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Will Older Users Take Over Snapchat?

David Bosley

Younger generations are usually the first users to try out new social media platforms like Snapchat. But it’s only a matter of time before their older counterparts adopt these outlets as well.

According to data from Pew Research Center, 35% of adults 65 years and older are currently on social media, a dramatic increase from 2005 when just 2% older Americans had a social media presence. However, even though the share is growing, it pales in comparison to social media users between the ages of 18 and 19 who account for the lion’s share of social media users at 90% of the demographic.

A recent Wall Street Journal article indicates that the newest social media app to attract older generations is Snapchat – and it’s freaking out younger users.

“It’s kind of shocking,” said Paris Zeikos, an 18-year-old university student told the WSJ. “Most people who use Snapchat are in my generation, so it’s bizarre to see someone older use Snapchat.”


Good for Snapchat. Good for Marketers. Bad for Youths?

At present, 67.5% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24, 37.8% of Americans between the ages of 25 and 34, and 14% of Americans 35 and older use Snapchat.

Aging demographics flocking to established social media apps is inevitable, and in the case of Snapchat, it could have significant ramifications. Currently valued at $16 billion, Snapchat needs to draw users from every demographic to achieve massive scaling like Facebook. In 2013, Facebook founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg publicly admitted that “coolness is done for us,” once it became apartment that younger users were abandoning the social media giant in droves.

But look at Facebook today. After embracing users of all ages, Zuck and company thrived. Last year alone, Facebook produced more than $3.7 billion in profits.

“In order to really get true growth that can be monetized, you’ve got to be appealing to more age groups which can kind of alienate the teens,” said Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray told the Wall Street Journal.

The bulk of Facebook’s success among a surge of older users ties directly back to marketing and advertising dollars. It’s pretty simple – a larger captivated audience creates more opportunities for companies to target different demographics, and Snapchat has followed suit.

Since the beginning of 2015, Snapchat has added additional features to bolster its media partnerships and laid the foundation for a thriving advertising business. As a result, Snapchat’s projected revenue is set at $300 million for 2016, up from just $60 million in 2015. And with numbers like that, how could you turn your back on older users?

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