Today marks Snapchat’s first earnings call since their much-hyped March IPO. Snap Inc.’s stock has fluctuated since then amid investor skepticism and the release of Snapchat-like “story” features from competitors like Facebook and Instagram. Recent data from Verto Analytics has also shown that Snapchat may have a troublingly high churn rate; the platform has lost nearly a quarter of its user base (among U.S. adults, ages 18+) between Q3 and Q4 2016. With just 17% reach of the online population in the U.S., Snapchat lacks the numbers of its rivals Facebook (92% reach) and Instagram (58% reach), but it has touted its highly engaged Millennial-centric audience to advertisers and investors. Verto Analytics took a look at Snapchat’s user numbers and engagement metrics over the past four months to see how the social media platform is performing.
Snapchat by the numbers: user growth and engagement
Verto Analytics data reveals that between December 2016 and March 2017, Snapchat’s user numbers have stagnated: despite a small bump in users during early Q1, Snapchat had 36.3 million users in March, which is nearly the same number it reported in December 2016. More troublingly, the time spent per user on Snapchat has declined by 25% over the same time period.
A breakdown of Snapchat’s user demographics reveals that their audience is consolidated among younger users: more than two-thirds (67%) of Snapchat users are aged 18-35. And the platform shows some promising metrics among certain older age groups: one of Snapchat’s fastest-growing user groups is those aged 45-54, which grew by nearly 12% between December 2016 and March 2017 – the same rate of increase seen among users in the 18-24 demographic. At the same time, however, Verto Analytics data shows a nearly 27% decline in users aged 55+.
While user demographics and numbers are useful indicators of a platform’s success, a major indicator of the lifetime of a company is stickiness, or how likely it is that a user will return to the service day after day. From December to March, Snapchat’s stickiness has dropped slightly, from 47% to 45%. Verto data also shows a 25% decline in the average amount of time spent per user, from 3.25 hours per user per month in December 2016 to 2.45 hours per user per month in March 2017. This drop in time spent is reflected across all user demographics except among users 18-25 (which only saw 1% growth in user time spent) and users ages 25-34 (which only saw 3% growth in user time spent) over the time period of December 2016 to March 2017.