Snapchat has hit the 100-million-user milestone India on a monthly basis, Snap Co-Founder and CEO Evan Spiegel announced at the virtual Snap for India 2021 event on Wednesday. The Santa Monica, California-headquartered company also revealed its local partnerships at the second edition of its India-centric event to further grow the social media camera app that is focussed on attracting users through augmented reality (AR) filters. It also claimed to have increased its net new advertisers by 70 percent in 2020 and is introducing new monetisation streams for users creating content on Snapchat.
Among its new partners, Snap announced that it is working with Flipkart to develop AR experiences for e-commerce. The company is deploying its Camera Kit, which is essentially an end-to-end solution for third-party developers, within Flipkart’s Camera Storefront to let online customers shop for new products by virtually experiencing them at their place.
Snap also announced its tie-up with Zomato as another major partnership in India. It is aimed to help users access restaurant information and be able to place food orders directly from their personal Map on the Snapchat app.
Additionally, Snap is offering virtual try-ons for Snapchat users by bringing Mumbai-based online cosmetics company Sugar Cosmetics and beauty brand MyGlamm to its AR shopping beta programme.
“We have made significant investments to localise the Snapchat experience for the Indian community. We have added culturally relevant content, developed highly active and creative local creator communities, and invested in local products, marketing initiatives, and language support,” Spiegel said in a prepared statement.
Alongside local partnerships, Snap is working with various Android original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to expand Snapchat.
Nana Murugesan, Managing Director of International Markets at Snap, told Gadgets 360 in a virtual interview that the company’s OEM strategy has two distinct parts. “One is what we call the on-Snapchat OEM strategy and the other one is off-Snapchat OEM strategy,” he said.
Using the on-Snapchat strategy, Snap is increasing the distribution of the app. The company said that there are over 100 million devices in India that have the pre-installed Snapchat app.
However, Snap is also trying to get deeper in the country by using its off-Snapchat OEM strategy that is aimed to deliver the AR experiences that the app offers natively but without requiring its full-fledged existence.
Samsung was one of the early smartphone makers to deploy Snapchat’s AR experiences within its native camera app. Nevertheless, Snap is expanding that experience with the upcoming JioPhone Next.
“If you look at a JioPhone Next through our partnership with Google, when you open up a JioPhone Next and you open the camera, Snapchat is not even there but when you open up a JioPhone Next camera the Snapchat lenses are gonna be inside the camera, like native camera integration of our Snapchat lenses,” Murugesan told Gadgets 360.
Alongside AR, Snap is also getting user attention in India for its unique emoji experiences that comes through the dedicated app called Bitmoji. The company claimed that India is the second largest and the fastest growing market for the Bitmoji app. It, however, didn’t provide any exact numbers to justify the claim.
Snap also asserted that its community in the country is growing, with 300 Snap Stars since 2020. Snap Stars are particularly the Snapchat users that are verified by the company at its discretion.
Users who are chosen as Snap Stars in India are now provided with access to a feature called ‘Gifting’ through which they will be able to monetise their content by receiving ‘Gifts’ from their fans through Story Replies. This will be in addition to Creator Marketplace that Snap launched earlier this year and is rolling out to Snap Stars in India soon through which brands will directly connect with the active creators to pay them for producing branded content.
Last year, Snapchat introduced a feature called Spotlight that allows users to share short-video content — just like TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts. That feature entered India in March this year and since its launch, the company claimed that the daily Spotlight story view time has quadrupled.
Snap has also so far created AR lenses for 75 local festivals and brought over 350 hyperlocal geofilters across various Indian cities. It also in August brought its AR feature Landmarker to New Delhi’s India Gate — after bringing that experience to Agra’s Taj Mahal and Mumbai’s Gateway of India. Further, the company is claimed to have conducted Lens Studio workshops to teach AR to over 5,000 students in the country.
More room to grow
For the last few years, Snap has started considering India as one of its key potential markets. The company established its local office in Mumbai in 2019 and has since then expanded language support and localisation efforts for the Snapchat app. A large number of local content creators are, however, yet to join the list of active Snapchatters.
“We believe that there is a lot of headroom left for us in India. And I think this is only the start of it. As we get more and more friends and family into the platform, as people bring them in, and people visually communicate and celebrate, we are very, very bullish about our momentum going forward,” said Snap’s Murugesan.
Snapchat marked over 66 percent growth in its reach in India just a few months after surpassing the previous milestone of 60 million consumers in the fourth quarter of 2020. But the 100 million reach is still far behind the over 180 million users that are available on Facebook’s Instagram in the country, as per the data available on Statista.
On whether India is a profitable market for Snap, Murugesan told Gadgets 360 that the company is currently in the second stage of market development that is of hyper growth. He didn’t explicitly confirm the profitability part, though.
“In this stage, the focus is all about growth and engagement, relevance, like really making sure that we become a really platform of choice when it comes to augmented reality, authentic human connections and communication, and really focusing on that and making sure that we are able to drive that hyper growth and really focused on that like hyper focus on hyper growth, as I call it. So that’s the focus that we have in India,” he said.