American social media platform Snap Inc’s efforts to catch up with global rivals like Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and Twitter in India seem to be bearing fruit.
During the company’s annual partner summit on Thursday, Evan Spiegel, Snap co-founder and CEO, said the daily active users of its social media platform Snapchat have grown over 100% year-on-year for each of the past five quarters in the world’s second-most populous country. The actual numbers were not disclosed.
The decade-old company has reached 500 million monthly active users, reported local media Economic Times, quoting Spiegel. Of these half a billion users, about 40% are from outside North America and Europe.
In India, Snapchat crossed 60 million users in the last quarter of 2020, the company told local wire Press Trust of India in February.
The Santa Monica, California-headquartered firm has been ramping up its operations since last year to tap millions of Indians who stayed home for the better part of 2020 due to COVID-19.
In an interview with KrASIA late last year, Durgesh Kaushik, head of market development for Snap India, said in 2020, the company saw “people using Snapchat in creative ways to communicate with their friends and family, and stay emotionally connected, even when they are physically apart.”
The fast-tracked journey
Back in 2015, Spiegel had reportedly said, “this app is only for rich people,” adding, “I don’t want to expand into poor countries like India and Spain.”
Three years later, India emerged as the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market and saw data become accessible and affordable. As global consumer internet and tech companies doubled their efforts to capture the rapidly growing online user base in the South Asian nation, Snap also began changing its stance on emerging markets in the second half of 2018.
In November 2018, it launched a localized version of its content discovery platform Discover, which now has over 85 local channels. The following April, the company rolled out a new avatar for its Android app, designed specifically for India and other emerging markets. Later that year, the social media firm opened its first India office in Mumbai with plans to build a local team in the country that would forge strategic partnerships, service local advertisers, and build a community of creators and users.
At the start of 2020, Snap deployed a three-pronged approach of localized content, games, and culturally relevant augmented reality experiences to expand its Indian user base. In the process, India became one of the first markets for Snap to make investments in localized content and local augmented-reality creator communities.
“As we look to build the best possible mobile-first local content experience in India, we are doubling down on committed investment,” said Vanessa Guthrie, Snap’s content director and head of Originals, during a virtual event for the Indian market.
While the company announced tying up with local news media group NDTV, entertainment and artist management firm Only Much Louder, comedy venture Weirdass Comedy, and digital media firm Qyuki to bring their content to Snapchat, it also brought on board its first Indian gaming partner, Moonfrog Labs. At the time, the company also said it would create original content under Snap Originals for India, which it launched in its home country in 2018.
Earlier in March, Snap released its short video offering Spotlight in India, nine months after the country banned popular Chinese short video app TikTok which resulted in the rise of dozens of TikTok clones, including Instagram’s Reel and YouTube’s Shorts as well as local platforms like Moj, Chingari, Roposo, Mitron, and Trell. Later in the month, Snap debuted its first India original series, Phone Swap India, through its Discover platform.