Older users are flocking to Snapchat

A recent ComScore survey revealed that seven-times the amount of users ages 35 and older now have the app, in comparison to just three years ago.

Snapchat is attracting more mature crowds.

The lifecycle of a popular social media tool goes something like this: Teens and early adopters pick it up, start using it and its popularity grows virally. The app eventually hits critical mass, brands take notice and start building their presence.

That’s around the time the platform’s makers realize that they should probably start figuring out a way to monetize this thing. Monetization brings the need for mass appeal, and mass appeal brings parents. That’s when the teens, who helped your social platform become famous, jump ship for greener pastures where their parents aren’t.

The good news for Snapchat is that it’s growing.

ComScore reports that 38 percent of smartphone users in between the ages of 25 and 34 are using the service. Surprisingly, 14 percent of smartphone users ages 35 and older are also on Snapchat, or at least have downloaded the app. The number of older users is up significantly from 2 percent just three years ago.

Though younger users might not be thrilled, social media companies don’t necessarily have to be cool to be profitable.

Facebook now plays host to grandmothers, and it still managed to pull a $3.7 billion profit last year. Snapchat is currently valued at $16 billion. With its partnerships with media companies in its “Discover” section, the platform has certainly grown its appeal to a wider audience that doesn’t just want to share disappearing pics and videos.

A recent Wall Street Journal article has the requisite quotes from teens talking about how “weird” it is to have their parents signing up for Snapchat.

From that article:

Snapchat may be less susceptible to a teen exodus than Facebook, however, because the communication it allows is more closed off, says Amanda Lenhart, a researcher at the Data and Society Research Institute in New York.

On Facebook, people mostly post photos and video to their broader group of friends, and they must manually delete the posts. Snapchat is centered around a camera, encouraging users to send disappearing photos and videos to one recipient at a time.

When parents first started infiltrating Facebook, teens began setting up multiple accounts—one where they were the model citizen and another where they felt free to express themselves.

Could that happen with Snapchat—or will younger users find a new platform to embrace? What do you think, Ragan readers?


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