Chart of the Week: Is Instagram Still Beating Snapchat?
Snapchat is on the verge of reporting their second-ever round of quarterly earnings next week, and investors and tech pundits alike are closely watching the share price, which is still recovering from disappointing Q1 earnings results and dropped below its original offering value just a couple of weeks ago. July 29 also marked the end of the first lockup period, which prevented early employees and investors from selling their shares. Snapchat is facing rumors of sluggish user growth, dwindling interest from advertisers, and increasingly aggressive competition from Instagram. And so six months after the most-hyped tech IPO of the year, how is Snapchat doing? Verto Analytics took a look at user growth and engagement (among U.S.adults, ages 18 and older) for Snapchat and Instagram over the past two quarters.
Instagram Still Claims Nearly Triple The Users As Snapchat
When it comes to sheer user numbers, Verto Analytics data shows that Instagram still continues to hold a clear advantage, benefitting from its relationship with parent company Facebook (which recently surpassed two billion global users): Instagram still has nearly triple the number of monthly unique users as Snapchat: in June 2017, Instagram attracted 131.6 million users over the course of the month, while Snapchat claimed just 42.6 million. These user number ratios reflect a trend that we’ve seen since the beginning of the year.
Snapchat Has an Edge on User Engagement – For Now
User numbers don’t tell the whole story – especially for platforms that cater to advertisers and other monetization tactics that rely on loyal and engaged audiences in order to succeed. Instagram has been rolling out Snapchat copycat features almost as quickly as Snap can develop them, creating more reasons for consumers to use a given app and remain engaged. But consumers appear to prefer the original, at least for the time being.
Based on the number of monthly sessions per user and the amount of time they spend with each app, Snapchat is clearly winning the user engagement, although Verto Analytics data shows that Snapchat’s lead is beginning to shrink: while consumers averaged 140 monthly sessions with Snapchat in January 2017, compared to Instagram’s 49 monthly sessions, that lead had closed by June 2017: Snapchat users averaged just 91 monthly sessions, while Instagram users averaged 45 monthly sessions. Similarly, the amount of time that users spend on Snapchat per month has dropped quickly, from a high of nearly five hours in January 2017 to just under three hours in June 2017. In contrast, Instagram shows far more consistent metrics: since the beginning of the year, users have spent an average of around two hours per month on Instagram. Snapchat’s lead is further confirmed by its stickiness index (how Verto measures user engagement by comparing monthly users to daily users), Snapchat’s stickiness has held close to around 45% between January-June 2017, compared to Instagram’s average of about 30%.
Although Snapchat seems to have an edge on user engagement, Verto data shows that lead may be declining. And with Instagram seemingly in full copycat mode when it comes to features and new tools (not to mention Facebook’s rumored video chat device), Snapchat may be left fighting a battle on two fronts: user numbers as well as user engagement.