Technology

The Snapchat Monetization Problem

The Snapchat Monetization Problem by Jeff Desjardins, Visual Capitalist

There’s no doubt that messaging app Snapchat is on the brink of something huge.

The user metrics continue to impress, and the app just recently passed Twitter with 150 million daily active users. Snapchat has also vaulted past Instagram in time spent by users, making it the second-most used app by iPhone users, trailing only Facebook.

With a median user age of 18, Snapchat’s business premise is that it allows marketers to tap into the mysterious Millennial and Gen Z audiences that continue to perplex many brands. However, the jury is out on whether the app is delivering on this promise.

There’s now more than $2.65 billion of venture capital at stake that depends on solving the Snapchat monetization problem.

The Snapchat Monetization Problem

Today’s infographic shows the results from a survey of Snapchat users by NewsCred, a content marketing platform. The data paints a picture of Snapchat as an app that engages users, while whiffing on the branded content it needs to generate revenue.

The Snapchat Monetization Problem

Courtesy of: NewsCred

In other words, if Snapchat is counting on advertising as its main monetization driver, it is going to need to get more users engaging with branded content. Then, Snapchat must able to prove that to advertisers through targeting, analytics, and other useful metrics.

Snapchat is Getting Serious

In the first half of 2016, Snapchat raised $1.8 billion in its Series F round at a flat valuation of $16 billion.

This says two things.

First, with an estimated $59 million in revenue in 2015, investors are worried about the Snapchat monetization problem. Otherwise, the company’s valuation would have risen from the previous Series E which took place over a year prior.

Second, this war chest of new capital is going to be used to pounce on revenue opportunities, as well as providing better analytics to advertisers.

To the latter point, Snapchat is now making major moves to deliver on the revenue front. The company recently poached a key ad exec from Facebook. The app also launched a revamped Snapchat Discover portal that allows major publishers like Cosmopolitan or BuzzFeed to get in on the action to share ad revenue. Snapchat is also finally getting serious about metrics, and that’s why the company signed with Nielsen to start measuring the performance of ads like a television network would.

Will Snapchat’s revenues ever measure up to its user growth and marketing promise to advertisers? For now, the Snapchat monetization challenge remains, and investors are divided on the company’s future prospects.