Ronn TorossianRonn Torossian

Although barely eight years old, Snapchat is already experiencing an adolescence of sorts. Last year, Pinterest surpassed the multimedia-messaging service as the third-highest ranked social media app in the U.S., according to data gathered last November by eMarketer.

What’s the difference?

Pinterest exceeded previous estimates of 4.3 percent growth in 2019 and shot up 9.1 percent. eMarketer estimated that Pinterest ended up the year with 82.4 million users, compared to Snapchat’s 80.2 million. The publication laid out a forecast through 2022 and showed the gap between the two widening during that timeframe. By year-end 2022, eMarketer predicted Pinterest would have 90.1 million users in the U.S., compared to Snapchat’s 86.1 million.

What’s interesting to note is that Snapchat, according to eMarketer, caters to a younger audience than Pinterest. According to eMarketer, however, Pinterest’s appeal is more universal and achieved its gains in most age groups.

eMarketer forecasts that Snapchat users aged 12 through 24 in the U.S. more than doubled the older generations. The 25 to 34-year-old demographic was nearly even, while consumers aged 45 to 65 plus skewed heavily toward Pinterest by a three-to-one margin or greater.

On the other hand …

In yet another study last November, eMarketer predicted that Snapchat will grow more than 14 percent globally this year. The publication credited new features and a rebuilt Android platform for reversing the exodus by some users who were unsatisfied with the ill-fated 2017 redesign.

Americans are Snapchat’s largest audience, making up 27.4 percent of the total. And although Snapchat lost 1.1 million users between the ages of 12 and 17 for the reasons mentioned earlier, eMarketing predicted that loss would have been more than made up in 2019.

On a global basis, eMarketer had a rosier forecast for Snapchat, predicting that the platform would have nearly 315 million users by the end of this year and in excess of 356 million by the end of 2023. The publication had anticipated Snapchat ending 2019 with 293 million users. In addition to the relaunched Android app, eMarketer credited Snapchat’s baby face and gender swap features for the turnaround.

eMarketer also acknowledged Instagram as a steady competitor to Snapchat. It predicted that Instagram would end 2019 with 107.2 million users in the U.S. alone and 788.43 million worldwide. The publication noted that the differences showed up in the $15.01 billion in digital ad revenues Instagram was expected to garner globally compared, to Snapchat’s $1.53 billion.

Looking ahead

Marketers who’ve been employing Snapchat and Instagram to reach their target audiences need to pause for a moment and take a closer look at how their brands align with different demographics. The results of eMarketer’s surveys clearly show that Snapchat is more popular with the Z generation while Pinterest is favored by Millennials and Boomers.

To quote Lindsey Leavitt, an American author of young adult books, “Adolescence is the same tragedy being performed again and again. The only things that change are the stage props.”

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Ronn Torossian is CEO of leading PR Agency 5WPR.