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.

To download a PDF version of this insight article, click here

Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?


The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “The [financial] industry has been slow to adapt to the ways in which young people want to be communicated with and to communicate with each other.”—Ian Rosen, CEO, StockTwits (YPulse)

Instagram users can now purchase products without leaving the app. The platform’s shopping tags are evolving to allow users to check out directly inside the app from about 20 retailers using saved payment and shipping information. The move doesn’t just give Facebook a direct cut of each sale, but also allows the platform to collect data that they’ll leverage in their ad targeting. Instagram’s influence over young consumers’ purchases continues to skyrocket, and according to our Shoppability trend, 72% of Gen Z & Millennials are open to buying products on social media. (Recode)

Disney and MAC Cosmetics are debuting a nostalgic makeup line for Aladdin fans. The Disney Aladdin collection features lipstick, an eyeshadow palette, and bronzer in jewel and metallic hues that Princess Jasmine might wear with her bright turquoise outfit. The partnership is part of the lead-up to the live-action Aladdin’s debut, and isn’t MAC’s first time introducing fans to whole new worlds of Disney-themed cosmetics. In the past, they’ve also released Cinderella and Disney villains-themed lines. (Teen Vogue)

Google announced their ambitious plan to become “the future of gaming:” a cloud-based streaming service called Stadia. Gamers will be able to play across device (phones, TVs, tablets, etc.) without waiting for the title to load in a YouTube-connected setting. That means viewers can instantly play titles featured in videos and stream their own gameplay to YouTube—which could challenge industry leader, Amazon-owned Twitch. The Netflix-like service is set to launch this year. (The Verge)

Instagrammable dim sum is going global. The craze stared in Hong Kong, where Social Places serves up bao made to look like tiny pigs and charcoal custard bao filled with “a thick liquid that oozes out like lava,” introducing three or four new incarnations each month to keep customers coming back. Meanwhile at Disneyland Hong Kong, Crystal Lotus customers dine on buns that look like their favorite animated characters, including Frozen's Olaf. In the U.S., San Francisco’s Chili House and New York’s RedFarm are some of the first to take on the trend. (Bloomberg)

Netflix’s next choose-your-own-adventure series lets viewers chart Bear Grylls’ journey through the wilderness. Soon, Netflix viewers will have the chance to become outdoors experts from the comfort of their couches, as they make the survival show celebrity’s choices as he traverses tricky situations. Grylls himself says that he’s “giving viewers an all-access pass to explore the world and its landscapes in my boots” and that “For the first time, my survival is in your hands.” (THR)

Quote of the Day: “One of the biggest myths about Millennials is that they do not want to engage with human beings, especially if a chatbot, app, or a website can be deployed.”—Xiomara Lorenzo, Director, Society of Grownups (YPulse)

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies