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Snapchat and Instagram's Young Audiences Rarely Notice Ads on Platforms

Others are neutral or say the ads “are OK”

December 23, 2016

Snapchat and Instagram have both become the go-to platforms for brands looking to reach teens and millennials where they hang out online. But young people are unimpressed by ads on these platforms and about a third say they don't even see them.

US Teen/Millennial Instagram and Snapchat Users' Primary Attitude Toward Instagram vs. Snapchat Ads, Oct 2016 (% of respondents)

In 2016, teens and millennials accounted for more than 84% of Snapchat's 58.6 million US users and 67.4% of Instagram's 67.2 million US users.

Both social networks also have highly engaged audiences who access them frequently. A June 2016 survey of 13- to 17-year-olds from UBS Evidence Lab found that 63% of teens use Snapchat daily, while 58% use Instagram at least once per day. About half of 18- to 34-year-olds use Instagram daily, while 41% use Snapchat each day.

When it comes to attitudes about ads, new research from Adweek conducted by Survata surveyed Instagram and Snapchat users between 13- and 34-years-old. Approximately 40% of respondents said that the ads they see on Snapchat and Instagram are “neutral” or “OK, ” while about one in three said they rarely notice ads on Snapchat and Instagram at all.

Snapchat and Instagram ads were both “liked” or “loved” by about 10% of teens and millennials, though unfortunately for Snapchat, 28.4% of teen and millennial users said they “hated” the ads seen on the platform, vs. only 20.0% who said the same of Instagram ads.

While Snapchat's ads may be more reviled, the social platform has an edge over Instagram in a few other ways. Approximately 64% of teen and millennials said Snapchat is “cooler” than Instagram and 67.3% agreed that Snapchat has better features. However, when respondents were asked to choose one app out of the two, Snapchat and Instagram fared equally.

Despite the fact that many teens and millennials have little to no opinion about Snapchat and Instagram ads, their strong engagement rates and enthusiasm about the platforms make the social networks highly attractive to advertisers.

eMarketer expects worldwide Snapchat ad revenues to jump from $366.7 million in 2016 to more than $1.76 billion in 2018. Meanwhile, Instagram's global revenues will rise from nearly $1.86 billion to about $6.84 billion between 2016 and 2018


—Alison McCarthy

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