Claire Valoti, Snap Inc’s general manager for the UK, took to that stage at IAB Engage today (13 October) to dispell misconceptions about the platform's user base with never-before-published figures showing nearly half of its adult users in the UK are parents; with over three quarters aged over 18.
Valoti was hired in January from Facebook, where she was director of agency partnerships, to lead the platform’s first European sales office. Today marked her first public speaking engagement as a representative of the company. It seems a fitting time to establish a concrete presence in the UK, given that one third of its daily average users are in Europe; 10m of these in the UK.
Interestingly, of its UK audience, 77 per cent is over 18, according to a Snap Inc internal research study, while 43 per cent of adult Snapchatters are parents. This will come as a surprise to many advertisers and publishers of the platform, who have hailed Snapchat as the millennial playground since its inception, the platform to reach the notoriously hard to reach younger demographic.
"As we are growing up so is the audience," Valoti said.
Valoti also echoed chief strategy officer Imran Khan’s assertion that Snapchat is first and foremost a camera company, and why its many updates including facial mapping, lenses and geofilters are centred with having better photo capability and creativity in mind.
"Over two thirds of people create content on our platform every single day, that is very different because on other platforms you are often greeted with content and as a result you go into the mindset of consumption," Valoti said.
"We see ourselves as a camera company and that is probably the biggest misconception of us; people think of us as a social media company."
The biggest example of its camera-first thinking came with the launch of Spectacles last month. Spectacles are sunglasses with built in video camera, which use a new circular video format. Circular video can be played full screen, in any orientation. The idea is to make it easy to capture life’s moments from a perspective that is "the closest thing to a human eye", Valoti said.
On advertising, Valoti pointed to IAB research released yesterday that show mobile display has overtaken desktop, saying "as an industry that should be a wake up call for what mobile advertising should look like".
Snapchat, as a mobile-first company, recognised early it had an advantage in this area, and from the onset created ads that are of the same quality as its own products, and fit within the same carousel. It has a unified product creation team, meaning the people creating consumer products are the same people creating the advertising.
It is a high-resource option, since Snap Ads have to be created in fitting with stringent guidelines that are unique to the platform, but Veloti claims brands get twice as much sales uplift versus mobile norms.
"We believe being different, taking a different approach to advertising, pays off and drives the right business results," she said.
That said, Valoti is keen that brands understand their purpose and place on that platform, "We believe brands and brands and people are people. People come to Snapchat to talk to their real friends. But there is absolutely a place for brands on our platform."