Hussein Freijeh, General Manager of Snap Inc. for the MENA region shares with Communicate about Snapchat's plans for domination in 2021
How has 2020 and its various disruptions influenced Snap’s plans for 2021?
When the pandemic hit, the need to connect with our family and friends became even more important and people’s daily habits changed, from where they got their news to how they shopped and what they did to maintain their mental well-being. By understanding these trends, we were able to support them on Snapchat.
At a product level, we relentlessly focus on innovation on our camera, conceptualizing new uses for augmented reality (AR) and new tools to allow Snapchatters to be creative and express themselves. We are also expanding our partner ecosystem rapidly in the region. This includes content, creative, brand, and technology partnerships that enhance our business and products.
What innovations do you expect to play a decisive role on Snap in 2021?
Our camera will continue to play a transformative role. We’re uniquely positioned to combine what people see in the real world with all that’s available to them in the digital world. Snap’s camera is one of the most used cameras globally with an average of 5 billion snaps created every day. Reinventing the camera thus represents our greatest opportunity to improve the way people live and communicate through visual self-expression and storytelling; whether that’s through mobile video, communication, AR, gaming, and mobile marketing & commerce.
As part of that, AR in particular adds both utility and entertainment to people’s lives. We are pushing the boundaries on both these fronts. AR is the future of immersive customer experiences and we are at the vanguard of developing the technology to facilitate virtual try-ons, catalog browsing, show-rooming, and much more.
What capabilities will drive Snap’s foray into business-forward marketing this year?
Brand partners in MENA really look to Snapchat to offer three things: our unique audience, our innovation, and our scale.
Snapchat offers brands one of the most effective ways to engage with a large, growing audience across various demographics, age groups, and geographies. Consumption rates on Snap in MENA are often higher than the global average.
In terms of innovation, Snap is pioneering the future of mobile marketing, from vertical video to AR. In particular, we are making it easier, faster, and more efficient to develop quality AR campaigns that support business goals. In addition, Snapchat has evolved into a very mature and effective platform for businesses. In the MENA region alone, we offer businesses a monthly addressable reach of 67 million unique Snapchatters, with 18 million in KSA. Our partners in MENA also enjoy sophisticated measurement, ranking, and optimization capabilities to deliver a strong ROI.
What forms of content do you see dominating on Snap in 2021?
We really are the pioneers behind the vertical format, and will continue to lead in full-screen, sound-on, premium content on mobile. Discover on Snapchat has already become a go-to source for premium vertical video content that results in high engagement. For example, more people watch Snapchat Discover in Saudi Arabia than any of the top 10 TV channels, both before and during COVID-19.
This year, we will also launch our Spotlight entertainment platform in MENA which will see a lot of new user-generated content on Snapchat. Our users will be presented with videos in a unique, personalized feed curated to them. Approximately 100 million Snapchatters engaged with Spotlight in only two months after launching in the US.
Will your focus expand beyond GenZers and Millennials in 2021?
Snapchat reaches multiple demographics in the region. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, Snapchat now reaches 90% of 13-34-year-olds but we still see a high reach in the age bracket above 34. Furthermore, people who joined Snap five years ago retain at a very high level today, so our community’s age demographics are widening.
How important will it be for Snapchat to domi- nate the influencers arena in 2021?
We deeply value the community of creators on Snapchat today. They’re some of the most expressive and creative mobile storytellers in the world. Our mission is to give them the best tools to share their stories and connect with audiences in a meaningful way.
We will continue to grow the number and variety of Snap Stars on the platform. And, as I mentioned earlier, we will launch Spotlight in the region – a new entertainment platform for user-generated content where creators will also share their content.
This article was published in Communicate’s Q1 edition. You can access the full magazine here.