- Snapchat's user engagement in advertising grew last month amid record highs in usage as the COVID-19 crisis forced people to stay at home. The photo-messaging app saw a 36% jump in install volume for app ads and a 19% gain in their swipe-up rate — key indicators of user response — in late March from a month earlier, per a blog post.
- Messages sent among "Best Friends" mostly drove usage to a record high, surpassing the seasonal peaks of Christmas and other major holidays, the company said without disclosing specific figures. Snapchat saw a 50% jump in time spent on video and voice calls in late March from a month earlier, while time spent playing with augmented reality features rose more than 25% for the period.
- Snap Games, the multiplayer gaming platform introduced last year, reached new highs in overall time spent, player count and use of in-game voice and chat features. Snapchat Shows also hit a record in the amount of time watching its video programming, per the blog post.
Snapchat's usage metrics help to confirm other reports indicating that the COVID-19 pandemic has driven a surge in social media activity. However, the record usage has become more difficult to monetize as many advertisers suspend or cancel their campaigns amid widespread store closures and a surge in layoffs. Social media companies including Facebook and Twitter have warned that their advertising sales have weakened even as they see record usage.
In addition to touting its usage metrics, Snapchat provided more insights into how people are using the platform to find information during the pandemic. More than 68 million Snapchat users worldwide — including more than 40% of U.S. Gen Z users — have seen content about COVID-19 in its app, according to the company. Financial sites and stock trading apps saw a jump in interest, indicating that users are looking at their investments amid the heightened economic certainty. That activity may create an opportunity for financial services companies to reach Snapchat users who are seeking advice on managing their money as the economy slumps.
While showcasing the usage metrics, parent company Snap also discussed efforts to help others during the pandemic, including donations to hospitals and schools. By building face shields for medical workers, the company is harnessing its manufacturing capabilities for a good cause. The demonstration of social responsibility may help to boost Snapchat's appeal among its audience of younger consumers who respond to cause-driven efforts. More than two-thirds of Gen Z think brands should help them achieve their goals in supporting social causes, per a study by PSFK.