Snapchat’s “Our Stories” are generating tens of millions of views

Snapchat is telling people how many views their “Our Story” clip receives if they make one in the collective, crowdsourced section. Based on people I’ve interviewed, it appears Snapchat’s Our Stories are hitting viewing numbers that television’s most popular shows see, although it’s tough to get a clear picture of Snapchat’s metrics.

snapchat snowmageddon

One user’s snap was viewed almost 25 million times after appearing in New York’s Snowmaggedon “Our Story.”

A few weeks ago, a friend sent me a Snapchat screenshot of someone’s contribution to New York’s Snowmageddon “Our Story.” The app showed them that it was viewed 25 million times and users took a screenshot of it 5,000 times.

I found other “Our Story” contributors who also saw views in the tens of millions, one of whom saw views as high as 27 million. For the Snapchat newbies, “Our Story” is a collection of snaps submitted by users about certain events, like music festivals and holidays. These last 24 hours before disappearing.

To put “27 million views” in context, Sunday’s Oscars’ views averaged 36.6 million people in the U.S., according to Nielsen ratings. That’s the Oscars — one of television’s most popular live events. Breaking Bad, which famously smashed viewership records in its season finale, averaged 10.3 million viewers for that episode. The caveat for both of these numbers is that Nielsen ratings aren’t always on point, but they at least give a ballpark estimate.

After this story ran, Snapchat reached out and clarified that these are unique user views — in other words, the “Our Story” view number isn’t inflated by people watching the story multiple times. It’s the number of actual users who viewed it. Snapchat’s most recently rumored monthly active user number is 100 million.

As far as I can tell, Snapchat’s “Our Story” metric hasn’t been reported yet. Prior to publishing, a Snapchat spokesperson wouldn’t confirm the numbers with me. She said the only number Snapchat is currently releasing publicly about story views is that one billion stories are viewed a day, which includes individual users’ stories. As a result, it doesn’t give us a good sense of Snapchat’s ability to rival television with its “second screen” features like Our Story and Discover.

After publishing, the company wouldn’t go on record confirming that they’re seeing this amount of views. They did however said the numbers sent to users who get a snap into a story are accurate.

I hopped on the phone with the 25 million Snowmageddon “Our Story” contributor, who wanted to remain anonymous, and they confirmed the data. I found nine other examples on Twitter of people who posted similar numbers after their snaps made it in an Our Story. Almost half of them were over 10 million views.

It’s worth noting that some of these people published their screenshots earlier in the day, and they continued accumulating views as the 24-hour cycle went on. It’s also worth noting that people whose snaps appear earlier in the collaborative story likely see much higher views that those whose snaps appear later.

Dana Krangel's snap of Warehaus's social headphones was viewed by over 27 million people after it appeared in the CES "Techies in Vegas" Snapchat story

Dana Krangel’s snap of Wearhaus’s social headphones was viewed by over 27 million people after it appeared in the CES “Techies in Vegas” Snapchat story

Dana Krangel, a marketing manager for a social headphones company, landed the first snap on the CES “Techies in Vegas” story. It saw over 27 million views. “I didn’t even realize it made it to the Our Story until all these random people from my past started posting on my Facebook wall,” Krangel told me. “My sister doesn’t have Snapchat and our 13-yr-old niece sent it to her. Someone in New Zealand even tweeted it at me.”

Social media star Jerome Jarre revealed his audience in a Time article — he sees roughly a million views a day for his personal Snapchat Story. Views of Discover content, which are clips reported and curated by media companies like Vice and CNN, are rumored to be very high but the exact numbers aren’t public.

These early “Our Story” metrics give us a more concrete sense of Snapchat’s potential as an entertainment broadcasting entity.

Google’s Chromecast has been used for more than one billion casts

Google still hasn’t released any sales numbers for its Chromecast streaming stick, but Google’s Chief Business officer Omid Kordestani updated investors on one metric during the company’s Q4 call Thursday: Chromecast reached one billion cast sessions last week, Kordestani said.

This means that Chromecast usage seems to be accelerating: Google VP of product management Mario Queiroz told us at our Structure Connect back in October that Chromecast had reached 650 million cast sessions. Three months before that, the number of sessions was at 400 million.

Google defines a “cast session” as a user pressing the cast button within an Android, iOS or web app. In other words: Streaming multiple YouTube videos to your TV one after another counts as just one session.

Google put a lot of energy into international expansion for Chromecast in 2014. At CES, it also introduced Google Cast for audio, adding casting to connected loudspeakers from Denon, LG and Sony. Queiroz told me at Structure Connect that the company plans to introduce a V2 of Chromecast in the future.

Here’s my interview with Queiroz back in October:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EXUOyAjNSg]

Vine rings in its second year by hitting 1.5 billion daily loops

Video app Vine celebrated its second anniversary Saturday, prompting product head Jason Toff to share new metrics. The company is now seeing 1.5 billion loops, or plays, a day of its six second videos. That compares to the “more than one billion” daily it announced in October.

1.5 billion a day is a huge number. Multiply it by 365 days of the year and Vine is seeing more than half a trillion loops yearly.

But it comes with a caveat. Vine videos are set to repeat themselves automatically, so 1.5 billion loops doesn’t represent the amount of individual, unique views by new people. If someone leaves their feed unattended, the views can multiply quickly.

The most recent user number Vine released was 40 million registered users, in August 2013. The company notably left out monthly active users and as far as I can tell it hasn’t released new user metrics since. I’ve reached out to the company to confirm and will update if I hear back. It’s possible that user growth itself has stagnated on the application even as its video plays have grown. Lots of people consume Vines other places than the app, watching them on Facebook, Twitter, or even YouTube.

In terms of viewing, the new stats show Vine has grown from its earlier self as it matured as a video application. It’s a mainstay of entertainment for teenagers, giving them a second screen experience.

Although the company hasn’t introduced advertising, brands pay the top Vine celebrities, the stars with the most followers, to do product placement in their videos or even outright mini commercials. The six second limitation to the video has spurred new, creative forms of expression from stop motion art to its own genre of slapstick comedy.

As I’ve written about, the earliest Vine stars are graduating from the application, starting to land Hollywood TV show parts and record deals, parlaying their teen social media stardom to a broader, more mainstream audience. Vine’s owner Twitter hasn’t entirely managed to keep up. It’s ignored some of its biggest celebrities, perhaps to keep the app focused on average users instead of just highlighting the famous faces. But its better-funded competitors, like Facebook and Instagram, have started wooing the key content creators in Twitter’s absence.

In typical Twitter fashion, the Vine product has managed to grow in spite of its parent company’s potential pitfalls. As it rounds its two year mark, the application and its stars show no sign of slowing.