Crossing the 60 million user mark: The story behind Snapchat’s growth momentum

Snapchat has gained immense growth momentum amongst the Indian youth with a 150 percent growth rate in daily active users.


2020 turned out to be a successful year for Snapchat in India. They crossed the 60 million user mark in the fourth quarter of 2020 in India as their growth momentum touched a new peak with users engaging via Discover content, Lens Studio, etc. 

Snapchat was created by former Stanford University students Bobby Murphy, Evan Spiegel and Reggie Brown. Being a new one-of-a-kind mobile friendly social media app, their features have gained traction especially amongst the Gen-Z. Primarily a one-on-one photo sharing app, the pictures and messages disappear after a short time of being sent and become unavailable to receivers. They started with a simple picture sharing platform and later expanded features like chronological 24-hour stories, Brand advertisements via Discover, password-protected space called My-eyes-only to save pictures. As of March 2020, Snapchat had 229 million daily active users sending an average of around 4 billion Snaps 1 each day.

It all started with Reggie Brown’s idea for a disappearing pictures application which he presented to Evan Spiegel who had little business background. The two of them collaborated with Bobby Murphy who undertook coding. After working closely together, they launched Snapchat under the name Picaboo on iOS in July 2011. Focusing on the technical and application aspects, they relaunched the app as Snapchat in September 2011. Spiegel described their mission as communicating with “the full range of human emotion” without having to capture the perfect pretty Kodak moment. They also focused on the issues caused by longevity of personal information on social media which their platform does not support through disappearing messages.

From 25 Snapchat images being sent per second in May 2012, to 20 million snaps being shared per day in November 2012, over one billion photos had been shared via Snapchat – a spectacular growth within 6 months of launch as the app spread like wildfire across countries. By November 2015, users were sending 6 billion videos per day.  In 2016, they raised $1.81 billion in equity offering.  The company gained popularity especially amongst the younger generations all over the world reaching 166 million daily active users in May 2017. In 2020, they planned a promotion strategy called Snapchat Spotlight where they would pay a total of $1 million to users for posting viral videos, implementation is awaited. 

Augmented reality (AR) is transforming the communication and media entertainment landscape. Snapchat Inc’s Managing Director, Nana Murugasen says in India they focused solely on developing culturally relevant products, community engagement, and partnerships. More than 500 million people in India used the Diwali-themed lenses more than eight times the engagement compared to the previous year. The growth momentum has been inspiring to say the least and has gained immense popularity amongst the Indian youth with a 150 percent growth rate in daily active users.

Smruthi Krishnan
Smruthi Krishnan
Smruthi interviews and writes on inspiring entrepreneurs and the success stories of start-ups. She is currently pursuing Economics major from Delhi University.

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