Adweek platforms reporter Scott Nover wrote last month that Snapchat might be the best-positioned social platform during the coronavirus pandemic and, with the crisis worsening in recent weeks, data provided by Snapchat late Wednesday appears to back up Nover’s theory.
Snapchat published a blog post Wednesday divided into three parts: increased engagement across its platform in recent weeks; emerging trends as social distancing has caused Snapchatters’ interests and priorities to shift; and a look at resources Snap Inc. is providing to help its users stay informed about Covid-19.
The company said that in the past few weeks, as the coronavirus crisis has ramped up, Snaps sent between friends reached an all-time high, topping the application’s typical peaks on Christmas and other major holidays. Group chat engagement also reached an all-time high.
Time spent on video and voice calling via the app was up more than 50% in late March compared with late February, and Snap said augmented reality is often incorporated into those calls.
Snap said time spent playing with its AR lenses was up more than 25% in late March compared with the same time in the previous month.
On the video front, time spent watching Snapchat Shows reached its highest level ever, and content in the News, Health & Wellness and Gaming verticals in its Discover content platform are seeing spikes in engagement.
Snap said that to date, more than 445 Stories or Shows related to the coronavirus have been produced on Discover, and they were viewed by over 68 million Snapchatters worldwide, with more than 40% of Generation Z in the U.S. viewing Covid-19 content on Snapchat.
Engagement with Snapchat ads is also on the rise, as the company reported a 36% rise in install volume for app ads and a 19% overall swipe-up rate in late March versus late February.
Snap said news and financial sites are seeing surges in activity, as are equity trading apps.
Online shopping in categories such as athleisure, pet products and home goods is also up with store visits on the decline due to social distancing.
The company also said the shutdown of public entertainment and fitness venues across most of the U.S. has spurred spikes in fitness/wellness, streaming/music, gambling games and mobile gaming.
Snap said in its blog post, “Our top priority is ensuring that Snapchatters have the resources they need to stay informed.”
The company reiterated that its Discover content platform is curated, with news channels that appear on it fact-checked and credible, adding that it works closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and trusted news organizations from around the world.
Snap also mentioned the early debut of its Here for You feature, which surfaces when Snapchatters search for topics such as those related to anxiety, depression, stress, grief, suicidal thoughts and bullying, as well as its suite of creative tools enabling users to share best practices approved by the WHO with friends and family members, including a worldwide filter with advice on staying safe and links to the WHO website.
Finally, SnapLab, the team behind the company’s Spectacles camera sunglasses, is now producing medical face shields, which will be donated to augment the N95 masks Snap already donated to hospitals in need, and the company also provided thousands of meals and childcare essentials locally through partnerships.