With the industry and press all abuzz about Snap Inc’s IPO filing last week, the team here at Fluent wanted to take a closer look at how people actually feel about its popular Snapchat social media/messaging app (or, as its founder Evan Spiegel calls it, a “camera company“). Looking beyond the well-justified skepticism and/or concernof many in the financial community, our recent survey of over 3,000 American adults highlights major fundamental challenges facing the company (or at least the Snapchat app itself):

  • About half of American adults think that Snapchat is just a fad. 48% say it’s a fad, and 52% think it is here to stay.
  • Most Snapchat users (62%) believe that an alternative to Snapchat will come out that they will switch to.
  • Even young people who use the app all the time believe that they will eventually outgrow it. A majority of younger users don’t believe they will still be using the app after they turn 35.
  • Snapchat’s ad formats aren’t resonating with users. With its pretty much sole appeal to advertisers being that Snap can help them reach the “coveted” Millennial demographic — 69% of all users say they skip ads on Snapchat “always” or “often”, and that number is actually 80% amongst those most sought after, hardest to reach 18 – 24 year olds.
  • Most users don’t consume the content being produced by “traditional” media organizations for Snapchat. 61% don’t follow any news organizations (e.g., CNN, New York Times), 50% don’t follow sports (e.g., ESPN, NFL), 57% don’t follow entertainment brands (e.g., E!, DailyMail). On the other hand, “Branded content” appears to be faring well with consumers on Instagram Stories.
  • And speaking of Instagram Storiesconsumers aged 25 – 44 prefer Instagram Stories over Snapchat. This might be the most damning of all these findings for the service. Facebook/Instagram is starting to beat them at their own game and has not just the financial might, but also even more importantly the consumer marketing data to really beat the daylights out of Snap.
  • Further that last point (and this will be my final point) — in the era of Big Data, Snap doesn’t really have any. They are entirely reliant on third party data in order to target their ads, as compared to say Facebook or Google, who also ingest third party data to optimize ad targeting, but as a complement to the unique and powerful data they are amassing every day, at a massive scale. Data is the currency of the mar-tech/ad-tech ecosystem, and all that Snap really knows about me is whether or not I put that Taco Bell filter on my face for Cinco de Mayo last year.