Snap Expands in Latin America and Asia by Using Augmented Reality

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Snap has 500 million monthly users worldwide.
Snap is accelerating its global expansion by partnering with wireless carriers and promoting its famous augmented reality features in nations ranging from Mexico to Japan, according to Reuters. The parent company of the Snapchat photo messaging app is banking on the app’s relative safety at a time when social media platforms like Meta’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok are being scrutinized around the world for harmful content, lax privacy and cybersecurity protections, and outright bans in some countries.

Snap has largely escaped the attention of governments and regulators around the world, and it has developed a strategy for attracting users in new markets that emphasizes the fun of its AR (augmented reality) lenses, which can overlay computerized images on top of the physical world, and ephemeral messaging between close friends.

In India, the firm has surpassed a milestone of 100 million monthly users since revamping its Android app in mid-2019, which made Snapchat more useable for consumers outside of the United States and Europe, where Android is more extensively used than iPhone devices.

Snap has 500 million monthly users worldwide, according to the company’s Partner Summit in May, with around 40% of its users residing outside of North America and Europe.

It now intends to expand its presence in India and recruit new users from around the world, starting with Japan, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Italy, and Spain, according to an unreleased strategy.

According to Nana Murugesan, Snap’s president of international markets, the decision reflects how the bulk of Snapchat’s users are now on Android following the release of the updated software, whereas earlier it was one of the few apps that was predominantly used on Apple devices.

“We’ve seen the results of it, as Android has been a major driver of our growth,” he said.

Snap’s strategy includes pre-installing Snapchat with telecom operators and smartphone manufacturers. The company said it is in talks with carriers in Mexico, Brazil, Italy, and Spain to see if there are any opportunities for joint marketing or including the app in zero-rating plans, which allow customers to use an app without it counting against their mobile data limits. This was a strategy that helped Facebook’s early expansion in areas where wireless data was expensive.

Snap will also open additional offices in Tokyo, Milan, and Madrid this year to assist its expansion objectives, according to the business.

Workshops with high school and college students will be held to promote the app to young users, as well as the addition of media content in local languages to Snapchat’s Discover feature, which houses original shows from entertainment studios, and the rollout of photo and video AR filters that celebrate local holidays and events.

Along with its focus on AR, Snap has positioned itself in recent years as an app for keeping in touch with a small group of people, as well as one where public content is reviewed by the firm, as opposed to applications like TikTok, where content creators strive to go viral.

According to Shailesh Rao, a senior executive at Google and Twitter who focused on international development, Snap’s image could help it achieve easier access into countries in Asia, where families are wary of outside influences on their children.

He explained, “There is a premium on safety, and there is a premium on knowing your privacy is safeguarded.”

Japan offers a lucrative chance.

According to Arvind Rajan, former managing director of new markets at LinkedIn, who spearheaded the professional networking site’s debut into China in 2014, generating meaningful returns in these new regions could be difficult.

While acquiring new customers in India is simple due to the country’s vast young population, he claims that US internet businesses have failed to make money in the country.

According to app analytics firm App Annie, Snap trails Meta’s Facebook and Instagram in India, with 388 million and 257 million monthly active users, respectively. TikTok, a popular short-form video app, has been banned in India since 2020 due to worries about data privacy and security.

Increasing Snap’s user base in Japan, Brazil, Italy, and Spain, in particular, will be critical to the company’s foreign revenue growth. According to a report released in August by research firm MoffettNathanson, the four countries are among the top 10 online advertising markets in the world, with a combined spend on online ads of $33 billion (approximately Rs. 2,45,490 crore) in 2020.

The Santa Monica, Calif.-based firm, which generates money by selling Snapchat advertising, still makes the majority of its money in North America. During the third quarter, revenue from outside North America and Europe was $127 million (approximately Rs. 945 crore), up 53 percent from the previous year.

Snap sees its AR features as a path in to Japan, which is a profitable market. The company hired its first employee in Japan in August to handle market growth there.

Snap aims to entice consumers as it advances in its AR technologies, such as its Spectacles spectacles, Murugesan said, adding that the business is in talks to partner with a Japanese animation studio to create AR lenses.

According to a job posting on Snap’s website, the business is also searching for a position that will cultivate relationships and awareness with augmented reality developers in Japan.

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