Technology StocksSnap, Inc.

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From: Glenn Petersen5/9/2017 4:15:12 PM
   of 56
Snapchat users stay loyal, but Instagram could block its growth

by Josh Constine ( @joshconstine)
May 9, 2017

U.S. millennials and Gen Zs aren’t entirely replacing their Snapchat addiction with Instagram Stories, according to a dozen studies and surveys commissioned or collected by TechCrunch.

Yet the fact that 80 percent of Instagram’s users are outside the U.S. has helped propel Instagram Stories’ rapid ascent to 200 million daily active users last month, surpassing Snapchat’s 158 million users from Q4 2016. That could make it tough for Snapchat to significantly reverse its declining user growth rate as teens around the world who aren’t already on it may get their storytelling needs met on Instagram.

Facebook’s family of apps has failed to strike a fatal blow to Snapchat, but could still hinder its user growth, forcing Snap to focus on increasing time spent in its app and average revenue per user to expand its business.

Weathering the Instagram storm

Facebook launched the first shots of its all-out war on Snapchat in August, when Instagram prominently added a new feature above its feed. Instagram Stories is an exact clone of Snapchat’s 24-hour ephemeral slideshow Stories feature. At the time, we predicted that Snapchat loyalists would hold firm, but Instagram Stories’ convenient design in an already popular app and the existing social graph people had built there could make it good enough to deter new users from joining Snapchat.

In January, we issued our report that analytics companies and social media celebrities had seen a significant drop in Snapchat Stories views due to the launch of Instagram Stories and the removal of Snapchat’s auto-advance feature that automatically chains together friends’ Stories. It seemed likely that the competition and product change would lead to a decline in Snapchat growth rate.

A week later, when Snap Inc. filed to IPO, we learned that Snapchat’s growth rate had declined 82 percent since the launch of Instagram Stories. It gained just 5 million users in Q4 2016, to hit 158 million users.

Clearly Instagram was having an impact on Snapchat’s future, but the question was whether it would significantly rob Snap of its core U.S. millennial user base. That’s what we sought to determine with today’s collection of data sources.

Snapchat stumblesData suggests that Instagram has caused a decrease in usage of Snapchat, but that the startup is far from dead.

Analytics firm SimilarWeb found that the percentage of all Android devices with Snapchat installed peaked at 25.29 percent in October, shortly after Instagram Stories launched in August. That percentage has declined slightly, to around 23.5 percent.

The percent of U.S. Android users who are daily active Snapchat users peaked in May 2016 before Instagram Stories launched, and has declined roughly 11 percent since then. Snapchat has managed to increase time spent on its app 7 minutes, or 45 percent, over the past 18 months. But its swift growth rate turned into a decline after Instagram Stories launched, sinking from roughly 22 minutes before to a low of 19 minutes and 27 second after. Snapchat is now growing again and is currently at roughly 24 minutes.

Data company 7Park found that the number of Snapchat user sessions declined significantly among users who started using Instagram Stories. It also found the number of daily active Snapchat users declined faster amongst Instagram Stories users, according to the 14,000 people it studied. The launch of Facebook Messenger Day did not have the same impact on Snapchat.

Marketing analytics platform Captiv8 sees 57% of social media influencers posting more on Instagram than on Snapchat each day. Snap saw more influencer posts in the beauty and traditional celebrity categories, while Instagram was more popular amongst comedy and lifestyle influencers.

Analytics firm Jumpshot found that the launch of Instagram Stories did not noticeably impact the share of email signups between Instagram and Snapchat at first, with Snapchat holding steady at around 76 percent. But as Instagram Stories gained steam by the end of 2016, Snapchat’s percentage shrank to 64 percent.

Media startup The Relish found Instagram Stories added to its overall impressions, reach goals and engagement. Meanwhile, it never saw major growth or engagement on Snapchat Stories, so the launch of Instagram’s version made it “a no-brainer to hold our efforts [on Snapchat] until we have more staff.”

Mobile video platform dubdub found that Instagram Stories generated an average of 35 percent more views for brands than Snapchat Stories. However, Snapchat had a deeper influence on millennials, and its sponsored lenses selfie filters “can generate millions of gamified interactions within 24h that can help shift brand awareness and purchase intent.”

eMarketer estimates that Snapchat’s revenue growth will decline significantly in 2017 and 2018. It grew 492 percent from 2015 to 2016 when it hit $340 million in ad revenue. Revenue is projected to hit $895.5 million in 2017 as the rate drops to 163.3 percent, and $1.7 billion in 2018 with the growth rate falling to 90 percent. Still, 90 percent is a solid growth rate, and the decline is to be expected as Snapchat’s business matures. eMarketer did find that Snapchat has a massive 83.4 percent penetration rate amongst 12 to 17-year-olds in the U.S.

This data suggests that Instagram has made a dent in Snapchat, slowing its growth and making it a second choice behind Instagram for some brands. But surveys of Snapchat loyalists show a strong preference for the cool startup over the Facebook acquisition.

Snapchat survivesMobile story game maker Episode surveyed 10,000 of its users who are mostly women age 13 to 25, and found that 69 percent say their Snapchat usage hasn’t declined at all since the launch of Instagram Stories, while 22 percent say their usage has declined slightly and only 9 percent say it’s significantly declined.

Analytics provider App Annie found that Snapchat hosts an exclusive audience that often can’t be reached by advertising on other platforms, as previously reported by Bloomberg. On any given day in the U.S., 35 percent of daily Snapchat users can’t be reached on Facebook, 46 percent can’t be reached on Instagram and 58 percent can’t be reached on Messenger.

Brand ambassador network Heartbeat surveyed 1,700 13 to 20-year-olds out of its 103,000 users; 74 percent said they still post more on Snapchat, 60 percent said they post to their Snapchat Story every day compared to just 18 percent on Instagram. However, they say they average 2.5X more views on Instagram Stories than Snapchat. Asked which of the two apps they’d take if they could only have one, 51 percent said Snapchat while 49 percent said Instagram. Seventy-seven percent said ads were more relevant on Instagram, but only 19 percent thought their Snapchat Stories views have declined since the launch of Instagram.

Heartbeat’s founder Kate Edwards tells me “we have seen a significant decrease in the number of brands inquiring about Snapchat campaigns, and while we do run Snapchat campaigns for some brands, we almost always recommend that they do Instagram and Instagram Stories campaigns instead, simply because the tracking is much more robust.” She concludes that “Honestly, we think Snapchat is losing out on a number of potential revenue opportunities out there, if we’re any example, simply because they don’t understand the value of data to brands and the businesses who are advising them on how they allocate their media spends.”

Consumer insights platform Whatsgoodly surveyed 1,991 millennials in April and 1,106 in November. It found that Snapchat was overwhelmingly preferred over Instagram Stories, but the percentage that picked it fell from 88 percent in November to 78 percent in April.

Mobile ad company Kiip surveyed 10,000 users; 37 percent said their use of Snapchat declined since the launch of Instagram Stories, and 59.6 percent said they preferred Instagram Stories over Snapchat Stories. However, when asked which feature of Stories they find most important, Snapchat’s animated selfie filters were most popular, with 38.2 percent, followed by Instagram’s Live broadcasting feature with 31 percent.

They surveys indicate that millennials and Generation Z millennials may still be staying loyal to Snapchat. They might have a larger network on Instagram, and they might already be using Instagram’s permanent feed. But these early adopters of Snapchat developed an ingrained behavior of opening and posting to it daily.

As Snap Inc reports its first earnings results after going public, expect it to highlight metrics that show off this loyalty, like minutes spent per day, video views, revenue per user, and percentage of users who post to Stories — anything other than DAU that might look weaker.

While people new to the Stories format might find Instagram more convenient, Instagram hasn’t created a compelling enough reason for die-hard Snapchatters to switch.

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From: Glenn Petersen5/10/2017 3:10:59 PM
   of 56
An earnings preview:

Snap's first earnings to shed light on battle with Facebook, Twitter

Wed May 10, 2017 | 12:29pm EDT

FILE PHOTO: The logo of messaging app Snapchat is seen at a booth at TechFair LA, a technology job fair, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

NEW YORK Snap Inc ( SNAP.N) has many similarities with archrivals Facebook Inc ( FB.O) and Twitter Inc ( TWTR.N), but shareholders are eager to avoid one in particular when the social media company reports earnings on Wednesday for the first time since its initial public offering: a plunging stock price.

Investors delivered a stern message of disappointment to Facebook and Twitter when they posted debut quarterly scorecards following their IPOs. Twitter shares cratered 24 percent the following day, while Facebook's tumbled 11 percent, drops that stand to this day as the biggest one-day losses for both.

While Facebook's shares recovered from the drubbing within two quarters and trade at nearly four times their $38 IPO price, Twitter’s shares never completely regained lost ground and currently trade down nearly a third from their $26 IPO price.

The options market is already positioned for a double-digit swing in Snap shares by the end of this week.

One key to Snap, the owner of the wildly popular Snapchat messaging app, dodging a similar reception from the market rests on whether its user growth and engagement measures meet investors' expectations as Facebook aggressively copies its most successful features.

The earnings report and subsequent conference call after the bell "will be make it or break it" for Snap, said Eric Kim, co-founder and managing partner at Goodwater Capital.

The stock, which started trading in March in the largest tech IPO since Facebook's in 2012, jumped 44 percent on its debut, but has since fallen 5.5 percent from that day's closing price. On Wednesday, the shares were down 1.11 percent to $23.06.


Wall Street expects Snap to post a quarterly loss of 19 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Analysts expect revenue of close to $158 million, roughly four times the $38.8 million figure from a year earlier, but down about 5 percent from $165.7 million for the fourth quarter of last year.

But investors will focus on Snapchat's user numbers and how the service is holding up against encroachments by rivals.

In recent months, Facebook has launched Facebook Stories, a near-identical clone of Snapchat's most popular feature, also called Stories. The feature lets users post a string of videos and photos that disappear after 24 hours and is also available on other Facebook services, including Instagram and WhatsApp.

"Much of the call should be around Stories as it represents the bulk of Snap's future value given the importance of video advertising to the company's relatively nascent business model," Goodwater's Kim said.

Facebook recently announced that Instagram Stories alone had reached 200 million daily active users (DAU), eclipsing Snapchat's year-end overall DAU count of around 161 million.

JPMorgan expects Snap's first-quarter DAU to grow to 169 million, while Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co Inc is targeting 173 million.

Snap still may have an edge over Facebook with its active user base aged between 18 and 34, many of whom visit more than 18 times a day and are a highly coveted group for advertisers.

"Our favorable outlook on Snap stems not only from the company's ability to innovate and cater to millennials in high value markets, but also capture publisher content and consumer mindshare as video consumption grows on digital," said James Cakmak, an analyst at Monness, Crespi.


Despite a modest rally in Snap shares in recent weeks, short sellers - who aim to make a profit by selling borrowed shares and buying them back at a lower price later - have not let up in placing bearish bets, according to Ihor Dusaniwsky, head of research at financial analytics firm S3 Partners.

"We saw $100 million worth of short selling in this past week, ahead of the earnings and Snap short interest stands at $946 million, which is the highest level since the IPO," he said.

Meanwhile, options market activity suggests a swing of about 13.5 percent in either direction by Friday, based on the price of certain options expiring this week.

"Snap's option activity was bullish last week, but the bears came out in greater force just two days before earnings," said David Russell, senior manager at online broker E*Trade in Chicago.

(Additional Reporting by Noel Randewich in San Francisco; Editing by Dan Burns and Bill Rigby)

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From: Glenn Petersen5/10/2017 5:21:31 PM
   of 56
Snap shares are getting hammered in AH trading.

Snap stock is tanking after its first-ever earnings report missed expectations

Snap finished March with 166 million daily active users.

by Kurt Wagner and Rani Molla
May 10, 2017, 4:43pm EDT

Drew Angerer / Getty

Snap reported earnings for the first time today, and Wall Street isn’t happy. Shares are down more than 20 percent in after-hours trading.

The company, which makes the popular messaging app Snapchat, reported first-quarter revenue of $149.6 million. That’s up significantly from the $39 million Snap brought in during the same quarter last year, though it’s lower than Wall Street was expecting; analysts were hoping the company would generate $158 million this past quarter, nearly quadruple its Q1 revenue from a year ago.

Snap also reported a net loss of more than $2.2 billion for the quarter, $2 billion of which it attributed to “stock-based compensation ... related to RSUs with a performance condition” tied to its recent IPO.

Snapchat’s user base did grow by eight million in the first three months of 2017, and the company now has 166 million daily users. One analyst, RBC Capital’s Mark Mahaney, pegged Snapchat’s projected user base at 165 million. (Instagram, for comparison, has 400 million DAU.

Snapchat’s user growth was one of the key metrics for the company. That growth slowed in the back half of 2016, thanks in part to increased competition from Facebook, which has seemingly made it a top priority to squash Snapchat into oblivion by copying its best features.

There was concern that Facebook was indeed stunting Snapchat’s growth. The company is not growing at the rate it was in the first half of 2016, but it did add more users in Q1 than it did in Q4.

There’s also a cost item that’s eye-popping: $1.9 billion in stock-based compensation, which the filing explains as “the recognition of expense related to RSUs with a performance condition satisfied on the effectiveness of the registration statement for our initial public offering.”

We’ve asked about the expense, but it’s likely related to the bonus stock CEO Evan Spiegel was granted as an incentive for taking the company public. But even that wouldn’t fully account for the high sum. Update: On the earnings call, the company confirmed the expense was primarily related to Spiegel’s bonus, which it vested earlier than originally planned.

Snap’s earnings release was very simple, with just a few bullet points. The company will hold a call with analysts and investors at 4:30 pm ET to provide some more context, and we’ll be listening in and liveblogging the event — click here.

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (27)5/13/2017 1:26:46 PM
From: Intelim
   of 56
This was a matter of time. Snap can might become Twitter than Twitter itself did.

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From: Intelim5/27/2017 5:06:33 PM
   of 56
With Snapchat’s new 5-minute shows, it’s starting to look a lot like a TV network

Gotta try to stay relevant, amirite?

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From: Intelim5/30/2017 4:07:16 PM
   of 56
Why Snapchat Marketing Stinks Big Time

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From: Glenn Petersen6/9/2017 1:21:46 AM
1 Recommendation   of 56
Snap Is Year's Most-Shorted Tech IPO Before Lockup Ends

by Alex Barinka and Sarah Frier
June 8, 2017

-- Short interest in Snapchat parent rises to 28% of free float

-- Facebook faced half as much shorting at same point after IPO

Snap Inc. is the most-shorted tech initial public offering of the year, with a growing number of traders betting the stock will fall.

Investors are skeptical that the company, which owns the Snapchat photo-sharing app, can grow quickly enough to justify its valuation -- now at about $22 billion -- given aggressive competition from Facebook Inc., which has been copying some of Snapchat’s features. That’s helped drive short interest in Snap up to 28 percent of the free float, or shares available to be traded publicly, according to data from Markit Group Ltd. The increase comes before the first lockup expiration on the shares -- on July 30 -- when certain stakeholders and executives will be free to unload their positions for the first time since the March 1 IPO.

The stock fell 3.6 percent to $18.85 at Thursday’s close in New York. Earlier, the shares dropped as much as 7.1 percent for the biggest intraday decline since May 11, the day after Snap’s earnings report showed the company missed user growth and sales estimates. The shares sold for $17 apiece when the company went public in March.

“It looks like short sellers are positioning themselves for a dramatic selloff in Snap’s stock price after the lockups expire,” Anthony DiClemente, an analyst at Nomura Instinet, wrote in a research note on Wednesday.

An investor successfully shorts a stock by borrowing a number of shares from a broker, paying the broker a stock-loan fee and interest for the loan, and then selling the shares at the current share price. If the stock price declines, the investor then buys the same amount of stock at the lower price, returns the shares to the broker and pockets the difference.

DiClemente noted that there are more than $1 billion in Snap shares sold short, and with so few shares left to borrow, the cost to finance short positions has risen to 37 percent, compared with a 1 percent fee in May. The harder it is for brokers to get their hands on shares available to be lent out, the more the stock-loan fee typically increases.

Though the shares were up about 11 percent since the IPO at Thursday’s close, the percentage of Snapchat sold short as of Wednesday was about double Facebook’s short interest at the same point -- 68 completed trading days -- after it debuted as a public company. At the time, Facebook was facing serious doubts about its ability to make money from mobile advertising, causing the stock to lose half its value in the first six months of trading.

Facebook has since recovered as it mastered mobile ads, and as revenue has surged its stock has more than quadrupled since the IPO. Twitter Inc., which went public in 2013, had short interest of 40 percent at the same number of days after its IPO, and its shares remain about 32 percent below their initial price.

Snap’s stock has the highest short interest of the 14 technology and communications companies that have listed in the U.S. this year. It’s trailed by Carvana Co., at 22 percent of its free float, and Yext Inc. at 19 percent, according to Markit.

While investors can use short interest and options trading as a hedge to mitigate risk on long positions, Snap’s trading is overwhelmingly bearish. The top nine most-owned options are all puts -- or contracts that can be exercised if the stock falls below the exercise price.

The January 2018 $15 put options, with an exercise price 23 percent below Wednesday’s $19.56 close, had the highest open interest, which is the number of contracts outstanding, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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From: Sr K6/17/2017 8:54:59 AM
   of 56
on the Russell rebalance following the close June 23:

Tech to see bump in growth weighting in Russell rejig



One widely-followed stock that will not be joining a Russell index yet is Snap Inc. Due to the company's unusual share structure, Russell is withholding a decision until after the rebalance until an analysis and comment period from the investment community is completed.

"We need to look at it because there is a potentially a trend for these types of offerings, particularly technology companies," said Mat Lystra, senior research analyst at FTSE Russell in Seattle.

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From: Glenn Petersen7/10/2017 4:25:59 PM
   of 56
Snap closes below $17 IPO price amid fears insiders will dump shares

  • The IPO was 12 times oversubscribed, sources told CNBC in March.
  • But shares have tumbled from their March 3 high.
  • At the end of the month, insiders can begin selling their shares.
Anita Balakrishnan | @MsABalakrishnan
10 Mins Ago

Lucas Jackson | Reuters
Snap cofounders Evan Spiegel (R) and Bobby Murphy walk to ring the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange shortly before the company's IPO in New York, March 2, 2017.

Shares of Snap fell below their IPO price on Monday, just ahead of a crucial period for the social media stock.

Snap shares dipped to a low of $16.95, closing at $16.99, just below the $17 price of the March public offering.

The IPO was 12 times oversubscribed at the time, sources told CNBC. But since then, shares have tumbled from their March 3 high of $29.44.

Snap, which makes ephemeral messaging app Snapchat, is about to see the end of its lock-up period. When that period hits at the end of the month, insiders can begin selling their shares.

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn fell an average of 24 percent in the 30 days ahead of their lockup expirations, according to MKM Partners. Snap shares have fallen nearly 19 percent in the past three months, and about 6 percent over the past month.

— CNBC's Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.

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From: Glenn Petersen7/15/2017 9:18:46 AM
1 Recommendation   of 56
Snap had acquisition talks with AdRoll and is actively shopping for ad tech startups

Alexei Oreskovic and Alex Heath
Business Insider
July 14, 2017

Snap Chief Strategy Officer Imran Khan is responsible for growing the company's fledgling ad business.Reuters

Snapchat is shopping for ad tech companies to help bolster its appeal to marketers, a process that led the company to have acquisition talks with AdRoll, Business Insider has learned.

Snapchat's main targets are startups in the marketing tech and ad tech sectors, as the social network owned by parent company Snap Inc. seeks to grow its ad business and allay investor concerns that have punished its stock price.

"They're looking for some business, or a set of businesses, that can help them demonstrate the efficacy of their ads," a person familiar with the matter told BI. Snap acquired Placed for reportedly over $200 million in June to give it access to third-party measurement on tracking real-world purchases and store visits.

Discussions with San Francisco-based AdRoll began shortly before Snap's March IPO and continued after. Although there were multiple meetings between the two companies, an offer price was never put on the table and AdRoll is currently in more serious discussions with several other bidders, the person said.

A Snap spokesperson declined to comment for this story. AdRoll didn't respond to multiple requests for comment on Friday.

AdRoll has raised roughly $91 million in venture capital funding to date and claims to be the most widely-used independent programmatic advertising platform, with more than 35,000 customers. The company is borderline profitable and on pace to do over $300 million in revenue this year, another person familiar with its business said.

Feeling the pressureBuying AdRoll would give Snap a deeper foothold in ad targeting and campaign management along with e-commerce expertise, a third ad industry insider told BI.

"Snapchat buying AdRoll would be somewhat analogous to Google buying DoubleClick," the person said, referencing Google's blockbuster $3.1 billion purchase from 2007 that signaled its push into online advertising beyond its own scope.

Although incredibly popular with younger users, Snap is under pressure to convince advertisers that its ads can deliver, especially compared to proven rivals like Facebook and Google.

Snap's stock sank below its $17 initial public offering price this week, as a series of Wall Street analysts downgraded the stock due to Snap's slower-than-expected growth and fierce competition from Facebook-owned Instagram.

"We have been wrong about Snap's ability to innovate and improve its ad product this year (improving scalability, targeting, measurability, etc.) and user monetization as it works to move beyond 'experimental' ad budgets into larger branded and direct response ad allocations," Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak wrote in a note to clients earlier this week.

Although Snap's talks with AdRoll have not gotten serious enough to progress to an offer, Snap is actively looking at other firms in the broad and increasingly overlapping field of advertising and marketing technology. Another name that has been bandied about as being on Snap's radar is Segment, a customer data tracking tool for marketers, although it could not be learned if the two companies have had deal talks.

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