Henry Windridge, Head of Brand – MEA at Discovery and Rowan Ashraf, Snap Content Manager at UTurn, talk about creating content on Snapchat for their respective brands and share some insights into how consumers interact with content differently on the platform, during the holy month of Ramadan.
What do you like the most about Snapchat?
Henry Windridge – The best part of Snapchat is the ability to experiment. As a Discover partner; the Snap team has been a great partner for Fatafeat and has really helped us hone in on what works best for our audience, with the inherent flexibility of being a social platform allowing us to experiment with content and adapt and develop a content series based on what works well. I also like the full-screen ownership of Snapchat’s 9:16 format. A person’s smartphone screen is the most valuable real estate in media and taking advantage of that is key.
Rowan Ashraf– The diversity of people that are using Snapchat, that allows us to explore different topics and in different ways.
Why did you start creating for Snapchat?
H – Fatafeat is the biggest media brand in the world focused on Arab cuisine, and in late 2018 we took the collective decision to broaden our existing linear and online fan-base to reach audiences across more platforms. We knew that Snapchat had high penetration across our markets and that it offered dynamic options for creating content, so it felt like a natural home for our chefs and cooks to create content that our engaged MENA audience would love.
R – Snapchat is the most used platform in KSA. As UTURN, we wanted to create entertaining and fun content that reflects Saudi culture and is a point of connection between Saudi youth and the world. And Snapchat was the best tool to accommodate that.
How is the content created on Snapchat different from other platforms?
H– I’ve always said to my team that there is no point trying to make one piece of content, [and] stretch [it] across multiple platforms. No one turns on the TV hoping to see a Snapchat show, and vice versa, so it’s important for us to create bespoke content to suit each of the individual uses. For example, on TV we’re quite instructional and educational about food and cooking, whereas, on Snapchat, we like to bring more pop and color as we see Snapchat as being Fatafeat’s most playful partner platform.
R– We think in 10 seconds. The speed and the pace of the platform have affected the way we produce our content. So we try to engage our users [by] telling a story in 10sec. We catch their attention with the first three seconds, unlike the slow build-ups other platforms use, where the story can be told at its own pace.
How do users behave differently on Snapchat when it comes to interacting with your content?
H – It’s estimated that over one-third of Snapchat users aren’t active on either Facebook or Instagram- making the Discover feature an important option for reaching a certain segment of engaged social users, and presenting an amazing opportunity for visual-led brands such as Fatafeat, to give audiences the content they love.
Discover users have made a conscious choice to invest their time in consuming entertaining brand-led content, and it’s our responsibility as a brand to ensure we’re delivering what consumers want. I consider Snapchat to be a ‘lean-in’ platform, where every element of the content is equally important – it’s not just still images that people scroll past. Given this, we adapt our filming and editing style for Fatafeat’s Discover content, to ensure content is filmed fit-for-purpose to be watched on phones, and that the backgrounds, lighting, audio and visual are captivating for our audiences.
R– Snapchat is used daily by Saudis which allows us to have access to deeper insights into their interests and behaviors, through Snapchat’s analytics tool. This makes it easier for us to curate tailored content, that we know the audience will love to share and engage with.
In the context of Ramadan, what do you notice in terms of change in user behavior? How do people interact with your content differently?
H– Fatafeat is all about food. We live and breathe food all year round, but in the weeks leading up to Ramadan and throughout the Holy Month this increases significantly, our audiences demand even more content and variety than we already provide throughout the rest of the year.
We see a significant increase in viewership, with TV-consumption habits changing to be more prominent during the day than other times throughout the year, as well as a higher tendency to binge-watch and consume multiple-hours of content at a time. Alongside this, we notice a hike in user engagement across our social platforms, with views, interactions, and shares peaking during this period.
There is also a shift in consumer demands for recipe styles and cuisines during Ramadan, with a focus on traditional Arab dishes, and tips for Iftar and Suhoor. We see people looking for advice on preparation and participation, as much as for inspiration.
R– Keeping in mind that Ramadan is a month known for its content. Producers produce more and people watch more. Alongside with that, is the short working hours and freer audience. We notice that people are more active on the platform and are curious to absorb content. Therefore, we create content that is relevant and relatable to Ramadan and its traditions.
Because we base the content on Saudi culture and tradition, which Ramadan plays a very important role in, our audience relates more on a larger scale.
What content did you produce last year for Ramadan?
H– For our 2019 Ramadan campaign, we produced specialty series with a range of our top chefs, including Chef Manal AlAlem. Using Manal’s show as an example, we created a brand-new series – Matbakh Manal AlAlem – with content developed specifically for Ramadan and supplemented this with additional yet complementary content for Snapchat. This social content included bright, informative, engaging videos and imagery, and was done for our portfolio of specially made Ramadan shows across Fatafeat’s linear and social channels.
R– Purely Ramadan-related content which includes Ramadan habits, things that only happen during Ramadan, things to ease the fasting process, and so on.
What are your plans for Ramadan this year?
H– For Ramadan 2020, we’re working on an exclusive 30-part series for Snapchat using one of our most popular Saudi chefs, Afnan Al Jaadi. The series will be incredibly fun and colorful, taking an informative approach to preparing and hosting Iftar and Suhoor for followers. We think Snapchat users will eat this up. The best part is that users can subscribe and be instantly notified when Fatafeat’s new episodes are uploaded on Snapchat, so they’re always up to date once the show launches on the first day of Ramadan.
R– We are planning to produce Ramadan tailored shows along with keeping our topics on the publisher with Ramadan content and collaborating with brands that fit people’s interests and needs during that month.
What advice can you give to brands who want to create impactful communication during Ramadan?
H– For Fatafeat, we have found it essential to calibrate our offering during Ramadan. Food is meant to be about family, fun and shared experiences, but we also want to respect the traditions and mores of the holy month. Balance your audience across different platforms without changing your positioning – if Snapchat is the vibrant and brighter platform for your brand, continue to treat it in that way during Ramadan, but alter your tone to reflect the period.
R– Base the content on what Ramadan stands for.