March 14th, 2016

Has Snapchat Reached Its Tipping Point?


To use Snapchat up to now has felt like Twitter and Facebook used to feel: raw, in-the-moment and fun. As more users adopt the channel, I’ve noticed the snaps getting more polished and seemingly planned. Instead of a fun tool used to communicate, Snapchat is becoming a more formal communications channel. All signs point to Snapchat having reached its tipping point.

The Snapchat app launched in 2011, but really started picking up steam in the spring of 2012 when they reached 100,000 users (browse full history of Snapchat here). By early 2013, Snapchat was seeing 60 millions snaps per day and we all started talking about how teens were using the app. Over the last few years, Snapchat has evolved the app with Stories (a way to app snaps together over a 24 hour period for your followers to view as a complete “story”), filters (a la Instagram) and Discover (a way to monetize from brands and publishers!). A few weeks ago, Snapchat announced that they are serving over 7 billion videos per day. For comparison, Facebook is serving over 8 billions videos per day but has 15 times as many users as Snapchat (1.5 billion Facebook users; 100 million Snapchat users). This is huge.

All of this use and growth has been among young audiences, the 18-to-24-year-olds, mainly. The next largest demographic using the app has been 25-to-34-year-olds. But something strange has been happening the las couple of months: users over 35 years old are adopting the app.

Over the last year in the U.S., Snapchat added 25-to-34-year-old users (103 percent) and older-than-35 users (84 percent) faster than 18-to-24-year-old users (56 percent), according to measurement firm Comscore. Snapchat’s own data now peg 12 percent of its nearly 50 million daily users in the U.S. as 35 to 54. (source)

Last month, my close friends (all over the 35-year-old milestone) started talking about Snapchat, signing up and using the app regularly. And though I have had the app on my phone for years, it wasn’t until eight or ten months ago that I really started spending any significant time in the app. As with any social app, the fun doesn’t really start until you have friends using it with you, creating the snowball effect momentum that propels any trend into its tipping point.

As a marketer, now is the time to examine whether your target audience is on Snapchat (or will be soon!) and whether Snapchat is the right channel for your brand to start using (and it is not right for every brand).

You can follow me on Snapchat at msemilyreeves.

For a Snapchat 101 overview, watch my segment on KATV.

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