Snapchat’s parent Snap Inc. announced a net loss of $2.2 billion in its first quarter earnings Wednesday, its first full report to investors since going public March 2. The report sent share prices plunging in after-hours trading.
The company reported about $150 million in revenue. The net loss included $2 billion from “stock-based compensation expense.” This loss may have been part of the reason behind the drop in price.
Snapchat debuted at $17 a share and closed at $24.48 in its first day of trading. It closed at $22.98 Wednesday but by 5:43 p.m. EDT, shares had plunged to $17.59 and were heading lower, indicating a possible loss of confidence in the company from investors.
During a conference call about the quarterly earnings Snap founder and CEO, Evan Spiegel, said the company had focused the first quarter on performance, quality and automation, emphasizing the strides the company has made in Android usability. He said Android users accounted for more than 30 percent of new users during the quarter.
The CEO also stressed advertising during the call, saying the company had made “significant progress” in automating the advertising process during the quarter. The automation means better ads for viewers, better pricing for advertisers and more money per impression for Snap.
“Our progress this quarter should provide a strong foundation as we continue to build our business,” he concluded.
While the company did see revenue losses, it also saw an increase in daily active users. The Q1 report says the app saw 166 million daily active users during the first quarter, up from 158 million during the final quarter of 2016.
Snapchat added several updates during the quarter that helped keep loyal users on the app. Competitor Instagram, owned by Facebook, added Snapchat clone “stories” last summer and has since been updating the feature to draw users. Instagram announced in April it had 700 million users, a follow-up to a discrete announcement the app had 200 million daily active users on stories alone.
Users of the two apps are now faced with using two apps that essentially have the same features, or choosing between the two. Additional features roll out frequently on each. Snapchat Tuesday released a redesigned toolbar in the app, a “magic eraser” tool and infinite timer. This update followed an April update that introduced augmented reality to the app, something Facebook also introduced later that same day. Instagram also has been rolling out updates with new stickers, centralized direct messaging and geotagging.
While users debate which app to use, investors in Snap are trying to decide whether to keep their shares, something the drop in price indicates many are choosing not to do. But the strides Snap claims to have made in the first quarter may not be enough to instill confidence in investors when it comes to the drop in revenue and competition from Instagram.