Snap shares have been snapping back.
After two years of doldrums, which saw Snap's share price bottom out at $4.82 late last year, Snap (SNAP - Get Report) is inching back in the direction of its $17 IPO price. Shares of Snap closed 3.63% higher on Monday at $12.27 and are up 104% so far this year.
Some of Snap's recent momentum was articulated in a handful of upbeat analyst notes in recent days, which painted an improving picture of the social media app.
Much of it is tied to an issue that has long plagued Snap's growth efforts: technical issues with its Android app, which has hampered its potential in international markets.
In a note to clients on Monday, RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney argued that efforts to stabilize Snap's Android app are "finally gaining some traction" and could kickstart more growth in international markets, where Android is a more popular operating system relative to the U.S. Mahaney set a price target of $17 per share, the same level shares were offered at in its March 2017 initial public offering.
As Snap moves to get its user base growing again, it's also looking for ways to keep users in the app longer.
At a partners summit last week, Snap executives announced the launch of Snap Games, a lightweight gaming platform that users can launch from Snap's chat feature. At launch, it will feature games from Zynga (ZNGA - Get Report) , Spry Fox, ZeptoLab, Game Closure and PikPok, as well as some developed by Snap itself.
"The announcements were not particularly surprising, but Snap is emulating Chinese and Western companies and developing more content to keep its users engaged," said Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter.
Owing in part to a much-disliked redesign of its app, and struggles in getting a new Android app off the ground, Snap's user base declined in 2018. But in its most recent earnings report on Feb. 5, Snap executives reassured investors that its user base was stable at 186 million. The company posted a narrower-than-expected loss of 4 cents a share, and teased the forthcoming global launch of its Android app. Shares have climbed about 68% since then.
The recent rally follows a particularly gloomy period that included the departure of several influential executives, including former CFO Tim Stone and former strategy chief Imran Khan, that did little to inspire confidence in Snap founder Evan Spiegel's ability to turn things around.
Pachter said Snap's leadership appears to have taken such critiques seriously.
"It's clear the founders recognize that they need some adult supervision, and they brought in real professionals in several key positions. The street is regaining confidence that Snap will compete for its fair market share of advertising," he said.