Snap Inc.’s post IPO success has been almost non-existent, but its latest earnings report changed a lot of that. An Android app redesign, a methodical reversal of a botched 2018 redesign, an emphasis on AR has led Snap’s share price to actually double in 2019.
All of those changes certainly helped Snap in its rebound, but none of that would have been successful without its users, especially teens. Snap now reaches “90% of all 13 to 24-year-olds and 75% of all 13 to 34-year-olds in the U.S.,” and according to Snap that’s more than even Instagram can claim. That number paired with a greater emphasis on making its advertising platform more sophisticated have made Snapchat a more attractive place for advertisers.
That’s where Snapchat’s success is coming from, but is that enough for the platform’s future?
eMarketer experts Snapchat to lose about 3% of its U.S. monthly users in 2019, and Instagram is passing it in terms of time spent. So while, Snapchat has the scale, its prospects for winning the battle for engagement are diminishing.
This is where the next year of Snapchat’s life will get interesting as it starts to answer the question whether or not teens are enough. In the short-term, they’re doing for Snap what Snap needs them to do, but Snapchat’s shown a desire in the past to expand. That’s what led to its disaster out app redesign. It was mean to make the app more palatable and easier to use for a broader market, but while attempting to broaden its appeal, Snap alienated its core (teens). The platform is still looking to recover.
Snapchat is in a good place right now, but how long that lasts depends on what Snapchat does in regards to teens. Does it double down on them or try to expand? Either way, Instagram will be watching. It’s already working to erode Snapchat’s relationship with teens, and when it comes to broad market appeal, Instagram is already the leader. Will Snapchat challenge that leadership or work to shore up its current advantage? That’s going to be an interesting one to watch.