Snap is adding new users and growing its ad business during the pandemic

Snapchat may have benefitted from Facebook's advertiser boycott.

Mike Segar / reuters

While the coronavirus pandemic has hit the ad industry hard, Snap seems to be navigating it just fine. Snapchat app added 11 million new users, according to its third-quarter earnings report, bringing its total daily active users up to 249 million. More impressively, the company reported $679 million in revenue, an increase of more than 50 percent from last year, and well ahead of analyst expectations.

Snap again credited its Android app, which was rebuilt last year to boost Snapchat’s international growth, and its viral augmented reality lenses. “The adoption of augmented reality has happened faster than we had previously imagined, and we feel well positioned to execute on the many opportunities that lie ahead,” CEO Evan Spiegel said in prepared remarks. “For example, our recently launched Anime Lens uses our Snap ML technology to turn people into anime characters in real time and our community engaged with this Lens three billion times in its first week.”

Jeremi Gorman, Snap’s Chief Business Officer, also suggested that Snap may have benefitted from the Facebook advertiser boycott, which resulted in hundreds of companies pausing their spending on the social network.

“As brands and other organizations used this period of uncertainty as an opportunity to evaluate their advertising spend, we saw many brands look to align their marketing efforts with platforms who share their corporate values,” Gorman said. “This gave us an opportunity to engage with advertisers and agencies in real time to ensure that our existing partners as well as new prospects understood our offering in relation to our values.”

The company had previously reported a surge in users at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, but in July said that initial bump had “dissipated faster than we anticipated.” On Tuesday, Snap’s CFO Derek Andersen said that the lifting of lockdowns in Europe helped Snapchat grow in the region, where it added a million new users.