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Snapchat has almost as many teens as Facebook, despite being an eighth of its size

It’s not the size of the social media app.

Rani Molla is a senior correspondent at Vox and has been focusing her reporting on the future of work. She has covered business and technology for more than a decade — often in charts — including at Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

Snapchat’s narrative has consistently been one of quality over quantity.

Unlike Facebook, it isn’t aiming to sign up the whole world, but rather those in developed nations with expensive smartphones. Instead of focusing on huge subscriber numbers, Snapchat parent Snap touts its fervent user base. Its daily active users visit the app more than 18 times each day, according to its S-1 filing.

Most importantly to a company that relies on ads for revenue, Snapchat bills itself as an app for the young — catnip for advertisers trying to reach hard-to-find millennials.

Ahead of its first quarterly earnings report since going public in March, just how popular is Snapchat among young people? Not as popular as Facebook, but very impressive considering how much smaller it is.

Share of the U.S. population that uses different social media, by select age group

According to data from research firm eMarketer, 59 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds, 68 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds and 42 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds use the app at least once per month each month throughout the year.

Facebook’s numbers for those age groups are 64, 77 and 81 percent, respectively. Facebook has 1.3 billion daily active users while Snapchat has just an eighth of that at 158 million.

Instagram, too, boasts a lot of users in those young age groups, though Snapchat has a much tighter hold on 12- to 17-year-old future consumers than Facebook’s Instagram— nearly four times as many. And again, Instagram is more than twice as big with 400 million daily active users.

Of course, Facebook is a well-established company that has had plenty of time to pick up users of all ages. The issue with Facebook and even Instagram and Twitter is that your mom and your grandma are also on it, perhaps making it a less cool place to directly market to the youngs. Facebook has 33 percent of people 65 and over regularly using the app whereas Snapchat has under 2 percent of that demographic.

Snapchat does have a conundrum, especially as social apps become more similar.

There’s plenty of room for Snapchat to grow among older demographics, but then what would make Snapchat different from the same old Facebook?

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