Among the millennial set, Snapchat has become the third-most used mobile app, after Facebook and Instagram – perhaps silencing any of the doubters who felt the ephemeral messaging app was just a trend, according to a comScore Inc. report released Aug. 8.

The report found Snapchat has now reached 32.9 per cent smartphone penetration among those aged 18 to 34 living in the U.S. Instagram has hit about 43.1 per cent penetration, while Facebook has a whopping 75.6 per cent hold on this demographic. This puts Snapchat ahead of Twitter and Pinterest, not to mention Google+, Vine, and a host of other social networks.

(Image: comScore).
(Image: comScore).
(Image: comScore).
(Image: comScore).

Yet what’s especially interesting about Snapchat is just how quickly it rose to prominence, writes Andrew Lipsman, comScore’s vice-president of marketing and insights, in a blog post.

“Back in November, Snapchat’s audience penetration among smartphone-using adults was 12.1 per cent, which is a respectable number indicative of a company with serious potential but that has not necessarily reached critical mass within the broader population,” he noted, adding that when Facebook and Myspace came along, they only saw user growth start building momentum once they hit the 15 to 20 per cent market penetration benchmark.

“Deeper analysis on Snapchat data also showed that within certain predictive segments of the population – specifically among 18-24 year olds – Snapchat was already well past the typical critical mass threshold and accelerating rapidly.”

There are a couple of things to pick up from this news – one of them being that this may validate Snapchat’s founders. In November 2013, Facebook approached Snapchat with an acquisition offer of $3 billion. For two twenty-somethings just building their own social network, it was generally expected they’d accept, and yet they didn’t. Now, with Snapchat’s user count really taking off, it seems that decision wasn’t as crazy as it initially seemed.

Yet there is another takeaway here for marketers. Whether or not your brand or business caters to millennials, it’s important to know where your audience is and where its interests lie. For example, it may have been easy to dismiss Snapchat out of hand, especially as the idea of sending images that disappear may have seemed too novel to work.

Maybe we’ll see Yo’s user base reach critical mass next…

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