Jul 24, 2019

Snapchat snaps back

Illustration: Axios Visuals

Snapchat's parent company has had a bumpy ride through a series of product and corporate setbacks in 2018. But now it's slowly making a comeback.

Why it matters: Snap's story is yet another example of the harsh realities of going public and facing comparisons to expansive rivals—in this case, Facebook. Now that Snap is regaining momentum, investors' enthusiasm for the company's long-term potential is also creeping back.

Driving the news: Snap surprised Wall Street Tuesday with better-than-expected second quarter earnings results, proving that its efforts to expand globally are working.

  • The company added 13 million new daily active users last quarter, and increased the amount of revenue it made per user by 37% year over year. That marked the second quarter in a row that Snapchat posted user growth, after losing users last year.
  • Analysts were already anticipating strong growth, with many having upgraded Snap's stock ahead of the earnings report, but a 12% bump in Snap's stock price following the announcement shows that investors are bullish on Snap's forward outlook.

Between the lines: Among the slew of news the company discussed on Tuesday's earnings call, three points stood out as priorities for the company:

  1. AR: Snap is seeing positive momentum in its suite of creative tools, particularly its augmented reality product called Lenses. Snapchat estimates that a whopping 7 to 9 million of its 13 million new users joined the app because of the face swap filters.
  2. Discover: Snap says its content audience increased 35% year-over-year and that total daily time spent watching shows on its content platform Discover increased by over 60% year-over-year.
  3. Snap kit: Snapchat only recently unveiled its software kits, which let third-party developers integrate Snapchat tools and features into their apps. Snap says that 11 apps created by its partners are currently in the Top 100 of the iOS App Store and Google Play Store.

The big picture: Tuesday's outcome shows renewed investor optimism about Snap's prospects.

  • The company narrowed its quarterly losses to $255 million from $353 million this time last year, and also beat analyst expectations of its losses.
  • One of Snapchat's social media rivals, Twitter, faced similar challenges in its early years as a public company, but has now been profitable for the past six quarters.

Yes, but: Snapchat still has a long way to go to convince investors that it has the growth potential of rival apps like Facebook-owned Instagram, which already has more than 1 billion users globally, or even Chinese-owned karaoke app TikTok, which reportedly crossed the 1 billion mark for worldwide installs in February.

Go deeper: Snap stock price up after beating Q2 analyst expectations

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Snap prices $1.1 billion of convertible notes

Illustration: Axios Visuals

Snap priced $1.1 billion of convertible notes, due in 2026. This is slightly up-sized from a $1 billion offering size, and expectations are that it will close by Friday.

Why it matters: It reflects how Snap has become tech's comeback kid. The "camera company" was valued at $29 billion in its first day of post-IPO trading in early 2017 — or $26.05 per share — before bottoming out at less than $5 per share at year-end 2018. Last week it briefly regained its $17 IPO price on better-than-expected Q2 earnings, and the $1.1 billion infusion should help it invest more in both content and features.

Go deeper: Snapchat snaps back

70 mayors warn Trump's planned food stamps cuts will harm economies

Lazarus House Ministries morning soup kitchen on Aug. 16 in Lawrence, Mass. 36% of residents there receive SNAP aid. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The U.S. Conference of Mayors released a bipartisan letter Wednesday signed by 70 mayors stating their "strong opposition" to Trump administration plans t0 cut 3.1 million people from a food stamps program.

Why it matters: In the letter to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Associate Administrator Jessica Shahin, the mayors warn that changes to the program would harm local and regional economies and have a devastating impact on the vulnerable Americans.

Go deeperArrowAug 21, 2019

Twitter stock rises on better-than-expected performance in new user metric

Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Twitter's stock was up nearly 4% in pre-market trading Friday, after the company said it added more "monetizable" daily users than investors had anticipated.

Yes, but: The company said it has been making investments in health and safety features on the platform, and forecasted that those investments would increase operating costs by 20% over the course of the entire fiscal year.

Go deeperArrowJul 26, 2019