“Localisation and local experiences are a big part of our India growth strategy. We are currently focused on making sure that we are culturally relevant and local for Indians,” said Nana Murugesan, managing director of International Markets at Snap Inc, the parent company of Snapchat.
After ignoring the country in its earlier years, Snap has been lately focusing on the Indian market by rolling out localised version of its offerings. This includes a re-engineered Android app with support for nine Indian languages and an India-specific version of its content discovery platform Discover.
“Localisation definitely has made us look much more like a local app for the Indian community and it has really helped us continue our growth momentum in the country,” he said.
The ephemeral messaging app has witnessed nearly 150% year-on-year growth in its daily active users from India in the third quarter of 2020, Murugesan said, without disclosing any specific details.
While Snapchat doesn’t provide a country-wise breakdown of its member base, India has emerged as the largest market for the messaging service outside the United States, with about 33.8 million users as of July this year, according to market research firm Statista.
Snapchat’s content discovery platform Discover, which debuted in the country in November 2018, has seen its viewership rise nearly 50% on a quarterly basis, chief executive Evan Spiegel said in the company’s earnings call with analysts on Wednesday. The platform currently offers culturally relevant curated content through over 60 channels from 32 publishers across various genres including news, Bollywood culture, beauty, comedy, cooking, and sports.
New mobile-first shows
To strengthen its content offerings, Snap has announced its first slate of mobile-first licensed and original shows for the India market in partnership with entertainment and artist management firm Only Much Louder, comedy venture Weirdass Comedy and digital media firm Qyuki. The company will also offer a Hindi version of its popular original show Phone Swap.
Snap has also roped in Moonfrog Labs as its first gaming partner in India, which has built a custom version of ‘Ludo Club’ for Snap Games, debuting later this year. Meanwhile, the popular Snap game Ready Chef Go by social game maker Mojiworks, will get an Indian touch in form of a ‘Dosa Dash’ kitchen challenge. Over 40 million unique viewers in India have watched a show on Snapchat over the past year, Murugesan told ET.
Push for Augmented Reality
Another key focus area for the firm, which bills itself as a camera company, is enabling developers and students to take advantage of new technologies like augmented reality to build more culturally relevant experiences for its users in India.
“India is going through an explosion in the digital economy and a lot of people, especially during Covid are trying to upskill themselves since they are at home. Augmented Reality is a very unique opportunity and differentiation for us and we are very focused on, not just the fun parts but more importantly the creative digital skills, learning skills that we believe are vital. We are focused on building a creative community around it,” Murugesan said.
Over the past year, Snap has
trained over a thousand students in building augmented reality-based experiences through offline and online workshops at several high schools and colleges like Pearl Academy, Indian School of Design and Innovation (ISDI), Symbiosis Pune, and Manipal Institute of Technology, among others.
“We are also building a community of professional lens creators in India, whom we call OLCs (official lens creators). There are about seven such creators in India right now,” Murugesan said.
For the quarter ended September, Snap Inc reported saw a 52% year-on-year increase in revenues to $678.7 million from $446.2 million last year, while the company’s net loss fell to $200 million for the quarter, from $227 million loss in the same quarter last year.