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Snapchat Engagement is Up During COVID-19: Who is Responding?

Snapchat Engagement is Up During COVID-19: Who is Responding?

Our new normal carries on. People remain isolated in their homes, away from friends and family members. 

This has led to a sharp increase in social media usage. Of the different social media platforms, Snapchat is particularly set up to let people who care about each other connect in fun ways. 

This is why we were interested to see how the company is responding to the coronavirus crisis. Last year, TikTok was Snap’s largest advertiser. But with this pandemic, who is placing more ads on the platform and what are they spending?

MediaRadar takes a look.

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Snapchat amidst the coronavirus pandemic

Snapchat activity has been up since social distancing became most people’s reality. 

Primarily, individuals are using texting and video calls to connect with close ones in new ways. Snap’s fun games and augmented reality (AR) filters set the platform apart from other social platforms. 

But it’s not just the direct lines of communication between people that are realizing a boost in engagement.

Snap details the changes in behavior they have observed recently. In addition to more direct communication between friends, people are increasingly using the platform as a way to:

  • Stay informed on coronavirus
  • Use its new “Here for you” mental health tools 
  • Watch snapchat shows
  • Shop online
  • Connect with food delivery services

With this, Snap users are engaging with advertisements more. An analysis comparing late March to late February revealed that there was a 36% increase in install volume for app ads and a 19% increase in swipe-up rate.

In response to coronavirus, Snapchat has partnered with local health agencies to help get PSA’s out about the virus. The company created new AR filters to support the World Health Organization’s response efforts. Users use the filters to donate to patient care, medical supplies or research and development. 

Snap NYC health commissioner Ad

Industries advertising more on Snapchat in March

After being Snapchat’s largest advertiser last year, TikTok had cooled off their spending on the platform in the beginning of Q1. After mass social distancing became the norm in March, however, TikTok ads picked up dramatically beginning the week of March 9. 

Tik Tok Advertising Spend on Snapchat

The week beginning March 2, Tik Tok spent 4K on ads on the platform. The following week, that number skyrocketed to 197K. 

The creative also shifted in line with quarantine life, such as this bird washing his “hands.”

Tik Tok coronavirus ad

It wasn’t just TikTok that increased their spend. Twitch upped their ad spending on Snapchat by 35% month-over-month in March. The platform is promoting their “You’re already one of us” campaign that is set up to get new game addicts involved on their platform.

It is fitting considering that Twitch streaming has been at an all-time high during this time, according to research by StreamLabs and Stream Hatchet. Twitch viewers streamed more than 3 billion hours worth of online gaming during Q1.

Elsewhere on the internet, Twitch had been promoting it’s COVID-19 benefit event, Stream-Aid 2020.


Some restaurants increased their ad spend on Snap, with more people ordering food delivery through the platform. 

Although it remains a smaller portion of their budget, Chipotle spent more on Snapchat ads in March than in January and February combined. The company has geared its creative on Snapchat towards its free delivery and online ordering using the app.

The US Army also sought new ways to connect with young crowds using the platform. Recruitment efforts are suffering with recruitment centers around the country shutting down. 

It appears that, as a possible solution, the Army began aggressively advertising on Snapchat. Our data shows that the military’s Snap ad activity in March alone was 10x more than its activity in all of 2019. 

For more updates like this, stay tuned. Subscribe to our blog for more updates on coronavirus and its mark on the economy.