We’ve written several times about Snapchat. All in all, we thought Instagram’s introduction of Instagram Stories meant the end of Snapchat’s growth, and that its $25bn valuation is not sustainable without no growth prospects internationally. Today, we want to show you some evidence of Snapchat beginning to lose ground in face of competition Facebook’s Instagram. It seems that the downward trend began in the US, and is beginning to spread over to other countries where Snapchat has been quite popular. People thought Snapchat was a platform. However, if this trend continues for the near future, it mean that Snapchat was merely a feature that could be easily integrated & cannibalised by a bigger platform.
Exploring Apple App Store Download Ranking Trends
2016 was the year of Snapchat. It held the #1 position as the most downloaded Photo & Video mobile app in the US, and grew its user base from 110mn Daily Activer users in 2015 to 150mn by June of 2016. In fact, Snapchat was so dominant that it lost the #1 spot on the Apple App Store only 12 times between February and July of 2016. As you can see in the below chart, that all changed in August when Instagram introduced its Snapchat-like feature “Stories.”
The correlation between Instagram’s rise in rankings and Snapchat’s decline is crystal clear, and has been becoming more clear recently. While Instagram has been #1 Photo and Video app in the US only 3 times from February to July of 2016, 14 times between November 2016 and 23 January 2017. Lately, it has held on to the top spot for 6 consecutive days, which has not happened since a year ago.
Although Snapchat still takes the #1 spot in the app store more frequently than Instagram, this is significant because the app store ranking takes into accounts a variety factors including downloads, updates, engagement and uninstalls. Given that the US is a relatively saturated market, the fact that Instagram is starting to overtake Snapchat’s ranking frequently could suggest that users are opening Snapchat less frequently in favor of Instagram Stories. The fact that this trend is accelerating towards the end of 2016 suggests that Instagram’s introduction of features like emojis and stickers have helped lure users and their time away from Snapchat.
Trend Is Spreading Internationally
Instagram isn’t just winning in the US. The overall trend that we mentioned is happening in other developed markets where Snapchat has been popular. As you can see below, in markets like Canada, UK Mexico and France, Instagram had been consistently below Snapchat in terms of the app store ranking for most of 2016. However, towards the end of 2016, we began to see Instagram suddenly ranking higher than Snapchat. It’s not even worth mentioning other markets like Asia because Instagram and Snow have been dominating the photo-social markets in those regions.
$25bn Valuation & IPO
Snapchat’s valuation has more than doubled from $10bn in 2014 to $25bn in 2016. Now, Snap is in the process of preparing for an initial public offering at an undetermined valuation. What’s for sure is that growth is an essential component needed to sustain or even increase such a valuation for a company that’s expected to make about only $1bn in revenue in 2017. However, download ranking data is suggesting that growth is beginning to fade at Snapchat, and that’s a terribly worrying sign for the company. For an app that popular, decline in ranking likely means decline in user base.
On the other hand, this is a great sign for Facebook. For a long time, investors have been concerned about the rising popularity of Snapchat, that Snapchat could eventually overtake Facebook as the new cool app for teenagers. However, our finding suggests that what Snapchat stood for, i.e. ephemeral photo & video sharing, might have been more of a feature than a platform. As soon as Facebook introduced Instagram Stories, they’ve been successful in attracting users & thwarting Snapchat’s advance on its territory. Investors in Facebook should be very happy with this development.
On the other hand, there are striking parallels between Twitter and Snapchat. Twitter was the best source of getting live news from all over the world; however, as Facebook integrated a similar feature onto its platform, Twitter’s user growth faltered. Twitter also IPO’ed around the same valuation that Snapchat currently has, with a similar level of revenue as well. Twitter’s user base has stalled around 300mn monthly active users for quite some time, and Snapchat’s last reported numbers as of June 2015 are around the same neighborhood as well. Meanwhile, Instagram’s user growth has accelerated, adding 100mn users in 6 months to 600mn monthly active users by Dec 2016; previously, it took them 9 months to add 100mn users to the platform.
If you are an investor who is looking forward to the highly anticipated IPO of Snapchat, we hope you take a deep look into this issue and make a careful decision.
The article Snapchat’s Download Ranking Declines while Instagram’s Rises Globally originally appeared on ValuePenguin.
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