Advertising Week

Snapchat at 60 Million Users, and Other Advertising Week Reveals

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Credit: Courtesy Snapchat
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How big is Snapchat? How sorry is Facebook? How advanced is Google? How long does Twitter have left?

These are all questions swirling around Advertising Week, where the industry has gathered for its annual digital rush in New York. The executives from the major platforms were on hand to capture the attention of brands needing guidance on where to spend their money online.

Here's what everyone from Imran Khan of Snapchat to Carolyn Everson of Facebook were offering.

Snapchat's U.S. audience

Snapchat does not have to report user numbers publicly, so when it does the industry listens. On Monday, Mr. Khan revealed that Snapchat has 60 million daily users -- that's daily, not monthly, which is the more common industry metric. Snapchat believes it has an edge reporting daily users, and has said in the past it's a more meaningful number than who tunes in monthly.

How big is 60 million daily users? Well, now it might just be the same size as Instagram, its chief rival for the time and attention of young folks. Instagram doesn't break out daily U.S. users, but a little math gets you to 60 million. Instagram has 500 million users, and 300 million daily users -- that's 60% of its audience opening the app daily. And of its 500 million total users, Instagram is known to have 100 million users in the United States.

If 60% of those 100 million users are daily, that's 60 million. Khan also revealed two weeks ago at Germany's DMEXCO that Snapchat has 50 million daily users in Europe.

Facebook's mea culpa

Facebook is looking to move on from its "inflategate" troubles last week, where it revealed it messed up reporting average view time on marketers' video ads. It overestimated how long viewers watched ads on average. On Monday, Ms. Everson publicly expressed regret over not disclosing the problem sooner.

Facebook is still going strong it seems, because it is about to reveal that it now has 4 million advertisers, which is up from 3 million since March. Facebook is reporting that a number of those advertisers are small businesses, and in keeping with one of the themes of Advertising Week -- empowering women in marketing -- many of those business owners are women. More than 30% of small business pages on Facebook are run by women, Facebook reported.

Many of these small business pages have also latched onto video, with 20% of advertisers creating video in the past month, according to Facebook. That's 800,000 video advertisers in the past month.

Google gets smarter

Google is at Advertising Week talking measurement and targeting with tactics it is refining to catch up with Facebook in "closing the loop" -- proving ads lead to sales. On Monday, Google launched mobile display ads that incorporate location targeting. Stores like Home Depot can hit users with mobile banner ads when they're nearby on their phones. Later, Google can tell the brand if the ad led to a store visit and sale.

Also on the retail front, Google said it was rolling out a new feature in its Waze maps app that lets people favorite brands, which will then show up on the map when a consumer is near a retail location. It could be used by the brands to push offers to consumers, too.

Google also has new cross-device capabilities that it put into the Google Display Network and DoubleClick Bid Manager, its ad network and demand-side platform for advertisers. They can now retarget ads to the same user as they shift devices, going from phone to tablet to laptop. Brands can serve different parts of their message to the same consumer throughout the day.

Twitter gets courted

Twitter headed in to Advertising Week with the most to gain -- or lose -- depending how you look at it. Acquisition talk is picking up, and it could find a savior in the form of Disney, which is reportedly putting together a bid. Last week, SalesForce and Google were said to be interested in buying the company, but SalesForce has since downplayed that it was a realistic suitor.

Twitter is still a media darling, but it has had trouble bursting through its 300 million monthly user ceiling. Talks of a takeover helped its stock price jump to above $20 a share for the first time since the beginning of the year, which means investors are expecting a sale.