old. Furthermore, the number of users over the age of 45 is projected to continue increasing by 1.2% and 1.1% in 2018 and 2019 respectively. It seems that a new demographic is catching on – the parents of Snapchat’s younger users.

The Discover section on Snapchat is attractive to the increasing number of users above 45 years of age. Source: Google Images 

Some of the factors that may be attracting these users over the age of 45 are the coverage of daily news, the original Discover section content, and of course, the fleeting text message and photo capabilities. Many of the older users might also simply use the app to check up on their children who use it. Regardless, the application has potential to continue attracting older adults, just as Facebook did. The increasing amount of older users adds to the growth of the application’s user base, but Snapchat will want to be cautious not to become known as the parents’ app; there is likely no quicker way to scare off its young users.

This growth among an older adult demographic is important for marketers to consider. Until now, many marketers might have felt that Snapchat’s user demographics were too narrow. While adults over the age of 45 still represent a small fraction of the application’s user base, the age group’s steady growth is encouraging. With that said, according to a study cited in a recent Business Insider article, 64% of brands had already created a Snapchat account between January and October of 2016. However, of those, 30% of brands are dormant, or don’t post on their account on at least a monthly basis.

Perhaps brands will become more active on Snapchat now that app and its parent company are in the spotlight. Snap Inc. (SNAP) launched its IPO and began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on March 2, 2017. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company closed a successful first day at $24.48 – 44% above its $17 offer price – and traded at as high as $26.05. Following this first day of public trading, Snap Inc.’s market value increased by almost $9 billion. This was exciting to investors who craved a new tech IPO.

From a marketing management perspective, here are some questions to consider:

  • What opportunities, if any, might Snap Inc.’s successful IPO launch present for marketers?
  • In terms of marketing, what are some pros and cons of having a narrow user demographic? Provide an example of a company that would benefit from marketing to Snapchat’s mostly 18-24 year-old users.
  • What are some factors that might contribute to the 30% of “dormant” brands on Snapchat?