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: “[It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is] my favorite satirical/dark comedy for the past 12 seasons and it hasn't dipped in quality since.”—Male, 21, NY

Nike’s new store puts mobile use at the center of the experience. Using geo-fencing, Nike knows when a customer walks into their 68,000 square foot space and changes the app accordingly. Users can see tailored content and offers, book styling appointments on-site, scan mannequins to have product delivered to their dressing room, and more. Based on the success of similar stores in L.A. and Shanghai, Nike execs hope their new flagship will build up Nike’s Brandom, and drive app downloads in the process. (Ad Age)

Jell-O is rolling out edible slime kits. Their Unicorn and Monster kits cash in on the slime trend, which has been booming in the anxiety economy for at least three years. Elmer’s, Cra-Z-Art, and Nickelodeon were all quick to tap the trend for marketing and products while Jell-O is a little late to the party. But considering that 82% of teens told Ypulse last year that they’ve participated in at least one trending activity to relax, there might still be time to capitalize. (Vox)

BuzzFeed is getting into the retail game, with plans to open family-focused stores across the country, starting in NYC. The brick-and-mortar venture, called Camp, will sell toys and apparel to Millennial parents and their kids, and the first is scheduled to open in time to capture some holiday spending. The concept is copying Story by changing up products and experiences every eight to 12 weeks, because, “we want to deliver adventure every time they come to the store.” (Ad Age)

Pharma companies are using influencers for social media marketing. Wego is a platform that connects patients with social media followings to pharmaceutical companies for marketing activations, like posts about drugs and devices. One company at least has seen success using the approach: Sunovian's earned media impressions surged from fewer than 100,000 to more than 13.2 million after working with Wego. The biggest caveats to that cashflow could be abiding by FDA regulations and contending with “a myriad of ethical issues." (STAT)

Eighty-five percent of Millennials have purchased a product after viewing a branded videoThat’s nearly 10% higher than the adult average for the U.S, U.K., and Australia, according to Brightcove. In addition, 56% ranked videos as more engaging than any other marketing materials and 46% said its their favorite form of brand communication. They're also seeking Shoppable content: 30% said they're interested in videos containing purchase links. (Marketing Charts)

Quote of the Day: “Black-ish is my favorite show on air because it's informative, funny, relatable, and political…I know that I'll be entertained and maybe even learn something new or think critically about certain issues.”—Female, 22, PA

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