Interview: In 2019 we will roll out the rebuild of our Android platform: Radhika Kakkar, Snap Inc

Social Samosa
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Radhika Kakkar, Snapchat

Radhika Kakkar, Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations, Snap Inc converses about Indians users and advertisers on Snapchat, vision for the Indian market, and more.

Snapchat recently made their user experience more localized for the audience in India, including features like Discover India and partnering with Indian creators. They plan to make the experience furthermore personalised for Indian users on the app Radhika Kakkar, Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations, Snap Inc told Social Samosa.

In an extensive chat with Social Samosa, she discusses how Snapchat will help marketers in their digital marketing strategies and how to engage the audience on the app.

How's India placed in the APAC growth plans for 2019 for Snapchat India?

We are excited about the opportunity to build our business in India. India is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing smartphone markets. As a mobile-only platform, we see a lot of synergy with the local market where people have shown themselves keen to communicate visually, expressively and freely with their close friends and family. Our user base in India continues to grow and we also see strong engagement. And while we believe Snapchat provides the best communication tool for users of all ages, we have resonated extremely well with a younger demographic globally. India has one of the largest proportions of population in the younger age groups in the world* so we believe we are well-positioned to continue the growth momentum we saw in 2018.

What is the vision/ plan for Snapchat India in the year 2019?

We are committed to investing in India and ensuring that we have the infrastructure in place to support growth. This year we want to build upon our efforts to provide a local and relevant experience for Snapchatters in India. In 2018, we launched localised Creative Tools including Stickers, Filters and Lenses, Bitmoji in Hindi and added more than 14 new local Shows and Publisher Stories to Discover including Brut. India, The Logical Indian, FilterCopy from Pocket Aces, The Q India, Saavn’s OnRecord and MissMalini. In December we also partnered with Red Chillies Entertainment for the launch of Zero and participated in the Mood Indigo college festival.

In 2019 we will be rolling out the rebuild of our Android platform to make it faster and more responsive on low-end and mid-range devices. We believe that this will be an important lever for future growth in India. We are also investing in localizing the app beyond just English to several Indian languages covering broader geography.

In addition, we will continue to educate users about Snapchat and encourage healthy communication. For example, last year we launched a college ambassador program starting in Mumbai to help create on-the-ground experiences and educational opportunities for students.  In December, we acted as the title sponsor for Mood Indigo to help educate our college-aged audience about the platform.

How was the growth for Snapchat India in terms of revenue and the audience growth last year? Is there a growth in Month on Month active users? Any projections for 2019?

2018 was an exciting year for us - in May we launched our partnership with Tyroo, to make Snapchat’s advertising platform available to Indian advertisers. We’re thrilled with the number of new advertisers who have used Snapchat to connect with their customer base since then.

While we don’t break out our revenue or audience numbers on an individual market basis, we saw strong growth in terms of daily active users in 2018 and we expect to continue to build on this in 2019.

Additionally, we know Snapchat resonates well with India’s young population which is a great opportunity for advertisers. Over the next year, we plan to further develop our commercial offering and build even more relationships with Indian advertisers.

What are the sectors that have seen growth on Snapchat and why?

Performance advertising, in particular advertisers, focused on driving app installs, has been an initial area of focus for us in India and we’ve seen excellent results. We know that half of all daily users on Snapchat play with Lenses every day - this is a great opportunity for advertisers. In 2019, our focus will be introducing Snap’s brand awareness products - Lenses in particular, to the Indian advertising community.

In terms of usage patterns, what are the key user behavior trends of Indian Users on Snapchat?

While there may be some slight differences between how people in different regions use Snapchat, behavior trends tend to be pretty consistent. First and foremost, Snapchatters in India enjoy communicating visually via our camera with close friends and family, as most Snapchatters do globally. We have observed certain distinct behaviors in India such as using Snapchat to wish friends and family a “Good Morning” -- an observation that led us to create custom “Good Morning” filters. Creative Tools, including lenses, filters, stickers, and Bitmoji are also very popular in India, which led us to engage local design firms to create culturally relevant concepts for users. We’ve also seen Snapchatters keen to engage with our recently-expanded Discover page which features localized Indian content.

Also read: Snapchat introduces end to end encryption for Snaps shared

What are the five things Indian Creators should watch out for on Snapchat?

Snapchat has a  growing and engaged Indian audience and over the past year, we have welcomed some fantastic creators to the platform in 2018 including Shah Rukh Kahn, Miss Malini, Rannvijay Singh, Harsh Beniwal, Kaneez Surka, Ahsaas Channa, and Yo Yo Honey Singh.

The five important things that India Creators should note are:

  • Snapchat is a positive environment for Creators and their audiences - we built Snapchat as an antidote to social media. It deletes by default, just like a natural conversation, and avoids the vanity metrics of social media such as likes, shares and comments.
  • Snapchat’s Lens’ Studio, which provides Creators the tools to create an Augmented Reality experience that can then be shared with Snapchatters, is going from strength to strength. To date, more than 250,000 Lenses have been submitted by the Snapchat community and viewed more than 15 billion times.
  • Snapchat will continue to encourage a deep connection between a creator and their fan base. For example on Snapchat’s Discover page, fans can subscribe to their favorite creators.
  • Snapchat is continually improving insights for the Creator community to better understand their audience and encourage the creation of compelling content.
  • Through Snapchat’s enhanced camera tools and ever-improving features across the platform Creators now have the tools to create compelling and engaging content for their followers.

With Discover being launched in India, Is Snapchat able to engage the audience with their vertical video content? How has been the response so far to India tailored content launched last year?

Localisation has always been a priority for Snap. We believe it is important for Snapchatters to have content that is in their own language, informative, entertaining and full of relevance to their everyday lives. We are so excited to have launched local content in India in November. We have partnered with some brilliant media brands and creators such as Pocket Aces, TVF Media Labs, Miss Malini and many more. It’s still early days, but we are beginning to see these Shows and Publisher Stories grow engaged audiences, and we plan to add new partners this year.

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