A big glossy profile of Snapchat was published in Bloomberg this morning, and from the start, it sets out to elucidate that this is a company that, despite its youth and rambunctious attitude, is ready to become a serious business. There isn't a ton of new information on exactly how big Snapchat is — it's still referred vaguely as having more than 100 million active users — but the pitch to advertisers will be the details of that audience: more than 60 percent of Americans age 13–34 are claimed as active users.
Can Snapchat replace TV?
That user base consumes over 2 billion videos a day. Compare that to Facebook, which is 10 times larger, but does just about twice as many video views per day. Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel believes that the mobile experience he is building will replace traditional TV and desktop viewing and that all its products, including advertising, should be built with a smartphone screen in mind.
Spiegel doesn't want to use targeted advertising based on user data. Instead he has opted for things like the Discover feature the company launched earlier this year, which featured a selection of stories from well-known media brands. While it started off strong, Bloomberg and others report that usage has dropped off dramatically over time. In response, ad rates have declined from $100 per 1,000 views to around $20.
Facebook is most popular among teens
The story also points out that while Snapchat has won a reputation as the best way to reach that coveted millennial audience, other data points suggest it's not the only game in town. Among US teens age 13–17, both Facebook and Instagram are more popular.
So what will make Snapchat stand out? The piece argues that it's Spiegel's commitment to creating a unique product and treatment of advertising as an integral part of the experience, not a necessary evil, that will make Snapchat stand out. "A lot of people look at internet advertising as a tax on the system," he told Bloomberg. "That’s sort of discouraging if you care about making new products and especially discouraging if you feel like you can solve problems."
Disappearing selfies clearly solved a pain point for teenagers. So far ephemeral advertising is still a work in progress.