From Stanford to Spectacles: The Snapchat Story


Ahead of its first quarter results announcement on Thursday, we’re taking a look at Snap’s history and most memorable moments:

2011: Stanford beginnings – Chances are you didn’t know about it then, but Snapchat launched in September 2011 and quickly grew its user base amongst university and high school students. In the first blog post on the company website, Evan Spiegel explained why he and Bobby Murphy had made the app – to get away from always trying to look perfect for the camera, and focus on the funny moments we share with our best friends – you can read their first blog post here.

2012: Open to the world – Snapchat’s user base grew rapidly in 2012, with users sharing 20 billion photos every day. Snapchat also stopped being an iOS only app – the first Android version was launched in October 2012, paving the way for exponential user growth across the globe.

2013: Funding, funding, funding and stories – through a series of three funding rounds, Snapchat raised $143.5million, and in October 2013, announced Snapchat Stories, a series of images and videos that tell a user’s ‘story’ that day and only last for 24 hours. Snapchat Stories became a mainstay of the app, and, as we’ve seen in recent months, the functionality has been imitated by just about every (Facebook owned) platform out there.

2014: The year of the user (and the advertiser) – Snapchat evolved to allow users to collaborate – at events like music festivals, users were able to share their snaps to a public timeline, contributing to the story of the event. Users also began to see adverts appear in their feeds – Samsung became the first brand to pay the platform for coverage when users were served a Sponsored Story during the AMAs.

2015: Videos and viewers – Snapchat made important UX changes, including the removal of the ‘hold to watch’ requirement, making viewing longer videos much more user friendly. With a reported 6 billion daily video views in November 2015, the changes were timely.

2016: Snap Inc., Stickers and Spectacles – in the year that Snapchat rebranded as Snap Inc., the company also launched stickers, letting users show their personalities on photos with cats, LOLs and WTFs. The biggest noise in 2016 came from the launch of Spectacles – wearable technology that lets Snapchat users document their day without worrying about whether their phone is in their hand or not.

2017: IPO, international headquarters and initial results – this year’s been big for Snap, with the announcement of new international headquarters in the UK, and its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange, selling 200 million shares. This week the company’s first initial profits are due and, with the rise of Instagram stories and other lookalikes, experts are warning that a large loss may be on the cards. Despite that, self serve ads are on the way, meaning more companies will have the chance to market on the platform. Will this affect future results? Watch this space…


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