Nearly half of U.S. adults think video messaging app Snapchat is no more than a "fad," according to research by the company Fluent provided to Marketing Dive. Fluent surveyed 3,327 adults and found 63% of those aged 18 to 24 and 40% of those aged 25 to 34 are on Snapchat.
- Sixty-two percent of Snapchat user respondents believe a different, "better" app will come along that they will use instead of Snapchat. The majority of younger users surveyed said they don’t believe they will still be using Snapchat after they turn 35.
- When asked about advertising on the platform, 69% of Snapchat users said they skip ads either "always" or "often." The majority of those surveyed said they do not turn to Snapchat to follow news, sports or entertainment, and Fluent stated that "branded content" seems to fare better with users of Instagram Stories, which is often labeled a Snapchat clone.
Snap Inc., Snapchat’s parent company, was recently met with a chilly reception from London analysts and investors on its pre-IPO roadshow, one of the first major bumps the startup has hit since it filed its SEC paperwork earlier this month. On the stop, Snap was reportedly peppered with questions about its slowed user growth, as some investors are concerned the platform's audience is already starting to stagnate at a little over 150 million daily active users.
The Fluent research underscores that many actual Snapchatters also think the app is a bit of a flash in the pan. Snap has been heavily touting a young, highly engaged user base as its core strength, but the Fluent findings suggest those same young users are fickle and might not stick around as the app matures along with them. This could be one reason why Snapchat put a heavy focus on the importance of future innovation for the company's growth in its SEC filings.
Snapchat has also struggled to show strong engagement metrics and ROI for marketing efforts in the past. Continued indifference and outright avoidance of Snapchat ads might prove to be a worrying sign for brands on the platform.
If Snap's IPO does not match its goal valuation of $14 to $16 a share, some of marketers' bullishness on Snapchat may cool. While Snap has been eager to position itself as a big digital player — key advertising industry figures have also suggested it has the potential to rival Facebook — some have argued its user numbers and financial guts look a lot more like Twitter's did before its IPO. Twitter has since seen stagnating audience growth and ad revenue.
That’s not to jump the gun and claim Snapchat is D.O.A. If anything, the platform has continued to attract the attention of both major media brands and publishers alike, and it plans to roll out a robust stable of offerings like original video content in the near future. Snap also keeps its cards incredibly close to the chest and the full picture of what it will do once flush with more investment cash for R&D is unclear.
So while many users think of Snapchat as just a "fad" at the moment, those surveyed also really haven't experienced the full slate of what the app has to offer or have a sense of what it might look like a few years — or even a few months — down the road.