SnapChat is the one of the top ten social media platforms on the planet with 433 million monthly active users . Since it's launch in September 2011 the company has ballooned to 5,661 employees with a revenue of $4.117 billion. However, recent figures have shown that Snapchat's user penetration in the United States is projected to start experiencing a slow decrease in 2022, passing from 40 percent in 2021 to 39.6 percent in 2024 . Given this decrease it is no surprising that many are asking whether the platform will continue to a powerhouse or will it decline like the falls of FourSquare or MySpace.
What Is SnapChat?
SnapChat is an instant messaging multimedia application created by Snap Inc, originally SnapChat Inc. via the service users can send messages, pictures, or videos to Friends they have connected with on the app. Users can also post stories with photos or videos that friends and followers can view in a kind of newsfeed. The defining feature of the service is that all messages sent on it delete after viewing allowing, allegedly, for greater privacy protection. Further, the aforementioned stories disappear after 24 hours and cannot be accessed by other users again.
The Demographics of SnapChat
Since its inception, SnapChat's main constituency has been Generation Z, those between the ages of 9 and 2, and the app is classified as 12+ on the various app stores. Researchers originally hypothesized that due to the ephemeral nature of Snapchat messages, its use would be predominantly for privacy-sensitive content including the much talked about potential use for sexual content  However, it appears that Snapchat is used for a variety of creative purposes that are not necessarily privacy-related at all. In the study, only 15.8% of respondents reported using Snapchat to send or receive sexual content. These findings suggest that users do not seem to utilize Snapchat for sensitive content. Rather, the primary use for Snapchat was found to be for comedic content such as "stupid faces" with 59.8% of respondents reporting this use most commonly .
Around 54.4% of Snapchat users are female and 44.6% are male. India has the most Snapchat users (115.95 million), followed by the U.S (106.2 million) . 65% of U.S. 18-29-year-olds say they use Snapchat and the reach of Snapchat advertising audiences makes up 8.4% of the population aged 13+.
Although nearly all regular Snapchat users follow friends on the app, 38% follow a news organization and 30% follow a politician . A recent survey of SnapChat users further demonstrated that those following news organizations and political figures on Snapchat are more likely to be educated and male. Ahead of the 2016 election, more than two-thirds of regular users reported watching snaps about political speeches or debates and live news.
Advertising on SnapChat
Snapchat's self-serve advertising platform allows users to create ads, launch campaigns, monitor performance, and optimize towards their initiatives. The platform also comes with an impressive suite of micro-targeting capabilities including the ability to target ads based on users interests, behaviors, location, and more .
SnapChat has been a key tool for many politicians since it's inception. Both President's Obama and Trump were on the platform at one time. They and public figures like them have used the platform to humanize themselves to their followers and push messaging that forwards their agenda.
Argentina’s new president Mauricio Macri stands nearly alone as a master of Snapchat. By giving a behind-the-scenes tour of the presidential day, showing trips to factories and other daily affairs, he’s given young users a glimpse into political life they’d likely miss otherwise leading to his support in this key demographic growing .
Should I set up a SnapChat account for my client or business?
With 319 million people using Snapchat every day and the ability to reach 75% of millennials and Gen Z, the platform must be considered for any digital advertising plan . Ultimately it comes down to the same questions we must ask for any campaign; who is my audience? How will this help me reach my audience? Is this the most effective way to reach my audience? We must also ask ourselves if the laid back, personal nature of SnapChat aligns with the messaging, image, and brand of the person, product, or service we are looking to promote.