Snapchat, a late entrant to India, is finally waking up to the potential of the country’s social media industry. In spite of the fact that Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and the most recent entrant, TikTok, have flooded the market, India has still helped Snap turn around its business. The messaging platform is now looking to further unleash the potential of the market.
“Snap is seeing “extraordinary growth” in India, both in terms of bringing on new users and getting existing ones to use the app more,” Snap chief strategy officer Jared Grusd said, as quoted by The Information.
Over the course of the media interview, he also agreed that it is a big change for a company that previously paid little attention to India and instead focused on richer markets like the US and Western Europe.
How Snapchat Increased Its India Focus
Snapchat opened its first office in India with Mumbai as its base in the country in August 2019. The platform has been building a local team to understand Indian audiences better. “We believe that building a team locally will allow us to create the best possible experience for local Snapchatters. We continue to expand our strategic partnerships with regional media companies add more community content, and work with local content creators,” Grusd had said during the launch.
In 2017, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel allegedly told an employee that the reason Snapchat is not focussing on the Indian market is that the “app is only for rich people.” He had allegedly said that he did not want to expand into “poor countries like India and Spain”, according to a Variety report. The comment resulted in a lot of negative publicity as it garnered criticisms from users across social media platforms.
In contrast to the above comments, Grusd, who leads Snap’s content and international strategy, told The Information that Snap has a growing advertising business in India. Though he didn’t discuss the strategies that the company has taken to increase its users in India, he said Snap was focused on growing “organically and naturally” in international regions.
Realising the ad money opportunity in India, it has already partnered with brands like Pepsi, OnePlus, and Cadbury. The company has also tied up with local partners and content creators across media spectrum including news, sports, fashion, entertainment, and beauty to strengthen and localise the content to suit Indian preferences.
The platform witnessed a 40% daily active user (DAU) increase in second quarter of 2019 from the second quarter of 2018. Snapchat has 203 Mn DAU globally, creating 3.5 Bn snaps everyday. Around 30% of Snap’s revenue and 60% of its users are overseas.
The messaging platform has joined hands with IPL, Lakme Fashion Week and Mood Indigo, launched a SnapKit partnership with music streaming apps like JioSaavn and Gaana.com and hosted a creator summit in Mumbai to engage content creators to provide localised content. In April 2019, it also introduced four Indian languages – Hindi, Punjabi, Marathi and Gujarat, and is planning to launch an additional five languages by the end of this year. The company has not left any stone unturned in using India’s potential.