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: “Retail should be a facilitator for experience, rather than just selling product.”—Sharmandean Reid, Founder, Wah Nails London (YPulse)

Millennials seeking portable booze are cracking open canned wine. Even though the category still only accounts for less than 1% of the Millennial-favorite alcoholic beverages’ market, Nielsen reports it spiked 69% last year and continues to gain ground. An exec at Delicato Family Wines explains, “Millennials have grown up in a world where consuming wine outdoors—or any location outside of the traditional table—is more acceptable than generations past.” (Wine Spectator)

Summer camps are cropping up to teach kids how to become YouTubers. At I-D Tech Camps, Level Up, and Star Camps, kids can learn all about how to, as the latter puts it, “Become an Internet sensation.” They offer courses in how to create and post videos, from shooting clips to editing audio, and how to build their personal brand. But don’t worry, most are framing YouTubing as a hobby, not a career, and setting kids’ expectations accordingly. (WSJ)

A new bill could change the free-to-play profit model that’s made games like Fortnite top earners. Senators have proposed the official ban of “loot boxes,” or items that players can buy (and sometimes must buy) to win a video game, often gambling on what’s inside. Senator Ed Markey explains that “Inherently manipulative game features that take advantage of kids and turn play time into pay time should be out of bounds.” For some, this will eliminate a key revenue stream and open the door to review other in-game purchases.  (The Verge)

A social media overhaul upped Corn Nuts’ sales by 12%—with no paid support.The snack’s sales were stagnant before a new exec took over their Twitter, infusing it with the personable tone food brands have become known for (and sometimes notorious for). Since then, followers spiked from 650 to 21,000, and what they’re calling a “scrappy” strategy “absolutely translated to sales,” reporting that retail sales spiked 12% and Millennials’ repeat purchases rose the same percentage. (Marketing Dive)

The retail apocalypse continues, with 7,000 more stores closing their doors in 2019. CoStar Group estimates that the square footage of retail space closed has topped its own record each year since 2017, and this year they’re “predicting more of the same.” PayLess ShoeSource, Gymboree, Dressbarn, and Charlotte Russe lead the list of number stores planned to shutter this year, as retailers learn to scale down size and up Experiencification for young shoppers. (Business Insider

Quote of the Day: “It’s a really interesting time at the moment in catalog [music]…Sometimes, it’s a question of how we make something out of nothing.”—Tim Fraser-Harding, President, Global Catalogue, Recorded Music at Warner Music Group (Rolling Stone)

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