How Could Snapchat Make Money? College Kids

Over 77 percent of college students are using Snapchat at least once every single day, according to research by Sumpto.

And even more stunning, 45 percent of college kids aged 18-24 would open a snap from a brand they didn’t know, while 73 percent of students would open a snap from a brand they already know. Though Snapchat hasn’t yet determined a revenue model, data like this suggests that native advertising is a pretty viable route.

Snapchat could let brands send their own animated (or taped) videos to the entire Snapchat user base, or even targeted demographics based on location, age, and other factors. Snapchat’s own Terms of Service explain that it has access to more than enough of personal data (like name, phone number, email, location, device info, and age) to start pin-pointing users for brands, and the ToS even provides for Snapchat to use this data for “advertisements.”

The Sumpto data also mentioned that 69 percent of college students are willing to add a brand on Snapchat if they already follow that brand on another social channel like Twitter or Facebook. Sixty-seven percent of respondents were interested in receiving discounts or promotions through the service, while 58 percent said they would be likely to purchase products or services using a Snapchat coupon.

And all that without any connection whatsoever to Facebook or Facebook Connect.

We’ve already seen brands succeed on Snapchat without any infrastructure from the app itself. DoSomething’s recent Valentines Day campaign saw an 11 percent response to the call to action put within a Snapchat Story.

Unfortunately, Snapchat’s new Story feature doesn’t seem to be picking up steam with the coveted 18-24 demographic. The majority of students (60 percent) report using Snapchat Stories less than 10 percent of the time they’re in the app.

Sumpto, the data provider, has a network of over 50,000 college students that respond to surveys in exchange for rewards. This report comes from more than 1,650 students from over 200 different colleges, who responded to survey.

Snapchat is one of the hottest apps on the market right now, with $123 million in funding and over 400 million snaps sent daily. The company was even said to reject a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook.

But for all that hype, we know shockingly little about the actual data behind the company. Many believed that the app was all about sexting, presuming that the only reason for self-destructing photos is to hide something naughty from parents. Turns out, Snapchat hasn’t really affected the sexting lives of college students, according to the report.

Before Snapchat, around 83 percent of college students said that less than 10 percent of all messages they sent (across any platform) was a sext. After downloading Snapchat, 81 percent of students said that less than 10 percent of all their messages are sexts.

Sexting aside, the real story here is how Snapchat will monetize what seems to be an excited and active user base. Cofounder Evan Spiegel said in June that in-app purchases would be the company’s first step into monetization. But the company is obviously teasing other options.

When Stories launched, Snapchat experimented with a “Click To Buy” button below Stories from musical artists, which sent the user straight to that artist’s iTunes page.