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Social Media Stock Update Ahead of Earnings Season

As earning’s season approaches, here’s a look at where some of the top social media apps stand at the beginning of 2020.
TikTok
TikTok burst onto the U.S. scene over the last year or so, becoming the seventh most downloaded app, not just of the year, but of the last decade according to App Annie. Parent company ByteDance says they have more than a billion monthly active users across all of their apps, with the majority outside of China where the company is headquartered.
User growth is booming, despite fears of Chinese surveillance. But media partners and content creators have noted they haven’t been able to monetize their TikTok presence. That may change in the near future, with TikTok looking closely at advertising options. The company is reportedly considering the addition of tailored ads to personalized feeds, which not only ensures users get relevant content but also helps brands feel they are investing in safe environments.
ByteDance is currently not a public company and it has denied reports it plans to do so in 2020.
Instagram
With more than one billion monthly active users, it’s no surprise 73.2 percent of U.S. marketers are on Instagram, per eMarketer, and analysts are betting it still has potential for growth.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch reiterated its buy rating on parent company Facebook ($FB) because it felt the company will be able to overcome any regulatory issues it might encounter. It also saw “incremental opportunities” for several initiatives to grow, including Instagram shopping and Instagram Explore ads.
Instagram’s vice president of media and advertising Jim Squires spoke to Cheddar at the CES trade show in Las Vegas this month about the platform’s future. He said the company is focused on expanding several signature features including Stories, advertising options in its Explore tab, and shopping on the platform. It also has an eye on competitors, including the expansion of TikTok-like features, including the ability to edit the looping clips it calls Boomerangs and a new Stories option called Reels, which allows people to add music and editing to short clips, and is currently being tested in Brazil.
Also, in an effort to improve well-being on the platform, Instagram is working on combatting bullying by testing tools like one that hides comments from harassing individuals without letting them know, in order to prevent an escalation.
Facebook’s next earnings report is scheduled for January 29.
Pinterest
A recent eMarketer report suggested Pinterest may be the third-largest social media company in the U.S., based on its number of users. Wells Fargo upgraded the stock due to the platform’s ability to engage its users and says the company’s fundamentals look strong with a 30 percent upside in its shares.
Pinterest ($PINS) may only have 300 million monthly active users, but it has really resonated with women. It reaches approximately 80 percent of mothers in the U.S. While only 34 percent of U.S. marketers are currently on Pinterest according to eMarketer, Cowen and Company said that just under half of its survey-takers found Pinterest was the best platform for discovering or shopping for products. For comparison, only 12 percent said the same for Instagram.
Pinterest is slated to report earnings on February 6.
Snap
Though Pinterest may be beating Snap in the number of its users and TikTok is growing in popularity, some analysts are still bullish on the company.
UBS upgraded the stock this month thanks to Snap’s new management team, which is focusing on user growth, especially with last year’s Android app update. Its analysts noted Snap ad budget allocations are increasing steadily, and ad pricing could go up in the not-so-distant future.
Snap ($SNAP) has more than 210 million daily active users, but more importantly, it is popular with the key youth demographic. About 62 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds use Snapchat according to Pew Research, with the majority of that cohort skewing younger.
Snap’s next earnings report is expected on February 4.
Twitter
Twitter shares were down 20 percent after it missed earnings and revenue estimates during its third-quarter report. The company blamed glitches in ad products and advertising seasonality. In the Q4 earnings report, investors will be looking for higher revenue and user growth to see if Twitter can bounce back.
However, UBS cautions Twitter ($TWTR) may not be out of the woods. Its investments in security and ad tech are costly, and it may affect its bottom line.
Twitter is scheduled to report earnings on February 6.
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