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ANALYSIS: Facebook Is Kicking The Sh*t Out Of SNAP

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Five years ago, Snapchat was the hottest thing around, more popular among users than social media kins Facebook and Instagram.

These days? Not, so much.

For one, since last year’s IPO—then labeled “one of biggest Wall Street flops“—the stock’s been dropping like crazy.

Since February, around the time a single Kylie Jenner tweet wiped out $1.3B in company value, Snap has dropped from a public valuation of $24B to $14B.

And get this: According to its Q2 report, Snap users are dropping like flies. Since Q1, a whopping 3M users have ditched Snap—the first time user count has dropped quarter-over-quarter in the company’s history.

And yes, Facebook has taken some legal hits lately, but Snap could be facing a battle much bigger.

If you can’t buy ’em, steal ’em (their users, that is)

While users are dropping en masse, Snap still sports a robust 188M daily user base. But competition from rivals is getting more intense by the day.

Facebook—who actually tried to buy Snap for $3B in 2013—saw its user base increase to 1.47 billion over the same period.

And powered in large part by their Snapchat story clone Instagram Stories, Instagram has grown to 400M users—more than double Snap’s user count.

Oh, it gets worse.

WhatsApp, another Facebook property, has their own version of Snapchat’s major value prop (WhatsApp Status), leaving you wondering exactly what Snap has to offer.

Users could be wondering the same.

For whatever it’s worth, while Snap’s user count has eroded, WhatsApp has seen a healthy spike in active users, peaking at nearly 450M.

Facebook Stories (at this stage, you get the point) boasts of over 150M users, as well.

When the decline began…

In the chart, we can see that Snap’s user growth has been severely impacted post the release of Instagram Stories two years ago. While Snap’s daily active users (DAU) rose 48% year-over-year in 2016, it fell to 18% towards the end of 2017. An extremely telling blow.

But it’s not just Zuckerberg…

From a business model standpoint, Snap is similar to the other internet blue-chippers (think Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc.). Their revenue is pretty much all advertising income; a total of 97% in 2017.

But that’s pretty much where the comparison ends. Unlike the other tech giants, Snap must be thinking they’re Big Meech or Larry Hoover, because they are blowing money fast. 

Compared to Facebook, Twitter and Google—which have gross margins of 85%, 67%, and 57%, respectively—Snap has a paltry gross margin of 20%.

No way?

Yes way. Snap’s expected to continue to post negative margins in the short term. And they will need to figure out how to boost their average revenue per user (ARPU) substantially if they even want to think about being profitable.

Initially billed as the new Facebook, Snap has pretty much struggled to keep up according to every relevant metric since its IPO.

Facebook, on the other hand? Sure, they had a rough start when they debuted on Wall Street in 2012. But since then, Facebook’s enjoying healthy profits, racking in billions of dollars after tax.

And more importantly, Facebook’s market value has 10X’d, jumping from a $50.92B low to $520B as of Aug. 31, 2018. (They’ve been as high as $615B on July 16.)

So what can Snap do?!

Hard to say. It’s not just Facebook that’s kicking Snap’s rear end. They’re also way behind Twitter in terms of profitability.

In order for Snap to catch up with Twitter’s current growth, Snap will have to increase annual revenue by 46%.

Facebook recovered after a rough start, why won’t Snap?

Well, in theory they could. Facebook did, right? And Facebook’s first few years were much worse.

Valid point, yes. But a couple of key points to consider. For one, Facebook was already the most sought-after social media platform when it went public. That wasn’t really the case with Snap.

And secondly, in order to achieve robust revenue growth, Snap will have to gain market share from Facebook—basically steal its users back. And at this point, that looks almost impossible.

But crazier things have happened. Snap away, WealthGANG…

Money

Will Cloud Gaming Drive The Next Big Gaming Transition?

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The global gaming industry has always been a disruptive one. Nuclear physicist Edward Condon developed the first computer game in 1941 called Nim, one which pretty much saw the computer win 90% of the time.

The disruption didn’t fizzle out. Soon afterwards, the first programming guidelines were written for a chess game developed by Claude Shannon, while a decade later the US Department of Defense created a war game — STAGE.

This really set the stage for what was to come later video games. American investor Ralph Baer wasted no time and conceived the idea of playing video games on TV, and the world’s first gaming console was released. The rapid evolution of gaming consoles coupled with gaming design and the introduction of graphics cards have taken the global gaming industry by storm.

In the last decade, the evolution of smartphones opened up a totally new segment known as digital gaming. In 2016,  Activision Blizzard paid close to $6B to acquire King Digital- a digital gaming behemoth. Not one to trail far behind, the eSports segment, despite its nascency, proved to be a long-term revenue driver for top gaming firms.

Will cloud gaming be the next key driver in global games?

Now companies such as Microsoft [MSFT], Google [GOOG] and Electronic Arts [EA] aim to create a market for cloud gaming. So what exactly is cloud gaming? It’s similar to online streaming services such as Netflix [NFLX] and Amazon Prime [AMZN], but with games.

Cloud gaming will allow users to play games on their computer or mobile devices. A remote server will send players video feed and receive controller inputs. This now means that players no longer need to purchase gaming consoled to play the latest games. All you need is a stable internet connection.

Google’s cloud gaming project is called Project Stream and the company launched a beta test last month. Players required a Google Chrome browser and an internet connection of 25 Mbps or higher.

Microsoft which also manufactures the Xbox consoles announced its cloud gaming platform known as Project xCloud. It has confirmed several Xbox games for beta testing such as Halo, Minecraft, and Gears of War.

The tech giant is hoping for growing interest in cloud gaming to offset any declining sales in gaming consoles.

Following Google and Microsoft, top gaming publisher Electronic Arts has forayed into this space, with a project known as Project Atlas.

Will this move garner global attention?

The shift to cloud gaming is going to be as disruptive as any in the gaming space. Players can now subscribe and stream games online instead of spending over $300 for the latest gaming console. The cloud gaming space is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 26% between 2017 and 2023.

While Netflix and Amazon have changed the consumption of entertainment via cord cutting, it is very likely that cloud gaming will soon be a hit among players in a few years time. Is this the end of the gaming console?

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10 Stock Terms Every Newbie Investor Should Know

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Investing in the financial markets can seem quite tricky. There are far too many stories where people tried to play the stock market without much success. When the markets are on a roll, everyone wants a piece of the pie.

Here are 10 terms every investor cannot afford to miss.

1. Market Cap

The market capitalization of a stock is simply the total number of outstanding shares multiplied by the share price of the company. Companies are generally differentiated on the basis of market cap.

Small cap companies generally have a market cap of between $300M and $2B, while mid-caps are between $2B and $10B. Any company with a market cap over $10B is considered a large-cap. While small-cap and mid-cap stocks have historically outperformed large caps, they are also way riskier.

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Being A Millionaire: What Does It Actually Mean?

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You’re dreaming about luxury vacations and nice cars. OH, you can’t wait to be a millionaire.

But I’m here to tell you to think again.

While having more money is never a bad thing, what you’ve probably envisioned and what the reality is don’t match up. Let me explain.

What is the Definition of a Millionaire?

By definition, a millionaire is a person or family who has a net worth in excess of $1 million dollars. This answer is very U.S. centric as different countries have their own versions of this answer. For example, it takes 117 Japanese Yen to make 1 USD, so $1 million Yen doesn’t get you very far!

Even though in the U.S. the concept of a millionaire is static, what those million dollars gets you over time can change dramatically.

Inflation

An example of that is the effect of inflation. A million dollars in 1950 is worth about $10.5 million in today’s dollars. But, the definition of a “millionaire” didn’t change. So, Today’s millionaires have 1/10 the amount of money that millionaires had when your parents were born.

So, the idea of “millionaire” status is really less meaningful than it was decades ago.

Just the rate of inflation will create more “millionaires” every year.

Exchange Rates

Another thing that messes with the definition of a millionaire is the fluctuation of exchange rates and purchasing power.

Let’s go back to the example above with Japan. We know that 1 US Dollar can get 117 Japanese Yen. We know that $1 can get you a chicken sandwich at a fast food restaurant. If you can go to Japan and get a similar sandwich for ¥ 117 then your purchasing power hasn’t changed.

The reason why I bring this up is to show that having a million dollars may be worth a lot in one place in the world but not worth much elsewhere depending on purchasing power.

How Many Millionaires in the U.S.?

in 2017, there were roughly 11 million US households with a net worth over $1 million or around 15 million individuals.

There are roughly 325 million people in the U.S. which means that around 4.6% of the US population are millionaires. In other words, around 1 in 20 people are millionaires.

Doesn’t sound like it’s rare, does it?

When you go to the mall, a huge number of cars in that parking lot are owned by millionaires.

In your child’s classroom, chances are one of those children were born to a millionaire family.

Chances are, one of your friends or family members is a millionaire and you don’t even know it.

But, if so many people are millionaires, where are all the Lambos and mansions?

It’s Not What You Think

Net Worth is not cash in the bank. You can’t spend $1m when it’s coming from the value of your home or 401k. Even if it was cash in the bank, it’s not even a lot of money.

$1m doesn’t get very far. You can buy a decent house with it but that comes with expensive maintenance, lawn care, repairs, and a crap ton of new furniture to fill up 5x more space than you’re used to having.

It can get a foreign sports car, but that comes along with $500 oil changes and $1,000 for a new tire (remember, you need 4).

$1,000,000 invested conservatively could earn you around $40,000-$50,000 per year in interested. That’s hardly enough to retire on especially as old age comes with added costs of health care.

But, if most of that $1m is in your home, which is true for most people, it’s not earning any interested. Even if it was, you’d have to sell your home to get that money. Then what?

Don’t Focus on Becoming a Millionaire

Of course, anyone would rather have $1m than not have it. But, don’t make it your focus. Having it isn’t going to get your cars or vacations. Net worth is one thing to measure, but it’s more important to focus on cash flow.

Yearly passive income will buy you anything you want. It’s money you can spend. It’s cash in the bank. Net worth is money locked up somewhere. You need assets, but assets don’t buy you things. If that asset doesn’t produce cash flow, you can only use it by selling it and that’s not a good place to be.

What’s more important is focusing on building up passive sources of income from real estate, side businesses, stocks, or other ventures.

Focus on building up $40k or $100k in passive income rather than focusing on having $1m in net worth.

This article originally appeared on IdealREI. Follow them on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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