After answering questions about media, messaging and what he thought about diversity in tech at the Code conference in Southern California today (spoiler alert: he didn’t reveal much), Snapchat* CEO Evan Spiegel was asked whether, in all its efforts, Snapchat had plans for an upcoming Apple Watch app.
He said no. “We ended up waiting to do Snapchat on the watch. Why would you look at a small picture [on your wrist] when you can look at a large one on your phone?” he asked. Spiegel revealed that instead of expanding to other platforms, Snapchat will instead focus on its three-pronged business strategy for now. He categorized those prongs as: 1) Camera and photo editing tools 2) Communications (messaging) and 3) Content.
“What’s the next platform,” Walt Mossberg asked him, if not the Apple Watch, “Or is it just the phone?”
Spiegel did not confirm either way, but explained that whatever it is, “it needs to be a unique experience.” “It’s wild to me that the phone [still] rings,” he expressed, segueing, “It’s kind of annoying.” When Mossberg asked what would the phone do instead of ring, “We haven’t totally sorted that out yet …”
Spiegel, who is in the middle of a press spurt, also revealed that the company was approaching 100 million daily active users in “developed” markets, and that 65% of those users were creating content, snaps, daily. Facebook, for comparison, has 936 million daily active users, and has said that 85% of its users use it monthly to create content.
Facebook doesn’t have an Apple Watch app, but Instagram, which it owns, does.
Snapchat, which now has 330 employees, has risen meteorically since we first covered it in 2012 and has robustly bolstered its product offerings in the past 18 months: Launching stories, chat, live video and discovery.
Its recent funding rounds put its valuation at $20 billion and its attractiveness has largely been due to the demographic that it attracts (young, mobile) and the robust engagement rates that it’s seeing on its content and associated advertising.
As part of the “Content” component of its strategy, Snapchat recently rolled out Discover — a section of the app dedicated to expiring stories from partners like National Geographic and Cosmo. Reports from those partners are mixed, but some, like Cosmo, are still reporting millions of views a day on their stories.
Snapchat held recently that its users are 9 times more likely to watch its large video ads because they don’t have to rotate their phones, proving that screen size matters for Snapchat, and not just for content consumption. But some advertisers have expressed reluctance to pay for Snapchat ads that don’t record or transmit the basic kinds of targeting and measurement metrics that are accepted as standard in the industry. Still, the service has remarkable draw in the demo that is most sought after with advertisers: Youth.
“Making a great product is being in touch with how you feel about things,” Spiegel mused onstage about appealing to that demo. And right now he’s feeling not so hot on the Apple Watch, apparently.
* My significant other works at General Catalyst, which is an investor in Snapchat.