Localising features helped reach 100 million users in India: Snap’s head of market development

In an exclusive interview with The Hindu, Snap Inc’s Head of Market Development Durgesh Kaushik spoke about the company’s the India milestone, and how the company achieved it.

November 09, 2021 12:27 pm | Updated November 10, 2021 03:25 pm IST

Snap Inc's Head of Market Development Durgesh Kaushik

Snap Inc's Head of Market Development Durgesh Kaushik

Snapchat, the camera-based social network, hit the 100-million-users milestone in India a few weeks ago. Snap Inc’s Co-Founder and CEO Evan Spiegel announced at the virtual Snap for India 2021 event that the app also attained 70% growth in net new advertisers in 2020, helped by diversification in monetisation streams for content creators on the app.

In an exclusive interview with The Hindu, Snap Inc’s Head of Market Development Durgesh Kaushik spoke about the company’s India milestone, and how the company achieved it.

The transcript has been edited for brevity.

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How has engagement on Snapchat increased in India? What has helped the growth?

We started operations in India in 2019. And for the last seven quarters we have registered over 100% growth in daily active users. We have also noticed a 150% year-on-year growth in engagement on the platform. We have also seen growth in terms of the total time spent watching shows and publisher content, with over 125 million users watching shows on Snapchat in the last one year. Since the launch of Spotlight, time spent on the feature has quadrupled. Engagement on the AR Lens feature has grown over 200% since the launch.

We also launched several key partnerships that helped boost user engagement. For instance, earlier this year we announced a partnership with short-video service Moj and recently announced a partnership with Flipkart for a camera-enabled shopping experience.

Also Read | Snap shares drop 25% as revenue falls short, Apple privacy bites ads business

Moreover, in India, we have focused on localising the experience. We have been celebrating different cultural festivals like Diwali, Gudi Padwa etc through filters. We also aimed at going hyper local by launching geo-filters at the street-level that garnered more than 19 million views so far, and adding support to regional languages including Hindi, Marathi and Tamil.

Snapchat has emphasised the use of its augmented reality feature globally. How has it fared in India?

We believe we’re the leaders in augmented reality in India and globally. Snapchat in India has seen tremendous growth in adoption in the AR Lens feature, especially among advertisers. Conversion rates with AR is nearly 94%, which is much more than in other features.

The feature has worked particularly well in India because Indians love to visually communicate and express themselves. So when such technologies are available, users latch on to it.

I can’t break out the numbers, but India is becoming an important market for augmented reality-based advertising.

How does the company moderate content and ensure user safety?

User safety is a top concern for us. Our approach towards content is centred around safety and privacy and every piece of content is reviewed by both a machine learning system and humans before it reaches the wider audience. This helps us limit virality on the platform.

We make no exceptions for users, no matter how popular the profile is. We also allow users to report any piece of content that may be false or unsafe, which is then reviewed and then removed. No one is perfect and we’re always on the watch out to keep our community safe.

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