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Snapchat and Twitter 2018

Many Challenges, but a Few Things Advertisers Still Like

About This Report
Usage and ad revenues have taken hits in recent months, but both companies are moving forward with new ad products—and they offer unique features that are causing some marketers to give them a second look.
Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Snapchat and Twitter are very different properties, but they share one thing in common: Both remain in the shadow of Facebook and Instagram. Even though they have far fewer users, solid ad opportunities on each platform are available, and both are managing to produce revenue gains despite their challenges.

How many people use Snapchat?

Snapchat's growth will be up 7.1% from last year, with a total of 84.8 million monthly users in the US. Its grip on teens and young adults, along with its creative ad offerings, continue to be its strongest features. Snapchat has also been able to avoid most of the negative attention that Facebook and Twitter have received over fake news, election meddling and other controversies.

How many people are using Twitter?

Twitter’s user base will reach 55.2 million in the US this year, up just 0.9% from last year. It remains home to discussions of news and real-time events, but it has also become a tool for those who want to stir up negative sentiment. That, along with longstanding user interface challenges, has made engagement and time spent lag.

How much ad revenue will Snapchat have this year?

Snapchat is aggressively adding new ad products, with a focus on augmented reality and direct response. However, we have lowered our 2018 US ad revenues expectations by 36% since our last forecast in February 2018. This is, in part, because the move to a programmatic auction has reduced ad prices. We expect Snapchat to have $662 million in US ad revenues this year.

How much ad revenue will Twitter have this year?

Twitter’s pace of ad product development has slowed, but video has emerged as a somewhat surprising bright spot. We believe US ad revenues will fall 1.9% this year, to $1.15 billion. That’s not great, but it’s an improvement from the 4.9% falloff we had forecast in February.

How do Snapchat’s and Twitter’s audiences compare to that of Facebook?

Snapchat’s audience is half as big as Facebook’s, while Twitter’s is one-third the size.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report updates our forecasts for Snapchat and Twitter and dissects their strengths and weaknesses relative to Facebook and Instagram.

Here’s what’s in the full report


Exportable files for easy reading, analysis and sharing.


Reliable data in simple displays for presentations and quick decision making.

15expert perspectives

Insights from industry and company leaders.

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Who’s on Snapchat and Twitter?
  3. Ad Products: Snapchat Catches Up, Twitter Slows Down
  4. Ad Revenues Lag
  1. Despite Challenges, Advertisers Still Find Things to Like
  2. Key Takeaways
  3. Insider Intelligence Interviews
  4. Read Next
  1. Sources
  2. Media Gallery

Charts in This Report

Interviewed for This Report

Nancy Inouye
Toyota Motor North America
National Media Manager
Interviewed August 30, 2018
Simon Lejeune
Head of User Acquisition
Interviewed September 5, 2018
Arielle Vogelstein
Growth Principal
Interviewed September 11, 2018
Lindsey Andrews
Minibar Delivery
Interviewed August 28, 2018
Liz Cole
Vice President and Group Director, Social Strategy
Interviewed August 27, 2018
PK Creedon
Associate Director, Paid Social
Interviewed August 27, 2018
Bruce Falck
General Manager, Revenue Product
Interviewed August 8, 2018
Nick Holt
Boost Mobile
Creative Director
Interviewed August 30, 2018
Nicole Lowry
Beauty Brands
Senior Director, Marketing
Interviewed June 29, 2018
Katy Lucey
Elite SEM
Senior Manager, Paid Social
Interviewed August 30, 2018
Jessica Prassel
Mindshare North America
Director, Search and Social
Interviewed August 27, 2018
Peter Sellis
Snap Inc.
Director of Product, Revenue
Interviewed June 4, 2018
David Smith
Senior Director, Business Development and Partnerships
Interviewed September 4, 2018
Alex Stone
Horizon Media
Vice President, Digital Investment
Interviewed September 5, 2018
Ian Yung
Touch of Modern
Senior Director of Business Development
Interviewed September 5, 2018


Debra Aho Williamson


Tricia Carr
Managing Editor, Interviews
Natalie McGranahan
Senior Researcher and Taxonomy Manager
Monica Peart
Senior Director, Forecasting
Victoria Petrock
Principal Analyst
Martín Utreras
VP, Forecasting
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