With virtual shopping, branded AR lenses and lenses for Indian festivals - here’s how Snapchat is using AR to woo brands and users.
The shutters are clicking non stop at Snap Inc - a company which has been keeping busy for the last few years. Recently, the company announced its first-ever quarterly net profit in Q4 2021. According to a release, the company has seen a 42% increase in revenue. Snap Inc. has recently intensified focus on the India market. A company release states that India has 100 million Snapchat users as of December 2021.
Shoppable commerce is the hot new focus point, not just for Snapchat but for other e-commerce and social media companies too. Myntra is one of these platforms - working closely with influencers to allow users to shop from the content they create. Instagram also has a shopping section wherein users can browse a brand's catalog and make a purchase from the brand website.
According to a WATConsult report, India is expected to have 228 million social commerce consumers by the end of 2022. Snapchat is looking to tap into that market. Gaurav Jain, head of APAC business expansion at Snapchat tells us over a video call. that the company’s plan is to take AR and VR efforts to the next level in the field of social commerce.
At the recently concluded Snap Partner Summit 2022, the company informs us that since January 2021, more than 250 million Snapchat users have engaged with AR shopping Lenses more than 5 billion times.
Zenni Optical’s AR Lenses have been tried on over 60 million times by Snapchatters. Lenses that used true-size technology drove a 42% higher return on ad spend compared to Lenses without. True-size technology helps users see how the item they're shopping for, would look in real time if it was in front of them; and it creates this image using augmented reality.
Jain also tells us that Snapchat is growing rapidly - reaching almost 600 million users globally on a monthly basis. Puppy ears and flower crown filters were Snapchat users’ earliest brush with augmented reality. Snap Lens Network of creators in India has seen a growth of 200% since September 2020. Many brands have also collaborated with Snapchat to create custom made augmented reality filters.
“India is an Android heavy market, and in response to users who might be using low-end smartphones, we built a lighter and more responsive version of the app,” says Jain.
He recalls that a few years ago, Snapchat had less than 10 million users in India, but that number has reached almost 100 million now. “Our audience in India is no longer limited to Tier I cities, we are seeing an influx in users from Tier II and Tier III cities,” says Jain. Globally, the platform reaches almost 600 million users on a monthly basis.
It also helps that the app is now available for users in these cities to use in different languages. Users have the choice to download Snapchat in nine Indian languages and with every Indian festival (such as Diwali, Onam, Eid etc.), there are AR lenses that help commemorate the occasion.
Snap has also introduced a section on the app called Dress Up which invites users to browse, and try on fashion from creators and brands all over the world. The company is betting big on social commerce and according to Jain, “if we can make products available to consumers without them having to walk into a store and try it on physically, then the sky's the limit.”
There are multiple points in the app where an advertiser can place advertisements. The most popular point - the main source of Snapchat’s revenue is on stories. When viewing a friend’s story, a user is served ads.
The second avenue is while watching content on Spotlight - the app’s short video section. The third is on the ‘Discover’ section - where users can discover content from digital and mainstream publishers (such as BuzzFeed, Cosmopolitan, and more) and from influencers and content creators.
“Augmented reality can not only be used for branding but to drive actual business results. One of our most popular brand collaborations has been with Spotify. We have also collaborated with Nike, Puma, Adidas and Dream11,” he says.
Earlier in March, Snap also announced that it will be joining hands with NITI Aayog to drive the skilling of Indian youth. It will be training over 12,000 teachers affiliated with the Atal Tinkering Labs over a period of 2 years, enabling the reach of the program to almost half a million students.
Snap also announced a partnership with the Atal Innovation Center to support the Indian start-up ecosystem with AR advertising boot camps, Ad credits and other opportunities. The partnership will be kicked off with a Lens making Hackathon (Lensathon) focused on increasing the participation of young women in AR.
Earlier in January 2022, Snapchat announced tie-ups with three major American media companies - Disney Media, ViacomCBS, NBCUniversal. The three companies will collaborate with Snap through extended agreements to provide their current shows on the ‘Discover’ section of the app and individually plan to bring more shows to Snap in the future.