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Snapchat's young users are at once its greatest asset — and one of its biggest risks

Snapchat's young users are at once its greatest asset — and one of its biggest risks

Kids don’t use email any more. Facebook is for Mom and Dad. And Yik Yak is so 2015. 

When it comes to communication in 2017, Snapchat is where it’s at. 

Snap Inc.’s ability to court a young demographic with its ephemeral photo and video messaging app Snapchat has been one of its defining characteristics and the pillar of its success. But as the company prepares for its stock market debut, its reliance on users under the age of 25 could also be one of its biggest liabilities.

“It’s the rocks many ships have crashed on,” said Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, who has studied companies that staked their...

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