Snapchat Falling Behind Rivals In User Numbers

In its earnings report for the third quarter, Snapchat revealed that the number of daily across users on its platform had reached 178 million. This contrasted with the number of daily active users of the Stories feature on Instagram and WhatsApp who had reached 300 million on each platform. Considering that Snap pioneered the feature this was another indication that the disappearing-message platform is losing ground to rivals.

With regards to the number of daily active users across the Instagram platform and not just those using Stories, the figure was 500 million. WhatsApp on the other hand has exceeded a billion. As for the earnings Snap reported a quarterly net loss amounting to $443 million. This was a loss per share of 14 cents and it included a write-down of $40 million that was related to purchase-commitment cancellations of its Spectacles hardware.

User growth

Snapchat’s user growth also fell during the quarter with the quarter seeing an increase of 3% from a similar quarter a year ago compared to 4% growth in the previous quarter and 5% growth in Q1.

To reverse the slowdown in user growth Snap might have to appeal to other demographics besides its core base of young people. The chief executive officer of the disappearing message company, Evan Spiegel, indicated in an earnings call that the social media firm would be redesigning its app in order to appeal to a wider demographic by making it easier to use. The redesigned app will be rolled out in the first week of December.

Snap’s dispiriting news coincide with Chinese tech firm Tencent increased its shareholding of Snap Inc by acquiring 145.8 million more shares expanding its stake to 12%.

Gaming business

“When we look at Snap’s business we continue to feel there’s a lot of engagement with the end users. That’s why we have taken up more shares and tried to establish a closer relationship,” Tencent’s executive director and president, Martin Lau, said in an earnings call with analysts.

According to reports Tencent intends to be actively engaged in deciding strategies that Snap ought to pursue. With Tencent having some of the most profitable ventures in gaming, it is understood that the Chinese firm will partner with Snapchat in publishing mobile games. Some of Tencent’s properties in gaming include Supercell which develops Clash of Clans and Riot Games which develops League of Legends. Tencent also owns Arena of Valor, a Chinese mobile game with more than 55 million daily active players, and which will be made available on Nintendo Switch next year.

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