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Snap CEO Evan Spiegel says Maps are part of the company’s secret sauce. Photo: Snap Maps

Snapchat has seen nearly 40% growth in Stories submissions since launching Snap Maps, Axios has learned. The Venice Beach company believes that Maps are a part of a tool set that empowers users to get creative and express themselves, which CEO Evan Spiegel thinks will drive the company to compete with rivals Facebook and Instagram in the long-term.

Why it matters: Investors have been concerned about Snapchat's value proposition ever since Instagram successfully launched a rival Stories feature last summer, which put a dent in Snap's user growth. But Snapchat thinks it can take on Instagram and its parent company Facebook with user engagement — spurred by camera creativity — which creates more opportunities for advertisers.

Early engagement success through Maps, where users can upload and share content from around the world in seconds, suggests they are on the right track. "We fundamentally believe that by empowering self expression for everyone, we will grow our business," Spiegel said Monday at the Vanity Fair Establishment Summit.

By the numbers:

  • Snapchat expects over a trillion Snaps to be sent this year — roughly 3 billion per day, with daily active users opening the app 20 times per day.
  • Sixty percent of its daily users create content on the platform daily, and more than one third of daily users engage with Snapchat's augmented reality technology — putting Snapchat far ahead of both Apple and Facebook in AR use. By comparison, Facebook has seen a decline in page engagement.
  • p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.8px Arial; color: #222222; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000; background-color: #ffffff} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} In Q2, users under 25 spent more than 40 minutes per day on the app and users 25 and over spent more than 20 minutes per day on the app. By comparison, Instagram users under 25 spend 32 minutes per day on the app, and users over 25 spend 24 minutes a day on the app.

The bottom line: Spiegel thinks this is Snap's secret sauce. "One of the challenges we see on other services ... is you start with this layer of judgment rather than your own experience," he said. "I think that can be really limiting because it's almost paralyzing to think that anything you create is going to be judged by millions and millions of people."

"You have to build a new system that empowers people to express themselves. And that system has to be free of the judgment that I think many people experience today ... Instead of having creativity be controlled by a few people, it democratizes and opens up the ability for the individual to be creative."

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The billionaire balloon

Data: World Inequality Report 2022; Chart: Axios Visuals

The super-rich are getting stupid rich: New data out today shows the share of global wealth held by the richest slice of humanity swelled by almost a full percentage point during the pandemic.

Driving the news: The top 0.01% of individuals now hold about 11% of the world's wealth, compared to just over 10% in 2020, according to the "World Inequality Report 2022," written by Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
1 hour ago - Health

Omicron gives a shot to boosters

Expand chart
Data: CDC; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Vaccination rates have ticked higher since the discovery of the Omicron variant, CDC data shows.

By the numbers: The seven-day average for vaccinations in the U.S. reached about 1.8 million on Monday, up from an average of about 1.3 million a month ago.

Scoop: Over 200 papers quietly sue Big Tech

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Newspapers all over the country have been quietly filing antitrust lawsuits against Google and Facebook for the past year, alleging the two firms monopolized the digital ad market for revenue that would otherwise go to local news. 

Why it matters: What started as a small-town effort to take a stand against Big Tech has turned into a national movement, with over 200 newspapers involved across dozens of states.