While many businesses around the world have struggled under the weight of COVID-19 in recent months, for Snap – the company behind Snapchat – the circumstances have presented a unique opportunity.
“I think it’s been one of our most exciting periods since inception,” Snap Inc general manager ANZ Kathryn Carter told B&T.
“The last few months have really given the business a real opportunity and platform for people to embrace Snapchat and also to discover new functions and features.”
As early as the start of April, just weeks into lockdown, Snapchat was already recording record numbers, with video chat usage growing 50 per cent and 68 million users accessing news about COVID-19 through the app.
Data also showed a 37 per cent increase in Snaps being sent with a Lens AR experience during late March compared to late February. There are now over 170 million Snapchat users creating with AR lenses daily.
“From a platform perspective, we have more people utilising Snapchat than ever before. They’re using it more frequently and they’re spending longer on it,” Carter said.
She attributed this surge in usage to Snapchat’s authenticity.
“A platform like Snapchat, which opens to the camera and as closely mimics real-time communication through the power of the camera and video calling, has absolutely been critical in making sure people feel like they’re still connected,” she said.
Since joining Snap in 2016, Carter has been working to ensure Snapchat is not viewed as ‘just another social media app’.
She explained that this has never been more pertinent.
“The last few months have served to demonstrate and emphasise our different and unique philosophy, approach and commitment to our community,” Carter said.
The company last week made a raft of announcements around content, AR capabilities and community.
“Last week’s announcements help highlight how we are building a platform that provides a safe, positive and creative experience for our community and advertisers.”
With data showing Snapchat reaches around 90 per cent of 13-34-year-olds, the power of the platform is not lost on Snap.
That’s why the company has partnered with Headspace to help improve the mental health and wellbeing of its users.
The partnership includes access to guided meditations, premium content and a new friend check up feature.
“We are committed in matters such as wellbeing, knowing the importance of mental health for our audience as highlighted by our partnership with Headspace,” Carter said.
Another differentiator for Snapchat away from other social media platforms is its commitment to content creation.
The company has been championing vertical video for years now and last week revealed new content featuring content from Disney, ESPN, NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS, the NBA and NFL.
“We are continuing to invest in creating the best premium mobile content experience globally and locally to keep our audience informed, entertained and engaged, and with time spent doubling year on year, we know this is what they are seeking,” Carter said.