Snap is raking in the cheddar, just saw best user growth in four years

Was it pandemic sexting?

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 04: A guest wears a Snapchat backpack at Skylight Clarkson Sq outside the Jo...
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Snap saw massive growth in its user numbers in the second quarter of 2021, adding more than 13 million daily users to grow 23 percent over the same time last year. It also nearly doubled revenue, growing from $454 million the same time last year to $982 million today. The company still lost $100 million, but that’s typical for a tech company investing heavily in new products.

People were once predicting that Snap was on its final legs. But daily active users now top 293 million, and the continued growth proves that Snap has been able to defy the odds to overcome encroachments from larger competitors Facebook and TikTok. The company, of course, remains much smaller than the former, which tried to acquire Snap in 2013 for $1 billion.

In hindsight, it was a great decision for CEO Evan Spiegel to turn down that offer. And while Snap’s growth has been good, some still believe it would be larger had Facebook not cloned its core functionality — posts that disappear after 24 hours — into Instagram. That app has over one billion users worldwide.

Innovator — Snap has been helped in large part thanks to the idiosyncratic nature of Spiegel, who has shown a strong ability to consistently innovate with unique ideas — Snapchat was the first to incorporate filters — and buck trends in tech, like collecting user data to target advertisements or allow news organizations to post any content without vetting. Snap does neither of those things, and has maintained its app as an ideal home for Gen Z-ers to have intimate interactions with their friends. The unique nature of Snap might also be a hindrance, though, because it’s complicated to use.

The company hasn’t totally ignored competitors to go its own way, either. The company has been paying popular influencers to continue posting on its platform, and released a section in its app called Spotlight where users can submit their own TikTok-like clips to be shown to other users. Apparently Spotlight grew 49 percent in the second quarter, though Snap offers no concrete user numbers there so that number is kind of meaningless.

AR — Snap was early into the augmented reality game with filters, and back in May it unveiled its first pair of Spectacles glasses that take advantage of AR. They’re being released to developers first, who Snap hopes will make unique experiences that someday tie into the Snapchat app, creating unique experiences users can share with their friends.

So long as Snap can continue to innovate, the days of predicting its demise are probably over.