Investing can be hard. To succeed, you have to do your research, set a course, and follow it through. Rarely do expectations match reality -- for better or worse. But what's important is that you stick with your plan and remember your central investment thesis, or the very reason you bought a stock in the first place.

During the first week of April, I established new positions in several companies. I want to highlight two of them: Snap (SNAP 1.68%) and Airbnb (ABNB 1.87%)Here I'll explain why I bought them and what key developments I'll be watching.

Three teenagers outside looking at a smartphone and smiling.

Image source: Getty Images.

Snap

What I love about Snap is that it has several key trends on its side. First, the company is a massive hit with young people. According to internal data, over 75% of 13 to 34 year olds in the U.S., U.K., Australia, France, and the Netherlands use Snapchat.

That type of reach is pure gold to advertisers who want to market their products to teenagers and young adults who may be looking to buy their first car, get married, or start a family. Marketers know that it's easier to establish brand loyalty among young people, and they're willing to pay a premium to reach those impressionable consumers.

I also love Snap's potential synergies with the metaverse. Snap defines itself as a camera company that "contributes to human progress by empowering people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world, and have fun together." This mission statement dovetails nicely with the metaverse -- a space where users interact with others in a computer-generated or augmented reality (AR).

In its most recent quarter, Snap reported that, on average, over 200 million 'snapchatters' engaged with its AR features daily. This includes the company's AR user-to-user chat lenses, scans of brick-and-mortar items, and local lenses that transform real-world landscapes into AR experiences.Since most Snap users are already familiar with the company's AR -- and accustomed to interacting with it on their phones -- I think Snap has a leg up on competitors like Meta.

Third, Snap's financial fundamentals are solid. In 2021, revenue hit $4.1 billion, representing year-over-year growth of 64%. Gross margins increased to 58%. Daily active users grew to 300 million from 245 million the year prior, and average revenue per user (ARPU) hit $4.06 in the fourth quarter of 2021, up by $0.57 compared to the earlier quarter. What's more, the company is expected to turn a profit for the first time in 2022.

Analysts expect earnings per share (EPS) of $0.52 for the full year and $0.01 for the first quarter of 2022. The company reports first-quarter results on April 21. I'll be keeping a keen eye on user growth and ARPU -- two of the most important figures for a social media company.

Airbnb

The second stock I couldn't wait to get my hands on was Airbnb. Like Snap, Airbnb has several megatrends that are providing it with favorable tailwinds.

First, Americans are starting to travel again. Strong earnings from Delta point to the fact that the recovery in commercial travel is real. Undoubtedly, the pandemic created a tremendous amount of pent-up demand for vacations. And as travel picks up, Airbnb stands to benefit.

The second big reason I wanted to own Airbnb is because of its status as a 'disruptor.' Traditional hotel companies must make enormous investments in capital expenditures to provide their customers with new destinations and newly renovated rooms. On the other hand, Airbnb relies on its hosts to make upgrades. Moreover, with some four million hosts in its network, Airbnb offers locations and experiences that are tough to match.

Finally, the company's finances are in good shape. Revenues for 2021 were $6.0 billion -- up 77% from a pandemic-dampened 2020. Analysts expect 2022 EPS to reach $1.34, up from $0.97 two months ago.

The company doesn't report first-quarter results until mid-May. When they do, I'll want to see growth in gross booking value and average daily rates, both of which are crucial to Airbnb's long-term prospects.