Snapchat versus Instagram may be the existential social-app battle of 2018 (and by that we mean it looks more existential for Snapchat) but yesterday gave us the chance to compare its performance with another social network, Twitter. Both companies published their financial results for the third quarter of 2018.

Snapchat is still losing users: it now has 186 million daily active users, down from 188 million last quarter, although up by 5% year-on-year. Some of its business metrics are on the right path however: revenues were up by 43% year-on-year to $297.9m, while net losses narrowed from $443.2m this time last year to $325.1m last quarter.

Still, Snapchat’s parent company Snap, Inc has still recorded $1.1bn of net losses for the first nine months of 2018. And with the company down to $1.4bn in cash and securities, it faces the prospect of having to raise more money to give it the runway to continue working towards profitability – and all this, in the case of the continued growth of Instagram, which has nabbed many of Snapchat’s best features and deployed them at scale.

And Twitter? Twitter had 326 million monthly active users in Q3, down from 335 million the previous quarter. The company says this is less about people ditching its platform, and more about its crackdown on bots and spam accounts – Twitter says it expects another ‘mid-single-digits’ loss in the final quarter of this year.

On the plus side, Twitter’s revenues grew by 29% year-on-year to $758m, and it recorded another profitable quarter – its fourth in a row. Ad revenues were up by 29% year-on-year, with video ads accounting for more than half of them. Twitter’s big challenges are less about a big rival cannibalising its business (Facebook has long-since zoomed over the horizon in terms of users and financial metrics) and more about its culture: tackling trolls, bots and state-sponsored subversion is the company’s priority.

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