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Technology Featured APAC

Snap to make layoffs – The Verge

United States – Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, has been reportedly planning to implement layoffs. 

According to recent news by The Verge, the information that the company is in the early stages of retrenchment comes from two people familiar with the plans.

The downsizing comes after the company recently registered disappointing earning results – failing to forecast earnings for the third quarter. 

According to The Verge, Russ Caditz-Peck, a Snap spokesman, declined to comment on the matter.

The blow to Snap’s business can be partly attributed to Apple’s IDFA changes, which makes it more challenging for companies like it to effectively target their ads, while another factor is the larger economic downturn that dampened the stock prices of Snap and other cash-burning companies. 

According to The Verge, Snap has been profitable in only one quarter since it went public in 2017. In addition, the last time Snap made layoffs was in 2018, when it was recovering from the fallout of a poorly executed Snapchat redesign.

Snap joins other Silicon Valley companies eyeing to make cuts such as Twitter and TikTok. Tech giant Oracle has also recently made ‘sizable’ layoffs in the US. 

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Platforms Featured APAC

Snap launches new multi-format delivery ad product

Sydney, Australia – Camera and social media company Snap has recently announced the launch of their new multi-format delivery advertising product, which enables a renewed buying experience for marketers to purchase all of Snap’s video formats in one advertising set.

Said product launch will include all of Snap’s video ad formats including Snap Ads, Story Ads, Collection Ads and Commercials and will feature Snap’s camera offerings, including augmented reality, by the second quarter of 2022.

In addition, the product will be inherently different from single product ad sets, in that delivery and ranking will be able to determine the best inventory to fill in for the selected formats, goal, target audience, and bid.

Kathryn Carter, general manager for APAC at Snap, said, “Snap ads have been successfully leveraged by businesses who seek to directly connect with audiences through immersive and engaging content. At Snap, we pioneered AR advertising at scale and have been innovating ever since.”

Multi-format delivery ad sets reporting will be broken out by ad format, so that buyers can evaluate the efficiency of each format and how it contributes to overall brand performance. While the core experience will remain relatively consistent, Snap has reconstructed how formats, and various campaign criteria are selected within the purchasing experience to allow for more flexibility for buyers.

“The launch of Multi-Format delivery, an industry first product, really solidifies augmented reality as an always-on buying opportunity for our clients. This launch is a game-changing opportunity for brands and advertisers, providing them with a simplified, all-encompassing buying process for their next campaign with Snap,” Carter added.

The new product announcement follows after Snap recently launched Arcadia, a global creative studio for branded augmented reality (AR), powered by a team of world-class experts that pioneered mobile AR advertising at Snap.

Speaking about how the new Snap product can aid Australian and Singaporean brands, Carter said, “Now, Australian and Singaporean brands across categories can easily discover innovative ad opportunities that optimize AR and video together to drive strong results. We are excited for advertisers to use Snap to reimagine their next campaign, using AR which we know is a growing sector and valuable tool.”

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Platforms Featured Global

Snapchat’s parent company launches Arcadia, creative studio for branded AR

Singapore – As more brands venture into various media to create branded content, camera and technology company Snap, the parent company of social media platform Snapchat, has announced the launch of Arcadia, a global creative studio for branded augmented reality (AR), powered by a team of world-class experts that pioneered mobile AR advertising at Snap.

Arcadia will develop new technology and aims to deliver the most innovative, impactful and effective AR experiences to brand and agency partners. Furthermore, the creative studio will be platform-agnostic and will develop experiences that can live across platform, web and app-based AR environments. 

Arcadia will work on a studio model and will take on select projects that require the most creative and technical skillset. In doing so, the studio will be developing the next generation of branded AR experiences with the goal to lead the charge on innovation for the larger AR creation ecosystem.

“Arcadia is the newest member of Snap’s AR ecosystem that we’ve been developing for the last decade and we have seen proven results with our over 40 trusted partners and success in tools like ‘Lens Web Builder’ and ‘Creator Marketplace’. By launching Arcadia, we are further cementing Snap’s commitment to Augmented Reality as a format that truly pushes the boundaries of creativity and performance in digital marketing” said Jeff Miller, global head of creative strategy.

Arcadia shared that it has already secured partnerships with world-class marketers including P&G Beauty, Verizon, WWE and Shake Shack. Through the launch, the studio will partner with brands, agencies and creators to elevate what is possible in AR, further cementing it as a must-buy, always-on format to engage with the millennial and Gen-Z audience.

In terms of how Arcadia can serve both brands and creators, the studio offers the following prospects namely ‘Studio of Record’ where Arcadia will become the official ‘AR Studio of Record’ and take on all of their AR production, strategy and insight needs across platforms; project-based work where Arcadia will deliver against a specific scope-of-work that align to Arcadia’s mission; and strategic partnership where Arcadia will offer AR Strategy expertise to clients or agencies in the form of workshops, insights and trend reporting to up-level their own capabilities 

“By focusing sharply on the AR format, the creative studio will set the highest creative and technical standards in the market, capture an early-mover advantage, command credibility and reframe the value that a modern studio brings to its clients,” Snap said in a press statement.

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Main Feature Technology APAC

Capturing the attention of Gen Zs in APAC with augmented reality

Marketers have long held the belief that attention is a diminishing commodity, especially among Generation Z. However, attention has not diminished, it has diversified. To manage the onslaught of information they face each day, consumers prioritize content that engages them. For brands, this means working harder than ever to capture the attention of their audience – and this involves rethinking the way they sell and service by using interactive and immersive technologies like augmented reality (AR).

Immersive AR ads have shown to be an impressive user engagement tool, garnering 17-times more engagement compared to static ads, according to a study by Snapchat, which compared shoppable Snap ads to standard Snap ads of the same products. Here in Asia-Pacific (APAC), spending on AR and virtual reality (VR) is expected to grow at a rapid rate of 47.7% and reach US$28.8 billion by 2024. Recent data from Statista also estimated that by 2023, there will be 2.4 billion mobile AR users worldwide, a rise of 2.2 billion from the 200 million seen in 2015. Clearly, there is a demand for this technology.

There is opportunity for marketers to capitalize on. As a digitally native generation, Gen Zs spend a large part of their time on mobile. In APAC, almost a third of Gen Zs spend six hours or longer a day on their phone but at the same time, they are also thoughtful about the ways they engage with the internet. It comes as no surprise that Gen Zs turn to AR to communicate with their close friends, and to explore the world around them. This situation lends itself as an opportunity for brands to engage with them in this manner as well.

Before we delve into how brands can use AR, let us take a step back and look at what makes Gen Zs tick.

Understanding Gen Zs in APAC

With an attention span of mere seconds and a wealth of content available at their fingertips, engaging Gen Zs can be a challenge. As such, it is doubly important for brands to fully understand the unique traits of this demographic so they can tailor their offerings to this audience.

Like their global peers, APAC Gen Zs have a strong appreciation for digital communications and technologies. A Generation survey by Snapchat conducted in December 2020 found that Gen Zs in APAC are not confined to traditional methods of communications, and favor communicating with photos (78%), emoji or emoticons (75%), videos and video messages (59%), among others. They also gravitate towards immersive video and mobile games, including AR experiences.

In addition, Gen Zs are strong supporters of the causes they believe in. The same piece of Snapchat research found that half of the surveyed respondents say they are less likely to buy from a brand that chooses to promote the opposite side on social issues that matter to them. Conversely in APAC, Gen Zs are more likely to shop from brands they support, even if it’s less convenient for them to do so.

There is no better time than now to leverage AR

By 2025, Gen Z will make up a quarter of the APAC region’s population. As this generation of digital natives rapidly warms to the concept of AR, it will become an increasingly important tool in the marketing mix of advertisers.

Consider AR as you would with any tool in your marketing arsenal. The two marketing fundamentals – objective and audience – still stand. Brands will first need to define their objectives and the results they hope to achieve from the campaign, then understand their audience like the Gen Zs. By defining these parameters at the onset, brands will be able to use AR where appropriate to elevate their current offerings to the audience.

There are many great examples of creative AR-powered offerings. One example worth noting is the work done by Singaporean creative technology studio, MeshMinds. They held the city-state’s first AR-powered exhibition Sustainable Singapore, where the AR artwork of 20 local artists used the AR app Artivive to weave in additional storytelling elements to lend more magnetism to their artwork.

Brands in APAC can also take a leaf out of their global peers’ books. Understanding Gen Zs’ need for engaging content, luxury brand Gucci launched its first-ever global AR shoe “try-on” campaign on Snapchat in 2020, where users can virtually try on Gucci shoes on the app. After seeing how they looked wearing the brand’s latest sneakers, users were able to purchase the shoes directly from the Lens.

A one-up from existing technology, AR brings to the table an optimized digital experience that can set brands apart. Advertisers need to view the AR as a permanent addition to their media plan and instead of a mere novelty.

AR will have a profound impact on the future of marketing

Gen Zs are a formidable force that is poised to take over the current active generations. Coupled with their growing spending power and influence, Gen Zs are set to reshape the future advertising landscape in APAC. 

As such, brands need to develop a better understanding of the devices that Gen Z consumers use; where and how they consume content; and the role they wish to have in the direction their content goes. This ensures the impact and relevance of a brand’s marketing piece and goes a long way in building brand love and brand loyalty.

AR is one of the many up-and-coming technologies that brands need to get on to gain a competitive edge. It is exciting to consider how we are only at the beginning of what is possible.

This article was written by Kathryn Carter, head of APAC at Snap Inc.
Categories
Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Snapchat survey finds majority of users in APAC feel need to present their ‘authentic’ selves online

Singapore – A new survey by social media app Snapchat found that majority of its users, or 7 in 10 of Snapchatters highly value their authenticity online, feeling the need to be recognized, seen, and heard for ‘who they are’ and for their presence on digital media to ‘reflect their true selves’. This is compared to 58% of non-Snapchatters.

Furthermore, the study showed that the ‘Snapchat generation’ is not confined to traditional methods of communication, given the emergence of a variety of digital communication tools today.

The top five ways Snapchatters in APAC use to communicate without words are photos (78%), emojis or emoticons (75%), videos or video messages (59%), video calling (58%), and stickers (57%).

Director of Market Development for Snap SEA Anubhav Nayyar commented that they found that the Snapchat Generation is particularly unique in Asia-Pacific.

“They are identified by a strong desire for authenticity in their offline and online personas. They are also highly mindful of the social issues of today, and look towards harnessing their creativity, empathy, and digital tools at their command to impact the change they want to see in this world,” said Nayyar.

Further, the survey touched on users’ intentions toward virtual experiences. Snapchatters in the region are 1.5 times more inclined than non-Snapchatters to gravitate to immersive video and mobile games, including Augmented Reality (AR) experiences. This has manifested in how Snapchatters use AR to try on products virtually, compared to non-Snapchatters.

The biggest difference is seen in Japan, where 27% of Snapchatters use AR for product try-ons, compared to just 2% of non-Snapchatters in the country. Malaysia, on the other hand, has the smallest gap where 17% of Snapchatters and 9% of non Snapchatters are already using the technology to try products.

Snapchat surveyed more than 8,200 users across five APAC countries, such as Malaysia, Japan, and Australia as well as Indonesia, and India.

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Platforms Featured East Asia

New stats show Hongkongers spend an additional hour online compared to last year

Hong Kong – Hong Kong internet users spent on average almost a whole hour more online each day in 2020 compared to the previous year, a new report from creative agency We Are Social and social media management Hootsuite shows.

Hong-Kong-Media-Consumption-2

According to the report, time spent on the internet daily has increased from 6 hours and 16 minutes a year ago to 7 hours and 15 minutes today, following a year of COVID-19 related lockdowns, which curtailed many normal activities. This means Hong Kong’s internet users devote over a day more per month to being online versus a year ago.

Hong-Kong-Media-Consumption-3

In terms of demographics, users aged 16-64 spend an average of an hour and 57 minutes a day on social media, making it the second most popular online activity for Hong Kongers after watching television. YouTube, WhatsApp, and Facebook are the most used networks but Snapchat is growing in popularity as parent company Snap reports its advertising reach in Hong Kong rose by 13% over the previous quarter.

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Of the same demographic, social media is mostly used for brand research with 44% of internet users, higher than for most countries, while 34% use voice commands in searches. 

The increase in time on the internet also shone a light on ad spend which the report revealed is in tandem with such leap. A year-on-year increase of 7% was seen in the amount brands spent on advertising on social media against a 4% rise in overall digital ad spend for 2020.

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Marketing Featured Global

Avatars’ wardrobe on Bitmoji, Snapchat gets upgrade with new Levi’s tie-up

Santa Monica, California, USA – Avatars made on Emoji maker platform Bitmoji gets a fashion upgrade with Bitmoji through a new partnership with global clothing brand Levi’s. As its in-app avatar creator, the “wardrobe” addition will also be applied to social media platform Snapchat. 

Through the Levi X Bitmoji partnership, which was brought on to appeal to Gen Z consumers, users will now be able to customize their avatar with select Levi’s “apparel”, which includes 12 curated Levi outfits, the 501® Original Fit Jeans, Trucker Jackets, and Western Shirts, all available in multiple washes. 

Once finished customizing their digital avatar, users can use and see their designed avatars in various Snapchat features, such as chat and games, on the Snap Map, in Lenses, and in personalized content like Bitmoji Stories.

(Left) A model sporting Levi’s Trucker Jacket, (Center) A Bitmoji avatar sporting a digital version of the Levi’s Trucker Jacket, (Right) A SnapChat QR Code for users to check on the rest of the featured Levi collection.

“As people live more and more of their lives online, it’s crucial for brands to find authentic ways to exist in the digital world,” says John Imah, Snap’s head of games and entertainment partnerships.

“Leading fashion brands like Levi’s have embraced Bitmoji’s ability to foster genuine connections with consumers in the digital spaces that they live in. We’re pleased to bring together the world’s most loved avatar with one of the world’s go-to denim brands in this exciting partnership,” he added. 

The Levi’s® x Bitmoji collection is now available worldwide for Snapchatters and Bitmoji users on Android and iOS devices.