Snap's coronavirus bump was short lived

Snapchat added 9 million new users.

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POLAND - 2020/03/23: In this photo illustration a Snapchat logo seen displayed on a smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
SOPA Images via Getty Images

Snapchat continues to grow even as the coronavirus pandemic batters the ad industry. The company reported its second-quarter results Tuesday, marking the first full quarter since the coronavirus pandemic kicked into high gear and upended advertising across the social media industry. 

The company made notable gains in both its user numbers — adding 9 million new users — and revenue, which grew to $454 million. But the new user metrics were short of the company’s prior estimate of 239 million, which Snap  CFO Derek Andersen attributed to the unpredictable swings the company has seen as the coronavirus pandemic has influenced changes in usage. 

He said that last quarter’s surge in growth at the start of lockdowns “dissipated faster than we anticipated,” though the company was “pleased with the overall level of growth.”

CEO Evan Spiegel also noted that Snapchat has seen increased engagement, and that the app’s augmented reality camera effects continues to be a source of growth for the company,

“We continue to see increasing engagement with our camera, and the number of Snaps created every day grew at double the pace of our daily active user growth over the past year, making Snapchat one of the world’s most-used cameras,” Spiegel said. “We’re especially excited to see that the adoption of our AR platform is also accelerating, with the number of people playing with Lenses every day growing by 37 percent year-over-year.”

Spiegel also appeared to hint at the advertiser boycott that has engulfed Facebook. Though he didn’t mention the rival social network by name, he drew a sharp contrast in how Snap approaches “brand safety,” which has been among the chief complaints of boycotting advertisers,

“The growing focus on brand safety and privacy across the entire industry places us in a unique position of strength as we have invested in these areas from the beginning of our business,” he said. “The very foundation of both our consumer product and our advertising business has been built around our commitment to protecting the privacy of our community, and to delivering a safe environment for brands.”

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