Editor’s note: Janice Caston is VP global marketing at marketing research firm Toluna, New York. 

Since its debut in 2011, Snapchat has been gaining momentum. Users first gravitated toward the social network because it offered something no other social network at the time did: people could share images with their friends that would automatically disappear. Since then it has significantly expanded its features and exploded in popularity.

Fast forward to 2017, and Snap, the company which owns Snapchat, has recently gone public – sparking increased interest in how marketers can leverage the social network to communicate with potential customers and drive brand loyalty.

This March, Toluna surveyed more than 1,000 consumers in the U.S. to find out how different populations are using Snapchat and how they interact with brands on the social network.

The data shows a distinct difference in how men and women use Snapchat. Women are most likely to use Snapchat to communicate one-on-one with close friends (37 percent), while men are more inclined to use the social network to follow the news (26 percent) or celebrities (23 percent).

Men are also far more likely to view branded content and to say that they like that content. In the U.S., 50 percent of men surveyed had used Snapchat Discover, compared to 40 percent of women. Additionally, when asked to pick their favorite Snapchat feature, men were twice as likely (22 percent of men vs. 11 percent of women) to select Snapchat Discover, a feature which allows users to view branded content, and indicated they are more likely to view celebrity content (48 percent of men vs. 44 percent of women). When it comes to interacting with branded content on Snapchat, the only area in which women outpaced men was using branded filters or lens (46 percent women vs. 44 percent men).

Men and women also reported different preferences for the types of brands they ...