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Yes, Snapchat’s audience in the US is still small. Yes, its asking price of $750,000 a day for ads has many advertisers laughing. But there’s no denying the platform holds great potential as a way to reach one major demographic: millennials. According to November 2014 polling by Cowen and Company, 18- to 29-year-olds accounted for 71% of US internet users who had accessed Snapchat in the past 30 days. Those ages 30 to 44 represented 19% of users, the 45-to-60 group 9% and the over-60 crew a meager 1%. Millennials’ share here was higher than their portion of users for any other social network studied.
A demographic breakdown of US Snapchat fans—those who used the social network and said they “loved it”—by CivicScience in August 2014 skewed heavily toward young millennials. Those ages 18 to 24 accounted for 43% of Snapchat fans. The under-18 group, which includes the last few years of those considered millennials, came in second, at 28%. Older millennials were the only other age group to hit double digits, though their share was 15%.
Many marketers have been slow to jump on the Snapchat bandwagon, no doubt due in part to the platform’s small audience—Frank N. Magid Associates put penetration among those ages 13 to 64 at 18% in 2014, and Cowen reported an even lower 11%.
Even among millennials, penetration has a way to go. According to Q3 2014 data from GlobalWebIndex, 22% of 16-to-24-year-old US internet users had accessed Snapchat within the past month via any device, and Harvard University Institute of Politics found penetration among US millennial internet users—ages 18 to 29—of 28%. However, for those looking for new ways to catch the attention of this consumer group, Snapchat could present a window of opportunity.
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