SNAP - Snap Inc.

NYSE - NYSE Delayed Price. Currency in USD
11.85
-0.33 (-2.71%)
At close: 4:02PM EDT

11.83 -0.02 (-0.17%)
After hours: 6:58PM EDT

Stock chart is not supported by your current browser
Previous Close12.18
Open12.05
Bid11.80 x 1000
Ask11.83 x 2900
Day's Range11.59 - 12.27
52 Week Range7.89 - 19.75
Volume32,224,552
Avg. Volume30,285,885
Market Cap16.829B
Beta (5Y Monthly)1.30
PE Ratio (TTM)N/A
EPS (TTM)-0.75
Earnings DateApr. 20, 2020 - Apr. 26, 2020
Forward Dividend & YieldN/A (N/A)
Ex-Dividend DateN/A
1y Target Est18.53
  • Netflix Watches as Instagram Unites a Quarantined World
    Bloomberg

    Netflix Watches as Instagram Unites a Quarantined World

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- “Oh, I like HER,” she says, referring to a berry-toned lipstick. Sarah Hyland, the 29-year-old funny actress best known for playing Haley Dunphy on ABC’s “Modern Family,” is trying on makeup for an Instagram Live audience while at home riding out the pandemic, seemingly as bored as the rest of us. It’s by no means a production: just Hyland in front of her cell phone, using an in-app filter that gives her eyeliner and oversize lashes, sitting at what looks to be a desk, weeding out her cosmetics collection.I don’t know why I’m watching. “Why am I watching this?,” one of her thousands of other viewers suddenly posts in the scrolling comments, as if from my thoughts to that person’s fingertips. Having our normal daily lives upended by the coronavirus has heightened the demand for entertainment — and not just Netflix. We’re looking for content that provides some semblance of human connection, intermittent LOL moments to briefly escape reality. As Kevin Roose put it in the New York Times last week, “The virus is forcing us to use the internet as it was always meant to be used.”There’s also something comforting about seeing celebrities going through the same thing as everyone else, flattening the societal hierarchy so that their feeds run alongside that of our own friends and families. Social media is a place for wholesale interaction, whether it be through memes, amateur TikTok dances, silly Snapchat snaps, Instagram boomerangs of the night’s meal or photos of the view outside, where we all suddenly wish we could be. It’s just enough pleasant distraction; we don’t have to commit our full attention to a 45-minute TV episode, especially when there’s already too much lonely, idle couch viewing happening because of the shelter-in-place orders.Kantar, a consumer research firm, is finding that as countries move deeper into the pandemic, TV viewing and social media engagement both rise by more than 60%. (At that rate, we could quickly grow bored with apps like Netflix and Disney+.) The U.S. may still be in the relatively early stages, but in Italy, one of the hardest-hit countries, Facebook Inc. said that Instagram and Facebook Live views doubled in a week. That yearning for connection is giving more adults a window into why younger people are so amused with watching their peers and celebrities just going about their lives — even when they appear to be doing nothing special at all. George Costanza would love it: videos about nothing.View this post on Instagram A post shared by Cardi B (@iamcardib) on Mar 20, 2020 at 12:31am PDTBut if that is what’s missing from Netflix and other TV, could it be that someday it’s not? Perhaps the future of streaming is to aggregate both studio-produced content and user-generated content in a way that allows you to seamlessly scroll between both. That’s how we’re starting to use entertainment, but that’s not yet how it’s delivered to us. Facebook Watch is a step toward the idea, though it has a long way to go. And Google’s YouTube is more of a video-search platform than a sit-back-and-stream service (notwithstanding its YouTube TV subscription for live programming).Quibi, a streaming app launching April 6, borrows from the brevity of user-generated social content, but leaves out the human-connection aspect. It’s the brainchild of Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, a pair of Hollywood and tech old timers, who say the name is short for “quick bites” (though it’s pronounced “qwih-bee”). All of its programs will have episodes that are 10 minutes long or less. Plenty have scoffed at the idea of Quibi trying to get 25- to 35-year-olds to pay $5 a month for an app with bite-size content that still contains ad interruptions. Yet, Katzenberg and Whitman have managed to raise nearly $2 billion for the service and have struck production deals with major studios and entertainers, including Chrissy Teigen and actress Sophie Turner.Social media used to be something college kids did on their laptops, separate from TV time. Now we all do it on our phones, often while the TV is playing. It shows that what’s missing from Netflix, Disney+ and all the other emerging streaming ecosystems is the ability to connect with one another. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tara Lachapelle is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the business of entertainment and telecommunications, as well as broader deals. She previously wrote an M&A column for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Snapchat's Zenly launches shelter-in-place leaderboard
    TechCrunch

    Snapchat's Zenly launches shelter-in-place leaderboard

    Snapchat's location-sharing app acquisition Zenly has gamified shelter-in-place during the COVID-19 outbreak. Users can see who's social distancing the best and share stickers of the scoreboard and coronavirus prevention tips to Snapchat, Instagram and other apps. Location apps like Zenly that typically encourage users to go out and explore the world suddenly lost most of their purpose due to the widespread order for people to self-quarantine.

  • Instagram prototypes Snapchat-style disappearing text messages
    TechCrunch

    Instagram prototypes Snapchat-style disappearing text messages

    Instagram is finally preparing to copy Snapchat's most popular feature, and one of the few it hasn't already cloned. Instagram has prototyped an unreleased ephemeral text messaging feature that clears the chat thread whenever you leave it, a Facebook spokesperson confirms to TechCrunch. Instagram already has disappearing photo and video messaging which it launched in February 2018 to let users choose if chat partners can "view once", "allow replay" multiple times for a limited period, or "keep in chat" permanently.

  • Bloomberg

    Fast-Growing Chinese TikTok Rival Sets Sights on the U.S.

    (Bloomberg) -- TikTok operator ByteDance Inc. is unusual among China’s internet giants for the popularity it has enjoyed in the U.S., but others are already following in its footsteps, led by a short-video-sharing app called Likee.Owned by Chinese social media company Joyy Inc., Likee is making its biggest global push since launching in 2017, with a particular focus on the U.S. market and the voracious media appetites of its millions of teens and millennials. The short-video platform is operated by a Singapore entity, has already caught on in places like India and Russia and was ranked seventh in global downloads for non-gaming apps in 2019 by App Annie.“The time is right for us now to try to really extend ourselves to other parts of the world, especially to the US,” Mike Ong, vice president of Likee operator Bigo Technology Pte Ltd., said in a phone interview after parent Joyy posted quarterly results this week. Joyy, formerly known as YY, operates several social media services including game-streaming platform Huya and live-streaming app Bigo.The company’s goal is to make the U.S., where the app is already available, one of Likee’s biggest markets. That means greater investment of people and money into the country, Ong said, without providing further specifics. Bigo’s U.S. team currently has around 100 people, half of whom are focused on content moderation. That mix echoes the overall composition of the Singaporean firm, which has 2,000 moderators from a total staff of 4,500.Joyy’s revenue for the three months ended December surged 64% to 7.6 billion yuan ($1.1 billion), helped by the strong topline growth of Bigo’s namesake streaming platform. The company has yet to rush to make money off the much younger Likee, which is still seeing explosive user growth. Its mobile monthly active users grew 208% to 115.3 million for the fourth quarter, the company said. Likee also earned the title of breakout app of the year from App Annie, which saw it record the largest absolute increase in downloads outside of games, with its total outshining better-known names like Spotify and Snapchat.What Bloomberg Intelligence SaysLikee’s revenue-generation potential may keep improving with the addition of live-streaming and advertising products.\- Vey-Sern Ling and Tiffany Tam, analystsLikee’s U.S. expansion will require a splurge of millions of marketing dollars to grab eyeballs and attract influencers, who are the lifeblood of TikTok, Google’s YouTube and Facebook Inc.’s Instagram. Its Chinese ownership may pose a problem, however, as TikTok discovered after its rise in popularity was met with national security concerns from U.S. lawmakers.“All the decisions that we take are internal to Bigo, that’s how we work here,” said Ong, indicating confidence that Likee is well-positioned to navigate any challenges from American regulators. “Our data is never in China to start with.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Snap (SNAP) Stock Sinks As Market Gains: What You Should Know
    Zacks

    Snap (SNAP) Stock Sinks As Market Gains: What You Should Know

    Snap (SNAP) closed at $8.91 in the latest trading session, marking a -1.66% move from the prior day.

  • Business Wire

    Kelly Coffey To Join Snap Inc. Board of Directors

    Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP) announced today that Kelly Coffey, Chief Executive Officer of City National Bank, a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), has been appointed to the company's board of directors, effective on May 18, 2020.

  • Twitter CEO Pressed by Elliott to Meet Lofty Growth Targets
    Bloomberg

    Twitter CEO Pressed by Elliott to Meet Lofty Growth Targets

    (Bloomberg) -- Jack Dorsey’s job at Twitter Inc. is still on the line.On Monday, activist investors who had taken aim at the chief executive officer gave him a chance to prove that he should remain at the helm of the company he co-founded. The deal may only delay the inevitable, analysts said. Elliott Management Corp., known for aggressive moves to oust CEOs, essentially put Dorsey on a performance-improvement plan, committing him to meet metrics that would be challenging to achieve normally -- and may be impossible at a time when a viral contagion threatens global economic expansion.Twitter, a social-media platform known for its short messages posted in real time, is most useful when people tune in online for live updates from events, news and sports matches. The company’s advertising strategy revolves around showing marketing messages to those who are logged in. A settlement with Elliott and private equity firm Silver Lake includes requiring Twitter to assign three new seats on its board to the firms, to post user gains of at least 20%, and to accelerate revenue growth and grab a bigger share of the digital-ad market.The news cycle in 2020, on the surface, would seem to offer a strong opportunity for Dorsey to make strides toward those goals. The U.S. presidential election and the Summer Olympics in Tokyo are the kinds of events that prompt user activity and engagement, and even the spread of Covid-19 could lead more people to log in to check for updates on the outbreak.But the upside to user growth and ad revenue from these events may be limited. Twitter has banned political ads, meaning rivals Google and Facebook Inc. have picked up most of the gains from the largest presidential campaign spending year on record. Coronavirus-watchers may not be in a buying mood, and advertisers may be budgeting less overall as the health crisis puts their own businesses at risk. Festivals, concerts and movie openings are being canceled or postponed, and sports organizers are considering holding games without fans. Without these tweet-centric moments of optimism, advertising opportunities disappear, said Michael Levine, an analyst with Pivotal Research Group.Within the next couple of weeks, for instance, the NCAA is going to decide whether to allow fans to attend March Madness, the annual college basketball tournament. It’s the kind of event that is heavily tweeted, during which advertisers take advantage of a surge in activity to sell products. Even more crucial is the upcoming Olympics. If the Olympics were to be canceled or postponed, “it would be a huge missed opportunity for hitting these metrics,” Levine said. The global sporting event was “going to be a very positive way to showcase they’re being way more sophisticated around advertising than they were three years ago,” he said.Against this backdrop, Elliott’s ambitious targets for Twitter seem even more formidable. The firm’s 20% year-over-year growth target for “monetizable” daily users, or Twitter users that can be served ads, is almost double the rate analysts already projected. The company exceeded that rate in 2019 for the first time in years, and investors don’t expect Twitter to keep it up. Rivals have had to dramatically invest in building or acquiring new products to expand their appeal -- like Facebook with its acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram, and the introduction of a disappearing-post format to rival Snapchat Inc. Twitter’s product cadence has been slower; the company just last week introduced its version of disappearing posts, called “Fleets,” four years after Instagram copied Snapchat’s similar feature.“It’s going to require expanding beyond their niche of super active users,” said Rohit Kulkarni, an analyst at MKM Partners. “Acquiring users and holding users is getting more and more expensive on the internet,” even for giants like Facebook and Alphabet Inc.’s Google. Activist investors don’t usually look kindly on a company growing less profitably, even if they’re growing faster.Elliott, which wanted to remove Dorsey as CEO on concerns that he was distracted and not delivering enough value for shareholders, announced a compromise after intervention from Silver Lake. San Francisco-based Twitter agreed to take a $1 billion Silver Lake investment, in part to fund share buybacks, while also agreeing to add three members to its board and a panel to evaluate Dorsey’s progress.The activist investing firm may have stopped short of immediately removing Dorsey in part because of the strong cultural pull he has at Twitter. Even though he simultaneously leads Square Inc., Twitter’s board reinstalled him as CEO almost five years ago because having founder status in Silicon Valley affords a level of moral authority over the product direction.Dorsey will need more than moral authority to reach the goals set by Elliott. He’ll likely have to take more dramatic steps, possibly by changing the product more than he has in years.By setting such lofty targets for Dorsey, Elliott may be playing the long game, figuring it will get its chance to come back for the executive if he fails to meet them. When Elliott’s been involved in turnarounds with other target companies, its team has shown little mercy to the C-suite. The CEOs of Citrix Systems Inc., EBay Inc. and Athenahealth Inc. were given chances to meet new growth goals once Elliott filled seats on their boards, but eventually lost their jobs after they missed the mark. In the case of Athenahealth, Elliott acquired the company in a partnership with Veritas Capital -- something that could happen with Twitter, especially considering Silver Lake’s past interest in acquiring the company.In 2015, when Dorsey returned to Twitter, the board had the same qualms as Elliott has now: Twitter’s product direction was unclear, and its growth rate was lackluster. While Dorsey has executed a turnaround for Twitter’s share price since then -- with Twitter up about 21% since he permanently took over that October -- it has lagged behind other tech companies like Facebook, which has about doubled. Twitter’s persistently middling sales-growth rate seemed to confirm investor fears that it was never going to be the next tech giant. Twitter remains less than a 10th of Facebook’s size by daily users, with all of its same problems, from bullying and hate speech to misinformation and political turmoil. The company commands less than 1% of the digital advertising market, according to EMarketer, compared with 32% for Google and 21.1% for Facebook.While Elliott is calling for faster sales growth after 2020, that’s also not an easy win for Dorsey. Twitter’s revenue rate is projected to tick up only slightly this year, to 15% from to 14% last year, according to analysts’ estimates tracked by Bloomberg. That’s without accounting for a possible slowdown or recession from the public-health crisis unfolding globally. In the following two years, analysts predict slightly slower growth.Even those who agreed on the metrics acknowledge there’s some uncertainty about the outcome. Because of the current economic fallout from coronavirus, Twitter’s statement on the settlement deliberately framed the goals as “ambitions,” as opposed to targets or forecasts, according to a person familiar with the matter.The fact that Elliott didn’t immediately replace Dorsey may reflect the strong support for him among employees, and “acknowledgment that he’s crucial to the ethos” of Twitter, according to Mark Shmulik, an analyst at Bernstein. Employees describe Dorsey as a philosophical thinker. Rounding out his soulful demeanor is a lifestyle that includes bouts of fasting, silent meditation retreats, ice baths and oversized black T-shirts. He rejects corporate expectations in favor of his gut, like a decision to spend up to six months of this year in Africa, learning about the future of payments and working remotely for both his CEO jobs. He’s “re-evaluating” that decision now, he said last week.But unlike other legendary Silicon Valley founders, Dorsey hasn’t always been in charge at Twitter, nor does he have enough voting power to put up a fight himself.“Dorsey’s position may remain under scrutiny through 2020,” Shmulik said. “For investors that were hoping for a radical change overnight, the announcement may be a little disappointing.”\--With assistance from Scott Deveau.To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Frier in San Francisco at sfrier1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Those Who Purchased Snap (NYSE:SNAP) Shares Three Years Ago Have A 38% Loss To Show For It
    Simply Wall St.

    Those Who Purchased Snap (NYSE:SNAP) Shares Three Years Ago Have A 38% Loss To Show For It

    For many investors, the main point of stock picking is to generate higher returns than the overall market. But its...

  • Why Is Snap (SNAP) Down 15.8% Since Last Earnings Report?
    Zacks

    Why Is Snap (SNAP) Down 15.8% Since Last Earnings Report?

    Snap (SNAP) reported earnings 30 days ago. What's next for the stock? We take a look at earnings estimates for some clues.

  • Snap (SNAP) Gains But Lags Market: What You Should Know
    Zacks

    Snap (SNAP) Gains But Lags Market: What You Should Know

    Snap (SNAP) closed the most recent trading day at $13.62, moving +0.52% from the previous trading session.

  • Bloomberg

    Twitter Tests Its Own Version of Disappearing Stories

    (Bloomberg) -- Twitter Inc. is testing a way for users to post photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours -- similar to Stories products offered on rival social networks -- in a push to encourage people to share more often on its service.The San Francisco-based company calls these disappearing posts Fleets -- short for fleeting tweets -- and wants the tool to ease the pressure of online sharing. Similar to tweets, Fleets are text-first but videos, GIFs and photos can be added.“Some of you tell us that you’re uncomfortable to Tweet because Tweets are public, feel permanent, and have public counts,” Twitter wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. “We hope that people who don’t usually feel comfortable Tweeting use Fleets to share musings about what’s on their mind.” The test is only available in Brazil.Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey is under threat from activist investment firm Elliott Management Group, which wants to push him out of the top job. Dorsey has two jobs -- he also runs payments company Square Inc. -- and Elliott thinks Twitter needs a full-time CEO.Twitter has also developed a reputation for moving slowly when it comes to launching new products and features. It’s common for some ideas to percolate internally for years before they ever appear to Twitter users, a much slower cadence than other social media companies. Even expanding the length of tweets from 140 to 280 characters took years of debate and discussion inside the company.The Fleets test provides at least the perception that Twitter is moving forward. Disappearing posts have become a popular way to share on competing social sites, including Facebook Inc.’s Instagram and Snap Inc.’s Snapchat. More than 500 million people use Instagram’s version of Stories, and Facebook executives have pointed to this as an important growth opportunity for the company’s advertising business. Instagram’s Stories feature already makes up about 10% of all ad spending on Facebook properties.It’s too soon to say whether Fleets will provide a similar opportunity for Twitter. The company has started testing features in public in recent years, often asking for user feedback before rolling something out more broadly. It’s one of the ways Twitter tries to be more thoughtful about what it launches, but also slows down the process. Instagram, by comparison, unveiled its version of Stories to all global users at the same time in 2016.To contact the reporter on this story: Kurt Wagner in San Francisco at kwagner71@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Alistair BarrFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Singer’s Elliott Seeks to Replace Twitter CEO Dorsey
    Bloomberg

    Singer’s Elliott Seeks to Replace Twitter CEO Dorsey

    (Bloomberg) -- Activist investor Elliott Management Corp. has taken a sizable stake in Twitter Inc. and plans to push for changes at the social media company, including replacing Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey, according to people familiar with the matter.The New York-based firm has nominated four directors to Twitter’s board, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public.There are only three seats becoming available at this year’s annual meeting but Elliott wanted to ensure that it nominated enough directors to fill all three seats or any other vacancies that may arise, the people said. The exact size of Elliott’s stake couldn’t be determined.Elliott approached San Francisco-based Twitter about its concerns privately and has had constructive discussions with it since then, the people said.Representatives for Elliott and Twitter declined to comment.Elliott’s push comes at a pivotal time with the U.S. election, Summer Olympics and other major events, like the spread of the coronavirus, which tend to attract more users and advertisers to Twitter.The company has, however, fallen behind on innovation, choosing to focus on its core service while other social media competitors like Snap Inc. and Instagram develop filters and stories popular with their users.Potential TargetTwitter has been a potential target for activist investors for years. The company only has one class of stock, which means co-founder Dorsey doesn’t have voting control of the company like Facebook Inc.’s Mark Zuckerberg or Snap co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy.Dorsey is one of the only people to serve as CEO of two large public companies at the same time -- he also runs Square Inc. That makes him a potential target for criticism whenever Twitter stumbles. He has also said he plans to work up to six months a year in Africa.Elliott isn’t the only investor to voice concerns about Dorsey and Twitter’s governance.In December, Scott Galloway, a professor of marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business, penned a letter about his own concerns as an investor in the company.‘Weapons of Mass Entrenchment’“To be clear, my primary objective is the replacement of CEO Jack Dorsey,” Galloway said in an open letter to the company’s executive chairman, Omid Kordestani. “However, your firm’s weapons of mass entrenchment include a staggered board that may force shareholders to seek to replace other directors, including yourself, first.”Since Dorsey returned as CEO in July 2015, the company’s shares have fallen 6.2%, while Facebook’s have gained more than 121% during that time.Twitter rose 0.6% to $33.20 in New York trading Friday, giving the company a market value of about $26 billion. The shares rose as much 7.9% after the close of regular trading.‘Bugs’ BlamedThe stock declined more than 20% on Oct. 24 after the company delivered third-quarter results that fell far short of analyst estimates. Twitter also said at the time its privacy issues involving targeting data would continue to weigh on its advertising business. The company blamed “bugs” in the way it targeted ads and shared personal information for the miss.Elliott has a long history of agitating for changes at some of the world’s largest companies. This month, the firm disclosed a stake in Japan’s SoftBank Corp. and said it planned to push for a larger share buyback and governance changes at the firm’s Vision Fund.Elliott has also pushed for changes at AT&T Inc., EBay Inc., Marathon Petroleum Corp. and Pernod Ricard SA.(Updates with Twitter’s response in fifth paragraph)\--With assistance from Kurt Wagner and Jillian Ward.To contact the reporters on this story: Scott Deveau in New York at sdeveau2@bloomberg.net;Ed Hammond in New York at ehammond12@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Liana Baker at lbaker75@bloomberg.net, Matthew Monks, Michael HythaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Teen hit Yolo raises $8M to let you Snapchat anonymously
    TechCrunch

    Teen hit Yolo raises $8M to let you Snapchat anonymously

    Yolo became the country's No. 1 app just a week after launch by letting teens ask for anonymous replies to questions they posted on Snapchat. "What we are trying to build is a new kind of network where there's a fluidity to identity," Yolo co-founder Greg Henrion tells me. "We weren't sure if Yolo was here to stay, but we're still ranking well and there seems to be a real opportunity in anonymity starting with Snapchat Q&A."

  • Business Wire

    Snap Inc. to Participate in the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference 2020

    Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP) announced today that Evan Spiegel, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, will participate in the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference 2020 in San Francisco on March 4, 2020 at 3:15 p.m. Pacific.

  • TikTok Marketers Chase Billions of Views in Uncharted Terrain
    Bloomberg

    TikTok Marketers Chase Billions of Views in Uncharted Terrain

    (Bloomberg) -- In an October post on TikTok, digital magician and video star Zach King walks up to the counter at Chipotle to receive a burrito bowl with chips. After he pays, he jumps and his clothes change in an instant into astronaut gear. Soon, everything in the store is floating in apparent zero gravity.Another star, Brittany Broski -- known as “kombucha girl” -- posted on the video-sharing app around the same time, biting into a Chipotle burrito and then suddenly sporting a mad-scientist wig. The famous pomeranian, @jiffpom, turns into a vampire after touching Chipotle. All of these TikTok videos were tagged boorito, for a U.S. advertising campaign promoting $4 burritos on Halloween. It’s the most viral campaign Chipotle has ever done, based on one measure: the hashtag has 3.9 billion views on TikTok.That’s a surprising metric given that TikTok has been downloaded only about 145 million times in the U.S, according to Sensor Tower. The viral social media app, where people post funny videos set to music, won’t disclose what counts as a “view,” so it doesn’t necessarily mean 3.9 billion people saw a boorito post, or that they were in the market to purchase a burrito. Still, numbers that high are gratifying for marketing executives justifying their experiments on a relatively new social platform, without much other data to go on and few ways to target their messages to a tailored audience.“The numbers are massive,” said Tressie Lieberman, a vice president of digital marketing at Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. It’s not the restaurant chain’s only campaign that has crossed the 1 billion threshold on TikTok. “I don’t know that any brand has ever gotten that on YouTube,” she added. The company said Boorito sales were 15% higher than a year earlier.TikTok, owned by Chinese internet giant ByteDance Inc., built its U.S. presence off the 2017 purchase of a similar app, Musical.ly, which was popular with young teens. After an advertising blitz on Facebook and Snapchat, TikTok soared in the charts to become a sensation among a younger audience for its feel-good content. Now, marketers are starting to experiment. They mention it alongside Snapchat as a way to reach the elusive teen demographic, to build their preference for brands just as they’re achieving independent spending power. According to influencer analysis firm Captiv8, 69% of TikTok users are age 14 to 26.Still, venturing into TikTok ads can be complicated, and the return-on-investment unproven. One can’t simply run the same ad created for Facebook or YouTube. The format is skits, set to music, that work on a phone held vertically and repeat over and over. Brands can run a campaign to promote a hashtag, like boorito, which can cost around $150,000; they can pay to take over the homescreen of the app, which can cost $50,000 a day for a guaranteed 5 million views; or can even run a campaign with the ability to buy a product within the app, according to case studies reviewed by Captiv8. TikTok said prices fluctuate based on an advertiser’s goals. Any effort requires careful coordination with both the TikTok sales team and outside “creators” -- stars such as King and Broski, the TikTok equivalent of Instagram influencers, who are paid separately.If a brand is spending enough, they can get an introduction to the creators through the company. Other times advertisers have to find connections on their own or through an agency. Since the success of boorito, Chipotle pays TikTok stars special attention, sometimes catering food to a Los Angeles mansion known as the Hype House, which is full of skit-makers collaborating on projects.Any time a new social media platform starts reaching a mass audience, the people who were there first reap the biggest rewards. Charli D’Amelio, whom the New York Times recently called the “reigning queen” of TikTok, started her career there in the summer of 2019 and now has 30.6 million followers. Other previously unknown teens have also seen a dramatic rise.The same is becoming true for advertisers. Brands can pay to promote a hashtag challenge for more people to see it, in the hopes that TikTok’s users will create videos using the hashtag on their own, thereby increasing its reach. The National Football League saw more than 1 billion views for its WeReady hashtag ahead of the Super Bowl in early February. Makeup company MAC saw 2.6 billion views for the tag YouOwnIt.That enormous reach is possible, in part, because the TikTok sensation in the U.S. is so new that it doesn’t have many advertisers -- which means less competition for eyeballs and fewer constraints by the platform to limit or throttle an ad’s visibility.“This type of virality just does not happen on Instagram or Facebook or YouTube,” said Krishna Subramanian, cofounder of Captiv8. “Getting to those billions of views is something that’s happening frequently. It’s something we haven’t seen on any other platform for quite some time.” The amount the creators make is similar to what Instagram influencers make on that app’s disappearing stories product. The biggest stars -- such as Loren Gray, with 39.6 million followers -- can garner $175,000 for a single sponsored TikTok video, Subramanian said.TikTok is new enough that most advertisers are still learning what works on the service. Some have had early success. ELF Cosmetics created an original song for people to use in the background of their own videos, and there are 1.7 million videos on TikTok that use the song. It was so popular that it was even trending on Spotify. The associated hashtag, eyeslipsface, has 4.5 billion views.Anish Dalal, chief executive of digital-marketing company Sapphire Apps Media, has developed his own playbook for TikTok. In some cases, he’ll scour the app for new, popular music that users are uploading and use that same audio clip in his own ads. One current option is the ability to target an ad to TikTok users looking for a specific hashtag. Dalal creates a new hashtag for a brand’s campaign, and pays influencers to create dozens of videos using the hashtag. Once that hashtag is big enough to lure in regular users, he starts running ads targeting the hashtag.The clients we work with “were excited to try something new,” Dalal said. “What we tell brands is, this is essentially Instagram in the early days.”The first-mover advantage will be short-lived. TikTok is already testing a self-service advertising tool, which will make it possible for any brand to buy ads. Snapchat parent Snap Inc. went through a similar transition in 2017, moving from selling expensive ads with a personal touch to a model where anyone could buy them online. The prices for its ads dropped, but eventually the company started building more advertiser relationships and a more stable business.To be successful with that strategy, though, TikTok will have to build more targeting options and controls for advertisers, according to Meghan Myszkowski, head of North American social media advertising at the ad agency Essence. Showing an ad to everyone can translate to a larger viewership, but isn’t necessarily efficient. Brands may waste money showing ads to an irrelevant audience, or run the risk of their ad appearing directly before or after a video that it wouldn’t want to be associated with. TikTok lets its advertisers target using basic information like a user’s location and gender; it’s less granular than what is offered by TikTok’s larger rivals, Instagram and YouTube, where ads can be targeted to specific interests and purchasing behavior.But in order to improve TikTok’s targeting, the app will have to gather more detailed information about its users’ behavior -- something that may prove tricky, as the U.S. government scrutinizes the app’s Chinese ownership. American lawmakers have warned the app could be a security threat; TikTok has repeatedly said it’s not influenced by the Chinese government and rejects the idea that U.S. user data is vulnerable. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., better known as CFIUS, is reviewing ByteDance’s purchase of the business that became TikTok, Bloomberg News has reported.Essence ran some TikTok ads in the first half of 2019, but Myszkowski said the agency has pulled back until TikTok builds more advertiser controls.“With risk can come great return,” Myszkowski added. “If you’re willing to take the risk.”To contact the authors of this story: Sarah Frier in San Francisco at sfrier1@bloomberg.netKurt Wagner in San Francisco at kwagner71@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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