The Truth About Snapchat’s “Demise”

Have teens really stopped using Snapchat? Our brand tracker and survey data tell the true story…

You’ve seen the headlines. It seems that every week there’s a doomsday story featuring Snapchat’s supposed demise. This week, it’s a record low stock moment for the brand, following the release of their newest Spectacles. Last month, reports declared that the platform’s growth is stagnating. According to Business Insider, though the platform beat analysts' low expectations, it only gained 188 million daily active users in the second quarter of this year—down 2% from the previous quarter. CEO Evan Spiegel blamed fallout from the controversial redesign.

But what is the truth behind Snapchat’s current standing with young consumers? We turned to our monthly surveys, and youth brand tracker Ybrands  to find out. Let’s start with the basics: are young consumers, and teens in particular, still using Snapchat? Our last quarterly survey on social media use was fielded in July, and asked 13-36-year-olds what social platforms they’re using daily. Here’s what they told us:

Instagram is currently beating out Snapchat in daily use among young consumers, but still, half of 13-24-year-olds tell us they’re using Snapchat daily. It’s among 25-36-year-olds that daily usage falls much farther behind, with only 21% of that group saying they’re on Snapchat every day. But on the other hand, Snapchat far exceeds Facebook’s daily use among teens. In the end, Instagram is the platform to beat right now, ironically because they copied Snapchat’s features with Instagram Stories. It’s been two years since they released Stories, and the feature now attracts 400 million daily users, twice that of Snapchat’s entire app— causing Recode to call Instagram Stories “arguably the fastest-growing media format ever.” Our social media survey aligns, showing that 49% of 13-20-year-olds use the feature.

But despite Instagram’s competitive standing, Snapchat is still showing a respectable number of daily users among teens and 18-24-year-olds. And things start to look a little different when we look at whether they actually enjoy spending time on the platform. Ypulse’s youth brand tracker Ybrands launched in January of this year, and has collected over 44,000 interviews that tell us how young consumers feel about more than 300 brands, including which are their favorites. Here’s a look at the ranking of their favorite social media platforms right now:

*Ybrands measures young consumers’ relationship with a brand based on a weighted 6-point scale, ranging from “Never heard of this brand” to “This brand is one of my favorites.” These are the top social brands that received the response, “This brand is one of my favorites,” among those who are aware of the brand. The brands on this list are among the over 200 brands included in the brand tracker as of 9/2/18. Rankings are subject to change as more brands are added and removed. 

Here we can see that Snapchat is actually the top favorite platform amongst teens, beating out Instagram for the honor. It also ranks second among 18-24-year-olds, beating out Facebook, Pinterest, and Facebook Messenger. Again, it’s among the older group here that Snapchat performs less strongly. We also found that Snapchat was the top app that teens say they can't live without, so clearly the brand equity amongst this group remains high. 

But what can we say about Snapchat’s outlook? Ybrands also asks young consumers about the brands they plan to use or buy from in the future, and we took a look at Snapchat’s scores on that question over time:

After hitting a low in May, following that infamous redesign, the app has rebounded among young consumers overall, and has seen an upswing in the last few weeks.

Does this mean Snapchat will always be popular? No, nothing can guarantee that (as is evident by Facebook’s standing among teens). But we can say that for now the doomsday headlines are likely jumping the gun, and brands that want to reach teens can still look to Snapchat as a conduit.

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “A lot of people stay in jobs they hate. They feel stuck or need the money. I refuse to do this. I just gave up a Nursing career to be a CSR and I have never been happier.”—Female, 27, IN

YouTube is cracking down on creators that participate in dangerous viral challenges. The media giant updated their community guidelines to take a stronger stance against stunts that spin out of control—like the Tide Pod Challenge. Any creator that performs “pranks that make victims believe they’re in serious physical danger” will earn a strike—three and they’re out. What could constitute a strike? Just ask Jake Paul, who recently drove blindfolded for the #BirdBoxChallenge. (The Verge)

The inner five-year-old of Millennials everywhere is jumping up and down for Hot Topic’s Polly Pocket collab. In partnership with Mattel, the brand that wins at delivering unique styles is dropping a 17-piece collection of nostalgic merch. (The line looks a lot like another throwback collection we called out last year.) In celebration of the iconic toy’s 30th birthday (feel old yet?), ‘90s kids can cop everything from bags to hats to mini makeup palettes that feature shades like “Made in the 90s.” (Nylon)

YouTubers Life OMG! is like The Sims for a generation of aspiring social media stars. Players can pretend to be a video game streamer, a passionate creative, or another influencer. But the game is just as realistic as the kids who play it, making them do chores and deliver newspapers when they’re off the air. Similarly, most kids seem to know the dream is not a full-time gig; just take it from nine-year-old Oliver, who explains, “Of course I will have a good job as well, not just YouTube." (Vice)

Big brands are swooping in to save young shoppers from 2018’s oat milk shortage. The buzzy beverage has become the environmentally friendly alternative to almond milk for Millennial & Gen Z shoppers seeking dairy-free and vegan options. It became a barista favorite this year, mainly thanks to industry upstart, Oatly, which is opening a new factory to up their production. But they better hurry: big brands like Pepsi Co.’s Quaker Oats, Danone’s Silk, and Califia Farms are all getting in on this grain-based trend. (Bloomberg)

The most old-fashioned form of TV is experiencing a surge: over-the-air. While the Post-TV Gen continue to cut the cord, more are buying physical antennas to tap free networks and watch live events. Nielsen data found that this kind of old-school appointment viewing jumped from 9% of all homes in 2010 to 14% last year. Diving deeper into that 14%, about three in five also subscribe to streaming services like Netflix, and their median age is 36. (Fortune)

Quote of the Day: “I’d rather do a job I'm passionate about for a lower salary than do a high-paying but low-rewarding job.”—Male, 18, MA

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