Evan Spiegel, co-founder and CEO of Snap Inc., talks about his company's augmented reality (AR) efforts and other initiatives at the Global Business Summit in March 2022

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members


Evan Spiegel, co-founder and CEO of Snap Inc., talks about his company's augmented reality (AR) efforts and other initiatives at the Global Business Summit in March 2022

As a corollary, this changed the rules of experiential content. Augmented reality (AR) is no longer an esoteric buzzword. It has entered people’s living rooms, and how.

One of the major changes can be seen in AR shopping. AR is a really exciting way to see if you like a product. “In the past, when you were just using the desktop Internet, you had to look at little pictures, even of people wearing clothes and things like that, to see if it was a good fit or if it was something you wanted to buy,” stated Evan Spiegel, CEO and co-founder, Snap Inc.

Shopping for your next garment, simply switch on the Snap 3D asset manager! Snapchat leaves no stone unturned when it comes to capturing the vibrant, tech-savvy youth. Recently, the company has been in the news a lot because of a slew of tech initiatives that are making rival social media companies take notice. Using Snap’s AR community, the company hopes to launch real businesses.

Evan Spiegel, co-CEO and co-founder of the Los Angeles-based company, stated at the ET GBS event that the company may look for strategic investments that enable the firm to strike partnerships and help it venture into augmented reality efforts.

After Snap announced a bunch of new features for its platform, we took a look at the company’s growing global audience, which is now around 600 million monthly and 332 million daily active users. Snap Inc. is the parent company of the popular messaging app Snapchat. Among its many success strategies, Snap intends to replicate its India localisation playbook in other geographies. The social media head shared an in-depth overview of the firm’s future strategies in the country.

In your most recent earnings call, you stated that Snap had been successful in its expansion efforts in India and that the lessons learned would be applied to new geographies. Can you elaborate more on that?

Visual communication is everything in India. Few words can adequately describe the sensation of Diwali lanterns soaring into the sky. Snapchat has captured the visual richness of India and is attempting to empower the new way of communicating with people. We intend to form a local team to create locally relevant content and the remaining augmented reality experiences.

Which geographical areas are you interested in?

After Europe and the Middle East, we intend to travel to Southeast Asia and Africa. Nonetheless, India was one of the first places where we bet big as a startup, investing heavily in building a new team in a new country. Despite the high cost, we built a new team and invested in localised content. We were unsure how it would turn out, and India has been an excellent place to learn and grow through locally relevant experiences.

Can you provide some insight into ad revenue in India now that it has over 100 million monthly active users?

Advertisers have been following our audiences on our platform. According to data, our 100 million users’ brands are eager to partner with us and showcase their products on our platform. Our main goal is to improve the product for our target audience.

Are there plans for strategic investments?

We have not ruled out future strategic investments. The country is brimming with innovation and entrepreneurship. Partnerships, without going into specifics, are a way to tap into a larger strategic opportunity in the future.

What can we expect in terms of augmented reality now that Flipkart has partnered with you?

Shopping with augmented reality is a lot of fun. Gone are the days of browsing through clothing catalogues on the desktop internet; instead, welcome to the world of actually trying on clothes on your virtual self without changing your clothes. Our platform enables brands to leverage and scale the browsing experience to AR using only one phone.

What developments on the mobile platform can we anticipate to round out the ecosystem?

We have collaborated with OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to provide audiences with the ability to access augmented reality experiences directly from their smartphone camera. So, without downloading the Snapchat app, you can access the camera on any Samsung phone. People will have access to augmented reality in this manner. Aside from that, there are other deals that will help with Snapchat distribution and will allow us to continue to expand our augmented reality partnerships.

What are your thoughts on the Indian regulations governing data protection, privacy, and the future of content on platforms like yours?

It is primarily the responsibility of tech platforms to reach a large audience. One of the things we’ve attempted is to self-regulate our content. As a result, our content is proactively curated and widely distributed across platforms like Discover and Spotlight. One of our goals is to maintain positive and constructive leadership with governments all over the world, as we discover that they are all focused on developing a digital economy. The majority of governments want to build a digital economy.

TikTok has been a huge success; how do you see the creator economy being monetized in the future?

Spotlight is a very successful venture that enables anyone to reach a large audience through user generated content. This provides creators with a completely different type of content and the ability to reach a large audience even if they do not have a following. This, in my opinion, is a new take on social media in which video content is distributed based on merit rather than followers. As a result, regardless of the number of followers, anyone can be successful.

You’ve pulled out your business in Russia. How do you intend to conduct business in Ukraine?

It was a heartbreaking experience for the team. Ukraine has a population of around 300 people. Snap’s AR platform is based on Looksery, which originated in Ukraine. As a result, we are concerned about our team members who are in the country. Our team members’ safety is one of our top priorities.

How can your company resist war-related misinformation?

It is critical to provide accurate information, especially at this time. As a result, a curated content platform is beneficial. People who are just hanging out or talking with friends should be held to a different standard than broadcasters who want to reach a larger audience. Our closed and curated platform ensures that we collaborate with globally talented journalists to provide the rest of the community with accurate and timely information.

Written By Anupama Sughosh
Edited by Queenie Nair

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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