Source: Reuters

Snapchat is predicted to overtake Tiktok as the fastest-growing social media platform this year. The app has been seeing steady growth, especially in the number of daily active users for close to 5 years now.

The Rise of Snapchat

According to a forecast by Insider Intelligence, Snapchat is expected to have a 13.4% YoY user growth in 2023, which will enable it to overtake TikTok whose growth is projected to be 12.7% this year. Notably, Insider Intelligence states that Snapchat’s reign will be short-lived as TikTok is bound to regain its position next year.

Regardless, this will be a massive feat for Snapchat which has long struggled with its growth due to competition from other applications. Upon its launch in 2011, Snapchat was marketed as the “new type of camera,” designed for sharing both photos and videos.

The fact that it has built-in filters and visual effects that users may use to spice up their “snaps” is what made it special. This aided the app in becoming popular and the app was doing well as it had found its niche in the social media space through its stories feature.

However, in August of 2016, Facebook which was already dominating the social media space copied the feature, reproduced it on Instagram, and was working to roll it out on Messenger, Whatsapp, and Facebook.

Considering how young the app still was in the market, this move curtailed its growth for a while. Since then, Snapchat has been struggling to build its user base and has seemingly gotten the hang of it.

Snapchat has been able to grow mostly due to the setup of its messaging feature. The app has an automated delete function which has attracted teenagers who intend to hide their online activity from their parents.

The app also has a fun, colorful, and light aura making it preferable to the younger demographic. As a result, by the eighth grade, the app had become a must for students, says Observer. Snapchat achieved a 90% adoption among 13 to 24-year-olds in nations including the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.

Despite being copied by Facebook, Snapchat has succeeded in attracting its own users which Facebook admitted is unable to capture. In research it conducted, Facebook said, “Overall, there’s no strong value prop for FB among YA.”

Snapchat’s appeal to Generation Z lies in its inherently private and intimate feel, aligning with their preferred mode of operating on social media. The platform caters to their desire for a more discreet and closed network, where they can share moments with select friends and maintain a sense of privacy.

Conversely, Facebook’s popularity among Millennials can be attributed to its more public nature, catering to their inclination to broadcast their lives and engage with a broader audience.

The Winning Formula

Among the factors that have propelled the app to constantly grow its user base is its innovation and continued improvement of the app. At the start, the app catered more to the iOS population than Android users, which affected its chance to compete with Facebook.

Through the years, however, the app has balanced its attention between the two user groups, and Android accounts for a majority of the growth of the app.

Snapchat has also been growing its offering to its users. Since its launch in 2011, the app has created over 101 different product features for its users. From stories, Spectacles, voice filters, and Bitmoji TV to Spotlight, Snap Map, and group video chats, it’s never a dull day on Snapchat.

Snapchat has also worked tirelessly to stay on top of new technologies such as Augmented Reality(AR) through its lenses which account for 250 million users daily. It has recently integrated AI through a ChatGPT-powered chatbot named ‘my AI’.

Just like ChatGPT, the chatbot can have personalized conversations with each user and has the ability to answer questions, and offer advice and assistance similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Snapchat: Demographics and Revenue

In terms of demographics, 39% of Snapchat’s users are aged between 18 and 24, a majority of whom are male, according to Statista. However, generally, the app has more female users who cater for 60% of the total.

Distribution of Snapchat users worldwide as of January 2023, by age and gender | Source: Statista


The photo app has gained popularity for use during travel or when users are on the move. In fact, according to a report by For Business, 34% of users reported that they frequented the app when out with friends, 19% when shopping, and 14% when at social events.

In Q1, Snapchat registered 383 million daily active users and also announced 750 million monthly active users in February. While this is meager compared to the 2.96 billion monthly active users Facebook registered the same month, the social media app is still doing better than the likes of Pinterest which reached 450 million around the same time.

Number of daily active Snapchat users from 1st quarter 2014 to 1st quarter 2023(in millions) | Source: Statista


The substantial user base on Snapchat has directly contributed to a significant boost in revenue. The competitive social media platform boasts multiple revenue streams, one of which includes its premium version, priced at $3.99 per month.

Meanwhile, the upgraded version provides users with various added benefits, such as the Story Rewatch Indicator, Custom App Icons, Themes, and Post View Emojis, enhancing the overall user experience and attracting a willing audience willing to pay for these additional features.

Snapchat is also a gem among marketers with the option to put up ads on stories or even create a customized filter for your brand. According to BusinessofApps, these personalized experiences coupled with the high user rate enabled Snapchat to generate $4.6 billion in revenue in 2022.

Snapchat experienced a remarkable 12% revenue increase compared to the previous year, achieving its highest-ever revenue record. However, despite this significant growth, the company still faced financial challenges as it ended the year with a staggering $1.4 billion loss.

Despite the massive losses, Snapchat is firmly grounded on an upward trajectory, especially now that it is one of the least troubled social media platforms. On one hand, TikTok is facing a regulatory backlash in the US due to its ties to China, on the other, Facebook has been sued by multiple government agencies across the world on allegations of data security and user privacy.

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