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Snap Inc will not have 'more feet on the street' in India, yet

Though its second largest market globally in terms of user base, monetisation in this country is a challenge, says the firm; is keen that users inculcate its 'value proposition'

February 25, 2021 / 01:53 PM IST
Snapchat has also launched Spotlight, a feature to create videos a la Tiktok, which had over 100 million active users in January but is not yet available in India. Image: Reuters

Snapchat has also launched Spotlight, a feature to create videos a la Tiktok, which had over 100 million active users in January but is not yet available in India. Image: Reuters

Snap Inc, the parent company of social media platform Snapchat, is not looking to expand its in-house team in India until the country is ready for `full Snap monetization’, said Jeremi Gorman, Chief Business Officer, at the company’s investor meet.

Instead the firm will continue to work with its partners in the hybrid model, she added. India is one of the fastest growing markets for Snapchat and has over 60 million users.

Responding to a query on international markets at the Snap’s Investor Day meet on February 23, Gorman said, “In our more developing markets (like India) it is the hybrid strategy until we get to a place where the community is ready for full snap monetization.”

She added that “In more matured markets where we have deep smartphone penetration and daily active users are exceptional already, we will be investing in building those support teams to ensure that we get the same results we got in North America over the last two years.” North America is the largest revenue generator for the company.

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When Snap set up its office in India back in 2019, there were close to five employees, a source privy to the information told Moneycontrol earlier. Before that Snap partnered with Gurugram-based media firm, Tyroo, for monetization in 2018 in India.

Nana Murugesan, Managing Director, Snap Inc, in an emailed response to Moneycontrol recently, said that the company now has leads representing the growth strategy, partnerships, sales, content and editorial, talent and creative strategy teams. He, however, declined to share the number of total employees in India.

But going by the company’s commentary, Snap’s India team might not get bigger despite the growing user base in India.

India in early phase

Gorman said, “We are very much at the early phase and working with our longtime partner. They are looking at the business to business (B2B) marketing efforts and ensure that customers in India are clear about Snapchat’s value proposition.”

The company, Gorman said, will add more in-house teams in the country once India reaches audience growth trajectory, which the company is comfortable with. “There is no timeline necessarily or threshold. But when the whole value proposition begins to take hold and we feel comfortable that the audience growth trajectory is what we wanted to be, that is when we start bringing in feet on the street,” she explained.

Though India is the second largest market for Snap in terms of user base, monetization in India is a challenge. The company does not share revenues from India separately and declares it under the Rest of the World category. The source cited earlier, told Moneycontrol that revenues from Indian is unlikely to be more than $20 million.

Snap’s global revenue for the quarter ending December 2020 was $911 million, led by North America and Europe.

India model to be deployed in other countries

However, the company will look at implementing the India model to grow users in other countries.

Said Derek Andersen, Chief Financial Officer, “We focused on India early because it has a large and fast growing population of young smartphone users, because high speed mobile networks are expanding quickly, and because GDP per capita is growing rapidly.”

To increase the number of users in the market, the company made investments localizing its product for the country by offering Indian language support, local content, investing in local marketing initiatives, and forming local telco partnerships to improve distribution and bandwidth.

Andersen said these efforts aided in almost doubling the user base in India. “We view this progress as validation of our approach and are excited to extend our playbook to more countries,” he added.

Europe focus

Snap is also looking at driving more value in Europe. At $142 million for the quarter ending December 2020, the region is the second largest in terms of revenue. The focus now is to grow in this region.

For instance, Chief Business Officer Gorman said that in mature markets like Western Europe, Snap is focused on growing the teams similar to what they have done in North America over the last couple of years.

In addition to the sales team, the company will also offer communication resources for B2B marketing, translation tools and real market intelligence, as well as invest in product marketing managers.
Swathi Moorthy
first published: Feb 25, 2021 01:53 pm

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