Snapchat is a Burrito

Nick Cicero

August 9, 2015

This blog was originally posted on
Conviva Acquired Delmondo in November of 2018 and has become Conviva Social Insights.

I was asked to give a five minute presentation at a Producer’s Guild of America event recently on Snapchat and their influence in the area of mobile video. 

Five minutes isn’t much time to talk about the future of mobile video, one of the hottest topics in advertising. It’s estimated that spending will reach $6 billion in the US by 2018, representing about half of the total online video ad spend.

But when I sat down to think more about it, over lunch at Chipotle in fact, the answer was right in the palm of my hand.

Snapchat (and mobile video) is like a burrito, you can take it wherever you want, put anything in it, it’s easily consumed and it disappears when you’re done. Click to tweet this.

I have the research to prove it, look at the growth of mobile video in the graph below:

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 2.20.21 PM

Now notice the sharp growth of Chipotle during the same time:

chipotle growth

When you layer both graphs on top of one another, you can see there’s a clear similarity in their growth:

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 2.20.32 PM

This is no coincidence, ok maybe it is…but when you think about it, they do share a lot of similarities that make them popular.

1. They’re both mobile-first devices

Did you know that much like Snapchat, the burrito itself is a product of the west coast, and it was built around a mobile-first audience? That’s right.

The Vaqueros in the 1800’s needed a way to carry their food in their saddlebags and they settled on the burrito for it’s mobile-friendly functionality.

Later, thanks to the rapid expansion and growth of US-Mexican borders and in part, the growth of telegraph systems of the early 1900’s, burrito hotspots sprung up all over, giving way to their own unique forms.

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 3.43.42 PM

Which leads us to our next point…

2. You can put anything in them.


Think about all the best types of burritos. They all start with the same flour tortilla, but you can pretty much fill it with anything you want.

You have your pork, chicken, steak, but then you can go beef tongue, mix it up with a little shrimp. Rice? Beans? Guac (it’s extra). They even now have sushirittos, a monster hybrid combining the best parts of a sushi roll into a massive meal.

Snapchat is the same way. By starting with a messaging platform that a lot of people now want to be on, they can fill in a bunch of other types of stuff. You can draw, you can add text or stitch video together into amazing stories. You can share those with the world or you can send to your friends.

They’ve curated “Our Stories” – editorial content from their own team pulling in viewpoints from the overall Snapchat audience, and premium content from publishers on Discover with longer videos, photos and articles.

Let’s be real, it’s all about sheer user acquisition.

Facebook has grown to be the player they are because they’ve been working hard to convert a desktop audience into massive mobile audience in palm of their hand.

Snapchat is doing the same, only mobile from the ground up with a tortilla that everyone wants. 

3. It disappears when you’re done.

Do I really need to say any more? 😉


View the slides for the presentation below. Note this presentation was intended to be humorous and tongue-in-cheek. While the facts above are true, there is little to no correlation to the growth of burritos and the growth of mobile video.


evan spiegel