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Snap's stronger-than-expected Q1 shows how it's revved up a critical part of its business even though user growth is stuck in the mud

Business Insider | Apr 24, 2019, 05.36AM IST

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Mike Blake/Reuters

  • Snap impressed Wall Street with its first-quarter earnings, bringing in $320 million of revenue as opposed to consensus estimates of $307.4 million.
  • Ad sales intelligence platform MediaRadar tracked ads on Snapchat in the quarter breaking down buying patterns, size of ad buys, and product categories.
  • 58% of Snap's Q1 2019 advertisers are renewing their spend, signaling longterm adoption. This is welcome news for Snap, which has long been considered an experimental buy.
  • Further, Snap also seems to be broadening its advertiser base attracting more new advertisers than before, with MediaRadar estimating that 42% of its Q1 2019 advertisers are entirely new to the platform.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

With revenues of $320 million beating consensus estimates of $307.4 million, Snap surpassed analyst expectations in the first quarter - briefly sending its stock soaring.

Read More: Snap beat Wall Street's expectations for Q1 2019 but its user growth is still stalled

CEO and cofounder Evan Spiegel also touted the company's reach with young people during the earnings call, saying that Snap now reached 75% of all 13-34 year-olds.

Snap's user growth remained stalled in Q1, highlighting one of the top problems that Spiegel needs to fix as he tries win back back investors' trust.

But when it comes to Snap's relationship with advertisers, the Q1 report card is the latest of numerous encouraging signs, according to ad sales intelligence platform MediaRadar.

MediaRadar analyzed buying patterns, size of ad buys, and product categories on Snap during the quarter.

Among its key findings:

  • The number of brands placing ads on premium Snapchat Discover channels is up 15% year-over-year this quarter.
  • 58% of Q1 2019 advertisers are renewing their spend, signaling longterm adoption.
  • 42% of Q1 2019 advertisers are entirely new to the platform.
  • Brands in the media, entertainment, tech, retail, and apparel categories spend the most.
  • The platform's top-10 advertisers continue to increase their investment.
  • More than 200 brands ran a one-day campaign on Snapchat in Q1 2019.

"The company has a healthy mix of both new and returning clients, and the loyalty of major advertisers like Comcast, Adidas, and Disney," said Todd Krizelman, CEO of MediaRadar.

Snap finally seems to be becoming a permanent fixture in brands' media buys

One of Snap's biggest hurdles has been that advertisers have long considered it to be a part of their experimental bucket, rather than must-buy. But that seems to be changing, according to data crunched by MediaRadar.

58% of advertisers who spent on Snapchat in the first quarter of 2019 are renewing their spend, which indicates that Snapchat is increasingly becoming a part of the recurring spend consideration set. This is a marked improvement from 2018, when only 17% of the advertisers spent on the platform for more than two quarters.

The growth in recurring advertisers can be attributed to the company's shift to programmatic starting to stabilize, as well as investments Snap has made to improve its Ads Manager, with advanced features such as target cost bidding and new bulk uploading capabilities. The fact that Snap now allows advertisers to optimize against important brand goals like efficient reach and targeting is also drawing in more brand buyers.

"Snap is reducing the friction, making it easier to place ads and also introducing new functionality to target audiences," said MediaRadar's Krizelman. "Our numbers show these efforts are paying off."

Snap also seems to be broadening its advertiser base, with MediaRadar estimating that 42% of its Q1 2019 advertisers are entirely new to the platform. This could be the result of more flexibility, as the platform started to allow for one-day buys (the previous minimum was three). By reducing the hurdles to buy, Snap is giving advertisers more choice - and hence attracting more brands.

"These shorter buys allow advertisers to advertise at very specific moments if they want to, and the early results are that advertisers are interested," said Krizelman. "In Q1, we saw over 200 brands run a one-day campaign, including brands like Reebok, Monster.com and Dunkin."

Expect that number to swell more, with Jeremi Gorman, its chief business officer, installing a whole new "Scaled Services" sales team focused on bringing more advertisers to the platform.

Get the latest Snap stock price here.

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