Snapchat has long been described by many who don’t fully understand it as “that app where teenagers send pictures to one another that disappear after 10 seconds.” And while that thesis may have been true when Snapchat initially debuted, the app—and its audience—are growing up.
According to internal data from 2015, only 23% of Snapchat users are between 13-17, though that’s the demographic most tightly linked to the app in the mind of most.
But the fact that Snapchat is aging up shouldn’t surprise anyone. For starters, the teens that were early adopters in 2012 and 2013 are now either approaching or starting college, driving up the average user age with them. Their late-adopter peers, now eager to stay on top of the latest trend added to the trend, driving the percentage of users between 18 and 24 up to 37%.
And where the teens go, so do marketers, following them around to make sure that they, too, are trend savvy. As the marketers adopted it, so did the brands, networks, and media publishers they work with, bringing publications like NPR and brands like GE on a service not initially branded for conservative companies.
This influx from the working world drove up the percentage of users in the 25-34 age gap to 26%, and bumped the numbers for the 34-54 age group to 12%. As of the 2015 data, 2% of Snapchat users are above the age of 55.
Having three fourths of their audience between the ages of 18 to 54 makes Snapchat incredibly valuable to advertisers, which is evident by the ads served up in Stories or the brands participating in stories. This, coupled with the recent news of the VMAs being more watched on Snapchat than on linear—6.5 million views to Snapchat’s 21 million global unduplicated views—means that Snapchat’s efforts to age up are not only working, but may already be showing fruit.
As Snapchat’s audience gets older, they become more and more desirable. Earlier this summer, “Mr. Robot” decided to break the format of a Snapchat ad pod completely and embedded the first half of its season premiere on Buzzfeed’s Snapchat channel. This isn’t a show for your 13-17 set, but the premiere was viewed by the 18+ target demographic that was ready and willing to watch via Snapchat.
Will it always be this way? We wouldn’t be surprised to see Snapchat to push harder on their age gating, which would allow more beer and liquor advertisers to enter the fray. We also think you’ll start to see more automotive clients place bigger bets on the power of the app.
And this is the opportunity: Entertainment properties can and should embrace the fact that their audience is on Snapchat, whether they’re watching linear television or not. They’re still using the app, so embrace them. Program toward them, and give them a reason to to tune in to the Stories you want to tell.