Snapchat was created in 2011 by Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, and since then, it has grown tremendously. It is crazy to see the growth that this app has made since it was first launched in 2011 under the name of Picaboo. According to Forbes Magazine, when Snapchat was released in the iOS App Store on July 13, 2011, there were not few downloads. In contrast, the popular app, Instagram had 25,000 downloads on the first day. Upon Snapchats launch, Murphy recalled that the “Instagram fairy tale, that was not us unfortunately.” At the end of the summer of 2011, Snapchat only had 127 users. In the fall, the user level raised to 1,000 and a pattern was uncovered. They noticed that the app usage peaked between 9 am and 3 pm, which are common school hours. According to the article, “Spiegel’s mother had told her niece about the app, and the niece’s Orange County high school had quickly embraced Snapchat on their school-distributed iPads, since Facebook was banned. It gave them all the ability to pass visual notes during class–except, even better, the evidence vanished.” That December, the usage raised to 2,241. Then by January, it rose to 20,000 and in April usage reached 100,000 users. The amount of users has only risen since then, and the demographics of the users have become much more diverse.
Spiegel and Murphy were very innovative when adding the Snapstreak feature and Live Stories to their app. Both of these features encourage Snapchat users to use this app daily, since these features are based on a 24 hour cycle. This 24 hour cycle is why, according to a June 2016 article published by Bloomberg Technology, Snapchat is surpassing Twitter in daily usage. Bloomberg Technology cited that as of June 2016, Snapchat has 150 million users every single day. According to Expanded Ramblings, there are 60 million daily active Snapchat users in the USA and Canada. Snapchat is used so often, that there are about 9,000 snaps sent each second. In contrast, Twitter was founded ten years ago in 2006, and has less than 140 million daily users.
In July of 2014, according to Business Insider, Snapchat had about 82 million users between the ages of 13 and 25. At that same time, a survey was conducted to see why people use Snapchat. According to The Huffington Post, in a study that, “polled 127 Snapchat users ages 18 and over found that 60 percent of respondents used Snapchat primarily to send ‘funny content,’ while the second most popular type of ‘snap’ is a selfie. Fourteen percent of those surveyed said they’d previously sent sexts over Snapchat, but just 1.6 percent said they do so regularly.” Researchers found out that the reason users are so engaged in Snapchat is because it’s fun. Additionally, a 2015 article by Business Insider reveals why two dozen millennials enjoy Snapchat so much. When asked what they use Snapchat for, one user said,”I like sharing weird things I see when I’m out, videos of friends being funny, photos with text that I’ll post as stories when I have news to share, or ugly selfies. When you get ugly selfies from someone, that’s how you know you’re good friends.” When asked if Snapchat is a tool for sexting, one user responded, “Saying Snapchat is for sexting is like saying Facebook is for poking. One small social interaction that can happen on a massive platform. People may have done it more when Snapchat first came out — and personally I don’t even know one person who has sent some type of sexy snap, but now it is only a fraction of the interactions that happen.”
An article by Business Insider, revealed that Snapchat has overtaken Instagram in the amount of time the users spend daily on the app. Snapchat has risen above three of Facebook’s apps, including WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram. Within iPhone users in the United States, only Facebook is in front of Snapchat in terms of time spent with the app. A survey conducted in the fall of 2015 also revealed that Snapchat has surpassed Instagram as the app of choice for teens. The survey, conducted by Piper Jaffray, revealed a six percent decline in teen usage on Instagram, and a nine percent increase in Snapchat. Additionally, 30 percent of teens rank Snapchat as their most important social platform(Mediakix).
Although the prime target audience for Snapchat is aimed at younger users (18-24), the number of older users is on the rise. According to Business Insider, a report from comScore, revealed, “that 14 percent of Snapchat users in the US are now over the age of 35, which is up from just 2 percent three years ago.” As of July 2016, Snapchat has 150 million daily users, and 80 percent of those users are between the ages of 13 and 34. A lot of parents are starting to join Snapchat, just like years ago a lot of parents started to join Facebook. According to Business Insider, a company spokeswoman for Snapchat said, “Our community enjoys having their parents on Snapchat because it’s a really fast and fun way to communicate. We don’t have the public likes and comments that often make for awkward moments on traditional social media. It’s never been an issue.” In fact, 50 percent of new Snapchat users are over the age of 25. Additionally, the number of users ages 25 and up is growing two times faster than the amount of users under 25 (Mediakix).
There are 57 million Americans that use Snapchat (Mediakix). However, Snapchat is not just doing well in the United States. In fact, this app has gone completely global. According to Business Insider in 2014, Snapchat became the number one iPhone app in 13 countries and a number two or three app in 15 countries. Some of the places where the app is successful include, Northern Europe, the Middle East, Caribbean and Pacific island nations, and English speaking countries. Geofilters and Live Stories help illustrate how widespread the use of Snapchat is. The Community Geofilters are for many cities and landmarks. When users outside of the US travel abroad, or vice versa, users tend to use these Geofilters to show where they are. The Live Stories tend to show events happening around the world. These stories help show that there are many users in other countries other than just the United Sates that are snapping these events.
There is no denying that Snapchat has become successful. Recently, Snapchat changed their name to Snap Inc. Additionally, they are exploring an initial public offering that could value the company at $25 billion or more, according to Forbes. Remember, back in 2013, Mark Zuckerberg attempted to buy Snapchat from Spiegel and Murphy for $3 billion. They were smart to refuse that offer. This IPO could happen as early as next year, since it is estimated that people can start to buy shares as early as late March. According to Forbes, if this IPO does occur, Snapchat will be the largest company to go public on a U.S. exchange since 2014.
Snapchat has told investors that it expects revenue between $250 million and $350 million in 2016 and expects $1 billion in 2017, according to Forbes. Currently, Snapchat generates revenue from the ads that it sells. Snapchat sells vertical video ads in the “Discover” and “Stories” sections. Once a user clicks them, the video ad plays with sound. The Forbes articles states that, “Snapchat’s Discover section, which features articles and video from more than a dozen publishers such as CNN, iHeart Radio and Cosmopolitan, generates nearly half of the company’s total U.S. ad revenue, according to eMarketer.” Additionally, Snapchat sells Geofilters. Snapchat defines a Geofilter as, “special overlays that communicate the ‘where and when’ of a Snap in a fun way, whether you’re sending it to a friend or adding it to your Story.” The cost of an On-Demand Geofilter depends on the size of the Geofence and how long the user wants it to run. Users tend to purchase On-Demand Geofilters for events such as weddings, on campus events, house parties and more. Snapchat also brings in revenue through Lenses. These Lenses allow users to add real-time special effects and sounds to their Snapchats. An article by Business Insider says that Lenses cost between $100,000 and $750,000 for 24 hour Lenses. The video below shows a Lens created by Taco Bell on Cinco de Mayo. The article stated that the Lens was viewed 224 million times, and Snapchat users typically played with the Lens for 24 seconds before sending it to their friends.
In September, Snapchat revealed the release of Spectacles, Snapchat’s first hardware product. Spectacles are sunglasses that record in ten second increments. Users just have to press the button on the glasses to make a ten second Snapchat. The light on the glasses will light up in order to signal to friends that they are recording. Additionally, the glasses will wirelessly add the videos to Memories and the sunglasses charge in their case.Spectacles will only be available for use with Snapchat. The glasses will cost $130 and are available in black, teal and coral. However, Snapchat is only planning on making a limited number of Spectacles. Although Spectacles are not yet for sale, they will be soon, and will be another source in which Snapchat generates revenue.
Snapchat is doing very well currently, and it is safe to say that it has reached critical mass. It has been found that 60 percent of US smartphone users between the ages of 13-34 use Snapchat. Since so many people engage in Snapchat, new users can be seen as a part of the late majority.From a statistics standpoint, this app is succeeding and the projected estimations are all positive for the future of Snapchat. Just observing the world, people seem to always have their phones out to Snapchat a band at a concert, food at a restaurant, a funny thing that occurred on campus, and many more. All of the statistics presented show that Snapchat is succeeding and is ever present in the world.