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Snapchat Rises to 319 Million Daily Users, Posts Strong Revenue Result for Q4



Snapchat Rises to 319 Million Daily Users, Posts Strong Revenue Result for Q4

Snapchat added more users, while it also posted a strong revenue result for Q4, as it continues to establish its role as a key connective platform for younger audiences, in alternative to the larger social media players.

First off, on users – Snap added 13 million more daily active users in Q4, taking it up to 319 million overall.

As you can see from this chart, Snap’s overall audience has increased by 20% year-over-year, while it saw its most significant growth in the ‘Rest of the World’ segment, which rose by 10 million users.

Snapchat’s seen particularly good growth in India, as connectivity continues to evolve in the region, which could end up being a big winner for the app.

As a reminder, TikTok had over 200 million Indian users before it was banned in June 2020 due to an ongoing border dispute. Maybe now, Snap is taking up that mantle, and with its own, TikTok-like ‘Spotlight’ feature also gaining traction, that could see its audience continue to rise in the region, helping to boost its overall audience figures.

Indeed, Snapchat also reports that the number of Spotlight viewers going on to subscribe to a Creator more than doubled quarter-over-quarter, a positive sign for the function, while it’s also served as a key tool for promoting Snap’s AR functionality, with over 65% of Spotlight submissions now utilizing one of Snapchat’s AR Lenses or other creative tools.

In this sense, Spotlight is not only working as a TikTok alternative within the app, but also as a means to promote Snap’s broader offerings, which is a big plus in helping to further solidify in-app engagement.

On the revenue front, Snapchat brought in $1.3 billion in revenue in Q4, rising 42% year-over-year.

Snapchat Q4 2021

There are positive signs all round here – and while its revenue per user numbers in the ‘Rest of the World’ category only jumped slightly over the previous Q4 numbers, Snap’s still increasing its revenue intake, in line with user growth.

Snapchat Q4 2021

These are strong signals for Snap’s ongoing business evolution, and its opportunities in new regions. Again, ideally, you would want to see Snap’s ‘Rest of the World’ ARPU up higher than this, but as it continues to add more users, the fact that such growth is not diluting its numbers reflects rising advertiser interest.

Which is also the focus of this chart, which Snap has additionally included as a reflection of its growing potential.

Snapchat Q4 2021

That’s a good summary of Snap’s evolving business focus. Once criticized for not focusing on business opportunities, and even dismissing potential growth in certain markets due to perceived lack of value, Snapchat has now matured a lot, and its structure and systems are more clearly aligned around building a sustainable business model, which offers opportunity both for user engagement and advertising reach.

A key element of this has been the development of its original Discover content, short-form, TV-like programming that aligns with the viewing habits of younger audiences. With younger viewers less inclined to sit through an entire 30 minute TV show – because they’ve grown up in a world where they can easily flip between inputs as soon as they lose interest –Discover content reflects a paradigm shift in traditional TV consumption, which has significant appeal to Snap’s audience.

As explained by Snap CEO Evan Spiegel:

“In Q4 2021, 25 different Discover partners each reached over 50 million unique Snapchatters globally. This captures a wide range of genres, from Universal Music’s Rebel Labs, to social publisher Jungle Creations’ lifestyle content, Team Whistle’s sports content, and Creator-driven Shows from Jellysmack. We are also introducing more locally relevant partners worldwide. We added more than 160 new channels in the quarter from Discover partners outside of the U.S. and onboarded new partners including Seven.One Entertainment Group in Germany and Canal+ in France.”

Just recently, Snap also announced new content partnerships with Disney, Viacom and NBCUniversal, reflecting ongoing publisher interest in Discover as a means to connect with younger audiences.

Thus far, that appears to be generating strong results, and if Snap can continue to lean into this behaviour, and cater to audience demand and interest, this will remain an important growth avenue for the app.

AR is also a key element of the broader Snap experience, with Snap noting that over 200 million users now engage with AR on Snapchat every day. Snap also reports that users ‘play’ with AR Lenses more than 6 billion times per day, and with the company also developing AR-enabled Spectacles, as the next stage of digital connection, Snap looks set to remain at the forefront of the AR shift moving forward, even as other companies look to muscle in.

Snap AR spectacles

Spiegel specifically notes that Snap ‘made significant progress’ with its Spectacles AR glasses in Q4, as it continues to push for a consumer release. I mean, they still look a little sci-fi for my liking (which is why Meta partnered with Ray Ban for its first-run at connected glasses), but a lot could change ahead of the product launch, and with its established production and distribution channels already in place, Snap does look set to be a key player in this race, even up against the virtually endless resources of Apple and Meta, which are also working to bring them to market.

Snap’s big hope on this front lies in partnering with AR creators from the beginning, with a range of experts around the world already developing new experiences for Snap’s AR Spectacles.

“Hundreds of Creators from 30 countries have now developed AR Lenses for Spectacles, overlaying computing on the world in an immersive and interactive way. We have continued to make software improvements and offer new capabilities for developers, including Connected Lenses, which link multiple Spectacles users to participate in the same AR experience together, and Location Triggers, which lets Creators customize Lenses to adapt as they visit specific locations.”

Maybe, be democratizing creation in this way, as opposed to keeping things in-house, Snap will be better placed to include more innovative, responsive AR features at launch, which could give it a leg up on the competition.

And while neither Snap nor Apple have mentioned it, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the two team up to take on Meta with a collaborative AR glasses project.

On another front, Snap’s infrastructure costs remain relatively high, as a percentage of its cost of revenue, due to its reliance on third-party cloud infrastructure, something that’s been problematic for the company in the past. That puts more pressure on Snap to bring in more ad dollars to offset rising costs related to increased usage.

And interestingly, Snap’s also noted a key shift in user behavior, in relation to how users are communicating in the app.

“In Q4 2021, the number of content viewers on Snapchat continued to grow at a significantly faster rate year-over-year than overall time spent watching content, as a decline in time spent watching Stories created by friends was offset by growth in time spent watching premium content in Discover as well as content in Spotlight. This is a continuation of the trend we have observed throughout the pandemic, and friend story posting and viewing per Daily Active User have not returned to pre-pandemic levels.”

More people watching content, but spending less time doing so, while viewing content created by friends is also falling. That could reflect the relative growth of short-form video content, but the reduced engagement among friends is something to keep tabs on moving forward, especially given Snap’s focus on more intimate connection.

Overall, it’s a good report card for Snap, with the numbers showing steady growth in key areas, and reflecting its focus on the right elements for its community. And if it can become a key connective platform in more emerging markets, Snap’s opportunities will continue to grow, facilitating more forms of connection in user communities.

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Twitter Blue Subscribers Can Now Post Tweets Up to 4,000 Characters Long



Twitter Blue Subscribers Can Now Post Tweets Up to 4,000 Characters Long

So, this is a thing…

Twitter has rolled out longer tweets to Twitter Blue subscribers in the US, with paying users now able to post tweets up to 4,000 characters in length.

If anyone needed or wanted that.

Longer tweets will be displayed in the main feed at standard length, with a ‘Show more…’ indicator pointing users to the remainder of the content.

Honestly, it’s sadly ironic that not even Twitter could come up with a good use of the extra characters in its example, but yes, Twitter Blue users – all 300,000 of them – will now be able to post super long rants about whatever they choose in the app.

As explained by Twitter:

“[Twitter Blue users] can also compose longer Tweets in a Quote Tweet or reply. Standard functionality like posting media, creating polls, and using hashtags still apply. Everyone will be able to read longer Tweets, but only Blue subscribers can create them.

I don’t know if anyone requested this, but Twitter 2.0 chief Elon Musk seems convinced that by enabling users to post long-form content, that will eventually open up new avenues to monetization, and will see more top voices posting more stuff to the app.

I mean, the recent Twitter Files are probably the best example – Elon’s hand-picked team of journalists have been trawling through Twitter’s archives to uncover accusations of corruption and Government meddling, all ended up posting their findings in ridiculously long tweet threads in the app.

It would make more sense to post them on a more long-form focused format, but Musk obviously wants all the attention on Twitter – and in instances like this, maybe having longer tweets could be valuable.

But I don’t know.

It also seems short-sighted to only provide this functionality to Twitter Blue users. As noted, only a small fraction of Twitter’s 250 milllion total user base is paying for a blue tick, and while Twitter is now expanding the offering into new markets, it’s hard to see it catching on in any real way.

That means that a lot of the most popular creators won’t even be able to use the option, which seems counterintuitive. But then again, Elon will probably look to add in a new monetization element, which you have to pay up to qualify for, which is probably his broader view for limiting access at this stage.

Who knows – maybe it ends up being amazing, and maybe it makes it way easier to post what would have been multi-tweet threads in a more engaging, interesting way in the app.

It’s different, for sure, very different from Twitter’s usual offering.

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Growth Stock Surges On Ad Fraud Discovery, Analyst Upgrade



Growth Stock Surges On Ad Fraud Discovery, Analyst Upgrade

Ad data and analytics provider DoubleVerify (DV) is building the right side of a cup base with a buy point of 32.53. The growth stock is today’s selection for IBD 50 Stocks to Watch.


DoubleVerify has a strong Composite Rating of 94 and a Relative Strength Rating of 89. Its stellar EPS Rating of 96 is even better.

Company sales grew 35% to $112.3 million in the third quarter while earnings per share of 6 cents grew 20% from the previous year.

On Jan. 10, analysts at Barclays upgraded the stock to overweight from equal weight with a price target of 29. Shares gapped up over 6% on the news, and the move helped the stock start its recovery from the January low.

Growth Stock Surges After Finding Fraud Scheme

DoubleVerify helps advertising companies that target users on video, mobile, and social media platforms. The company also has an analytics side that provides data on consumer engagement.

The digital media analytics platform ensures that ads reach their target customers in a safe way. This means that ads reach actual people with the right context. The software also has tools to adapt ads to different devices.

Its technology also seeks to address ad fraud. On Thursday, the company discovered “BeatSting,” the first large-scale ad-impression fraud scheme that targeted audio ads.

DV Fraud Lab first identified the fraud scheme in 2019, which is largely responsible for advertisers losing $20 million in several scams, according to reports. DoubleVerify was credited for unveiling the fraud. Shares last Thursday surged nearly 4% in strong volume.

Deals With Twitter, LinkedIn, Meta, Facebook

The company has partnered with leading social media and mobile platforms like LinkedIn and TikTok to improve ad impact and experience. DoubleVerify has a long-standing relationship with Facebook parent Meta Platforms (META). The social media platform faced a massive boycott in 2020 when several companies removed their ads due to concerns over their brand safety.

In June of last year, DoubleVerify brought features that will allow marketers to see where their ads appear in a user’s timeline. The feature uses artificial-intelligence tools to understand the context in which ads appear. The feature also enhanced brand safety  and attracted Twitter and other social media platforms to try it out. Nonetheless, marketers did not buy in entirely, according to reports, as Twitter’s ad revenue continued to struggle.

The growth stock ranks second in the specialty enterprise software group. The stock went public in April 2021. The New York-based company has locations in the U.S., U.K., Europe, Asia, Australia and South America.

Mutual funds own 39% of shares outstanding. That may not seem like much, but more funds have been picking up the growth stock over the past eight quarters, according to MarketSmith. The stock has an Accumulation/Distribution Rating of B-.

Exchange traded funds hold shares of DoubleVerify as well. The Invesco S&P Small Cap Information Technology ETF (PSCT) and the SPDR FactSet Innovative Technology ETF (XITK) own DV.

Please follow VRamakrishnan on Twitter @IBD_VRamakrishnan for more news on growth stocks.


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YouTube Will Now Enable Brands to Buy Specific Time Slots Around Major Events for Masthead Ads



YouTube Will Now Enable Brands to Buy Specific Time Slots Around Major Events for Masthead Ads

YouTube has added a new time targeting element to its Masthead Ads, which will enable brands to display their promotions in key times leading up to key events.

As explained by YouTube:

In a time of multiple screens and countless ways to stay entertained, it can be challenging to get your audience’s attention. But even with so much content available at any time, people are drawn to moments they can experience together: a new movie release, a big game, a product launch, a holiday. And these are key opportunities to connect with a brand. Marketers, you know this well: you center advertising campaigns around the tentpole moments most likely to inspire your audience, shift perceptions or influence a purchase decision.”

YouTube’s Cost-Per-Hour Masthead enables brands to own the most prominent placement in the app during the hour(s) leading up to, during or after priority moments.

For example:

“[During the recent World Cup], McDonald’s Brazil turned to the YouTube Cost-Per-Hour Masthead. Their strategy was savvy: reach anyone in Brazil who was watching YouTube an hour before the Brazil vs. Cameroon match and remind them to pick up McDonald’s before the game started. This perfectly timed execution delivered tens of millions of impressions at the very moment fans were preparing for the match.

It could be a good way to hook into key moments, and build momentum for your campaigns, while also establishing association with key events and subjects.

“Just a few weeks ago, Xiaomi, the leading smartphone manufacturer in India, prepared to launch their highly anticipated Redmi Note 12 series via YouTube livestream. To drive viewership, Xiaomi ran the Cost-Per-Hour Masthead during the event. Not only did this activation drive scaled awareness, it led to over 90,000 concurrent livestream views. The Redmi Note 12 went on to generate a record number of first-week sales, making it one of their most successful launches to date.

It’s an expansive, but potentially significant targeting option, which could hold appeal for big brands looking to make a big splash around major events and releases.

You can learn more about YouTube’s Cost-Per-Hour Masthead process here.

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