Average Age of Snapchat Users Is Going Up

Sarah Steimer
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Key Takeaways

What? The use of Snapchat, popular with teens, is growing among adults.

So what? As on other social media platforms before it, older users could broaden advertisers’ reach.

Now what? Companies can offer a two-way conversation to potential customers and eventually target advertising to focus on various users.

​Adults (read: old people) have caught on to Snapchat—likely upsetting their children while simultaneously broadening the social media app’s reach.

Snapchat has a large teen fan base, so the greater appeal to more mature audiences could have a major effect on how marketers use the app. Sujan Patel, co-founder of growth marketing agency Web Profits, says the app itself has matured beyond a communication platform to become a source of information, and advertisers can use it as a distribution network.

“As Snapchat continues to evolve, they’re going to add more granular functionality to the advertising platform to allow you to control your audience,” Patel says. Snapchat has been great for leveraging influencers and for B-to-C companies, and he expects the platform to have more of a B-to-B component as more adults join.

“It’s not just a broadcast, it’s a two-way conversation,” he says. “Although it may not have the broad reach for most companies to start, it will make up for it because of the quality and engagement of the conversation.”

Patel says Snapchat is a key tool for brand exposure—especially for personal branding—and whether a company chooses to use it today or in a year or two years, there will still need to be a shift in how companies are marketing.

This isn’t the first social media platform that originally drew younger crowds before the “olds” hopped on board. And some platforms that were once used primarily by those in an older bracket have switched places with younger groups as well—such as Linkedin.

ComScore reported on the demographics for smartphone apps in a recent report, “Cross-Platform Future in Focus 2016,” which showed variations in use between 2013 and 2015. The report included Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr and Vine.

Snapchat: Picking up Traction Among Older Millennials

In April 2013, only 2% of those 35 and older used Snapchat, compared with 5% of those 25 to 34 years old and 24% of those 18 to 24 years old. By December 2015, those figures increased to 8%, 31% and 64%, respectively.

When it comes to some of the most popular social media platforms, Snapchat continues to skew youngest with 46.8% of its users between the ages of 18 and 24 as of December 2015.

What may be bringing adults into the fold? According to Patel, it may be as simple as curiosity.

SEE ALSO: 5 Tips to Use Snapchat Like a Pro

Instagram: Lack of Traction Among Older Folks

The honors for the second-youngest demographic goes to Instagram. The photo app’s users include 22.9% of folks ages 18 to 24 and 25.6% of those aged 25 to 34. Only 5.5% of Instagram users are 65 and older.

Facebook: Second Most Popular Social Network for 35+

The social media platform once intended for college students now has a user base that mirrors the internet as a whole. The platform’s largest group of users is made up of 25- to 34-year-olds, who account for 20.3% of all users. Those 65 and older make up 10.6% of Facebook users.

SEE ALSO: What Brands Can Learn from Gen Z’s Snapchat Experience

LinkedIn: Millennial Usage Growing

In December 2013, the greatest portion of LinkedIn users were those aged 55 and older at 29%. This group’s usage increased to 40% by December 2015, compared with an increase from 25% in December 2013 to 57% in December 2015 among users aged 25 to 34.

Author Bio:

Sarah Steimer
Sarah Steimer is a staff writer for the AMA's magazines and e-newsletters. She may be reached at ssteimer@ama.org or on Twitter at @sarah_steimer.
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