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'Nobody will ask why they need vertical videos now': Snap on why it welcomes competition from rivals


By Shawn Lim, Reporter, Asia Pacific

September 27, 2018 | 7 min read

Vertical video has been getting a lot of love recently from social networks with Instagram launching its long-form IGTV and YouTube following suit with vertical video ads.

While these giants are encroaching on the pioneers of vertical video Snapchat’s territory, its developer Snap does not feel threatened. Instead, it is excited to see brands becoming more familiar with the format as it reduces the barriers of creation.

This is because Snap feels that as vertical video is inherently native to mobile, in a lot of ways it is expected that other platforms would adopt it. What it is focused on instead, is what is best for its community, first and foremost.

“I get really excited, because now people don't have to say, "Why do I need vertical video?" says Jeff Miller, global head of creative strategy at Snap in a conversation with The Drum on the sidelines of Spikes Asia 2018.

“They know they need it because that's how the community's engaging on mobile first and foremost. Now it's about, how do you break through? How do you tell a creative story in a way that makes someone want to stop and watch your content?”

What keeps Miller, a former marketer at Pepsico up at night though, is how Snap connects the dots with experiences that ultimately have to drive ROI for brands. “We gotta ensure we're meeting business objectives, but do it in ways that are incredibly enriching and immersive.”

“That is the standard of Snapchat, and that is the vision for great mobile experiences more broadly, and it doesn't keep me up at night in a negative way. It keeps me up in an incredibly excited way, because I feel like we are at a crossroads now in the company that is laser-focused on achieving that.”

Snap's APAC strategy

According to Miller, Australia is the platform’s biggest growth market in Asia Pacific as 5.4 million users can be reached over a multi-week Snap Ad campaign in the Oceanic country. India comes in a close second with over 6 million, then New Zealand with over a million, over 600,000 in Indonesia and over 400,000 in the Philippines.

This means that while Snap has largely engaged in raising and driving awareness with campaigns in the APAC region, it has started to really dive into the lower marketing funnel for direct response and advertising in Australia and New Zealand.

“That's where we've seen a lot of people using our formats, the Snap ads, and the filters, and what I'm hopeful for, and what we're starting to start to see pick up are ones that are rooted in reality or lenses, and then our newest format storylines,” explains Miller.

“In particular Australia and New Zealand, from top of the funnel to starting to use it for e-commerce, to starting to use it for thinking about like on Pixel how you connect it to a purchase in a measurable way, and even app-install is really a growing category for us in particular.”

With performance marketers in Australia and New Zealand starting to think about using Snap Ads, the opportunity for Snap in APAC, is how it will start to fit some of those successes that it seen in Oceania, and apply them in the broader region, adds Miller.

Data and creativity

Snap is focused on is making sure that it provides brands with scalable and relevant audiences, so that it can serve the right ad placement to the right audience at the right time.

That is where creativity and data go hand in hand, says Miller, as ultimately, Snap knows it is all about ROI for marketers. That is why the platform has many different ways that it is measuring the value of placements and impressions.

“Especially given the depth of the engagement on Snapchat, we're really focused on how to use data to inform a learning agenda, so we have experimental design in place,” he says.

“We need to think about how do you vary creative? How do you vary the target? How do you vary different ad products in the mix? And then, we need to understand how we can apply that data from an ROI standpoint of one dollar in. What does that mean in terms of payout for sales?”

E-commerce and mobile games

The platform is fully committed to the future of augmented reality because one in three people every single day is using AR on the platform, says Miller, and they are spending roughly three minutes a day playing with AR. This means there are opportunities to explore e-commerce and mobile games innovation.

Snap recently launched a visual search collaboration with Amazon that makes it easier for people to search for products on its platfrom, then buy them from the e-commerce platform.

“The fact that the app opens to the camera and mobile device, it's such an enabler of having these deep experiences rooted in augmented reality. So for us it's, how do we continue to set the standard from a community standpoint, from the innovation standpoint, on what AR can mean powered by this device, the mobile phone?” he explains.

Miller cites the Australia-based HiSmile brand as an example, which in terms of a performance marketing, is seeing meaningful results that translates to increased spend and increased commitments for users when it used Snapchat to advertise.

According to AppsFlyer’s 2018 Performance Index report, Snapchat is gaining ground, especially in non-gaming category, where it has jumped five spots into fourth place in the volume ranking, and from 16th to eight place in the power ranking.

In the ROI Index, Snapchat came in at number one in the casual gaming category and overall, Snapchat’s share in the non-gaming app install pie has grown 75%, while in gaming, a 36% relative growth was recorded. This is due to advances in India, Eastern Europe, and Australia by the platform, which drove most of the social network’s growth.

“From an e-commerce standpoint with our Snap Pixel, brands have the ability to really understand the value of it. So already today we're seeing an APAC that e-commerce and app install in general are very well established, and then mobile gaming is a burgeoning vertical for us,” explains Miller.

“So we are seeing more broadly globally that performance marketers are seeing incredible success. So what we need to do now in APAC is apply that success while we have the means to be able to do that.”

The Drum will be reporting from Spikes this week. To keep up to date with the latest content, check out The Drum’s Spikes Asia page.

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