Snap beats user growth expectations

Snapchat owner's operating loss is shrinking, with major advertisers expected to keep the faith this year.

Snapchat: still below user numbers a year ago
Snapchat: still below user numbers a year ago

Shares in Snapchat’s parent company shot up by 7.5% in after-hours trading after a positive first-quarter earnings report.

The messaging platform, which has struggled to grow its user base in recent quarters, posted a 2% increase in daily active users to 190 million, compared with the previous quarter. 

While this user number beat market analysts’ calls for 187 million, it is still below the 191 million posted by Snapchat a year ago.  

Social media apps tend to report high user growth in the first quarter of the year because people download and use apps when getting new devices over Christmas and New Year. Yesterday, Twitter reported a 12% increase in "monetisable daily active users" for the same period.

Snap’s first-quarter revenue increased 39% to $320m (£247.5m) – a slower rate of growth than the 54% it reported for the corresponding period last year.

Operating loss improved to $316m for the first three months of this year, compared with $392m a year ago.

According to MediaRadar, 42% of Snapchat's advertisers in the first three months of 2019 were completely new to the platform. Snapchat is particularly strong in the media/entertainment, tech, retail and clothing sectors, with the top 10 advertisers set to increase their spend on the platform this year. 

Snap's major advertising clients include Comcast (owner of NBC and Sky), Adidas and Disney. 

The number of brands placing on premium Snapchat Discover channels is up 15% year on year in the first quarter, while more than half of brands (58%) are renewing spend from a previous period – something that MediaRadar pointed to as "a great sign of long-term adoption".

Snapchat now reaches 90% of all 13- to 24-year-olds and 75% of all 13- to 34-year-olds in the US, Snap said. 

Evan Speigel, Snapchat’s chief executive, added: "In the first quarter, we delivered strong results across our business, with growth in daily active users and revenue.

"Our new Android application is available to everyone, with promising early results. This month, we announced several new products that we believe will drive further engagement and monetisation. As we look towards the future, we see many opportunities to increase our investments and will continue to manage our business for long-term growth."

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