How is Snapchat taking over social video?

The Snapchat media-sharing platform processes around 10 billion video views a day, highlighting its teen-driven success that has made it Facebook's top competitor. 

Snapchat, Inc./File
A Snapchat user looks through the application's feed.

Snapchat, Inc.'s users tear through 10 billion videos each day, the instant media messaging application has told investors, as the company continues to enhance its profile in the social network market. 

That figure, rooted in Snapchat's 100 million daily users, eclipses the eight billion daily video views the app reported in February, the same number Facebook reported in November 2015. 

Facebook's view count includes any videos watched for more than three seconds, while Snapchat counts a view the instant a user accesses the media.

Snapchat is an image- and video-based instant messaging app, allowing users to take pictures or record footage as brief "snaps" that can be sent to friends and disappear after being viewed. Users can also post snaps to an ongoing personal "Story," where others can see them as many times as they like for 24 hours. 

Snapchat has introduced a number of features since its inception as "Picaboo" in 2011, including chat functionality and a digital payment service, but its main draw is the ability to spontaneously create and share the multimedia content its users so ravenously consume.

"Conversations are not only including a photo or video, but are being started by them," SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst Robert Peck wrote in a recent report, according to Bloomberg. "People's behavior is changing so that photos are being used as speech instead of a repository for memories."

The app's continued popularity is fueled by its young audience: more than 60 percent of 13- to 34-year-olds in the United States with smartphones use Snapchat, the company reports. That same demographic makes up around 86 percent of the app's user base, with only 2 percent of Snapchatters above the age of 55.

And as of this spring, Snapchat has overtaken the multimedia platform Instagram as the social media network of choice among US teenagers, with Twitter and Facebook lagging behind by 10 percentage points each, respectively.

Snapchat's more youthful, tech-savvy audience latched onto the service thanks to its private, self-destructing messages, the growing ubiquity of camera-equipped smartphones on the market, and the opportunity to create personal media content in real time.

The software also grants users a visual connection to real-world experiences: many celebrities' and organizations' accounts can be followed by anyone, and private groups can post branded content on permanent channels in the app's Discover section for users to browse through.

Snapchat's video gain on Facebook amid an ongoing competition, as both companies make moves to get an edge on each other's specialties. Facebook recently acquired Masquerade, famous for its "face swap" photo filter, in an apparent effort to challenge Snapchat's hold on video manipulation and filtering. Snapchat, meanwhile, recently updated its Chat component and spent $100 million on the Bitstrips emojis to beef up its messaging.

Snapchat's valuation has increased to between $10 and $20 billion over its nearly five-year run. The application is free on both the iOS App Store and Android's Google Play.

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