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Snap requires 'a stomach for volatility' but could be a good investment, says RBC's Mahaney

  • RBC's Mark Mahaney said that Snap's work on its advertising marketplace and interface are necessary changes that could drive engagement.
  • Changes to Snap's advertising marketplace could give it a shot at competing with Google and Facebook.

Snap's stock slump in the past month reflects some serious investor concerns about the company, but Mark Mahaney of RBC Capital Markets said on Friday that there are good reasons to be bullish.

The interface redesign and ad marketplace can potentially help Snap build some momentum, said Mahaney, who has a "buy" rating on the stock, in an interview on CNBC's "Power Lunch."

"The user interface change is under debate, but I think at the end, we're going to see rising engagement," Mahaney said.

Celebrities have been less optimistic in recent weeks, and their public concerns have weighed on Snap's shares. Last month, Kylie Jenner sent the stock tumbling after tweeting about her Snapchat displeasure and said, "ugh this is so sad."

Rihanna piled on this week in an Instagram diatribe about an ad that slipped through Snap's review process, adding to an ongoing conversation about the responsibility that social media companies have in moderating content.

Mahaney admits that these issues "are all major problems," but he said that Snap's work on its advertising marketplace could help it win some market share from the industry giants.

"We have yet to see any asset — internet advertising asset — gain real traction, like $4 or $5 billion a year in annual revenue, if the company name wasn't Google or Facebook," Mahaney said. "We'll see really if Snapchat can escape the Facebook-Google death stars, but they are putting in a lot of necessary changes."

While the new user interface may be unpopular, Mahaney trusts that the company did the necessary testing before rolling it out to the public.

Snap "wouldn't expand the user interface for the entire population if they hadn't seen results," he said.

Snap isn't among Mahaney's top three stock picks, but he can still make a case for buying it. He has a $21 price target, representing a 24 percent increase from the current price.

"I think there is an interesting play on the long side, if you have a stomach for volatility," he said.