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    Q&A: Kathryn Carter – ‘Asia as a Whole is a Key Region for Us’

    Carter is Snap's General Manager for ANZ, Southeast Asia & Hong Kong.

    By Bobby McGill - Sep 7, 2020
    Q&A: Kathryn Carter – ‘Asia as a Whole is a Key Region for Us’

    We recently caught up with Kathryn Cater, the GM for Snap, Inc. covering Australia-New Zealand, Southeast Asia, and Hong Kong, to talk about the company’s expansion in the region following the June announcement of opening an office in Singapore.


    What’s been keeping you busy lately?

    There is a lot keeping me busy. Like everyone, we have been in a state of rapid transition and we know it’s been challenging for our clients. It has been our priority to be visible and available to our agency partners. Our team remains inspired and motivated despite the challenging circumstances because our product has never been more important in people’s lives, especially for helping close friends and family stay together emotionally while they are separated physically.

    Snapchat is a very different platform from the traditional social media platforms, and that’s a huge opportunity for us. We’ve been very thoughtful about what we build. We understand the impact technology can have on people’s lives and we strongly believe we can have a positive impact.

    We are seeing some bright spots amongst direct response advertisers, especially those who provide activities or products that our community can enjoy at home. In the short-term, we are shifting sales resources and pulling forward some investments in direct response to better serve the advertisers who are trying to reach our audience during this time.

    In the medium term, we are helping our partners plan for the road to recovery, which we believe will be led in part by the younger generation. As people are sheltering in their homes, they are increasingly turning to digital behaviors across every aspect of their lives, including communication, commerce, entertainment, fitness, and learning.

    We believe that this will accelerate the digital transformation across many businesses and that the heightened levels of activity we are seeing today will lead to a sustained uplift in the digital economy over time.

    The Snapchat Generation is digitally native and adopts new technologies quickly, which will help them continue to drive this transformation. This makes our audience uniquely positioned to help businesses recover, and we want to do our part to help jumpstart the recovery.

    Snapchat announced the opening of an office in Singapore to spread its reach in Southeast Asia. What drove the decision and why now?

    Southeast Asia is a geographically expansive and populous region, and it has grown in importance for Snap over the past 12 months. Singapore, being an important gateway to the region, is a natural choice in our expansion plans. Singapore’s vibrant cultural diversity presents Snap with immense opportunities to grow our strategic partnerships and create unique local content and programs for the community to engage visually with their close friends and family. Additionally, the Singapore office will strengthen Snap’s support for brand advertising partners based in the Asia-Pacific region.

    How is the app being embraced in the region?

    Asia as a whole is a key region for us. We see more consumers continuing to increase their time on digital platforms, and as a platform that encourages authentic conversations between real friends, we want to ensure that everyone has that opportunity to do so.

    “The current crisis has accelerated the move to a digital economy. We are witnessing a massive shift towards technically enabled products and businesses and how people are buying and discovering new brands.”

    Snapchat’s technology makes it possible to stay in touch with friends, from Snapchat Calling to Snap Camera, friends have kept close through voice and video. Globally, Snapchat’s calling feature, often used with AR experiences, grew by more than 50% during late March compared to late February.

    In a recent interview, Evan Spiegel said of Snapchat’s eCommerce potential for brands: “Let’s say you’re getting ready with your friends, or your school dance is two weeks from now — you can actually shop together with your friends.” Tell us more about that and how you’re driving eCommerce on the app in the region.

    The business world has changed beyond recognition and being digitally connected has never been more important. The current crisis has accelerated the move to a digital economy. We are witnessing a massive shift towards technically enabled products and businesses and how people are buying and discovering new brands.

    This has now paved a huge opportunity for brands to expand their reach across the region, and Snap is committed to helping local and regional advertisers. Our growing audience in the Southeast Asia region offers advertisers a unique opportunity to reach a generation of consumers who are driving the post-COVID-19 recovery.

    “Asia as a whole is a key region for us. We see more consumers continuing to increase their time on digital platforms, and as a platform that encourages authentic conversations between real friends, we want to ensure that everyone has that opportunity to do so.”

    One example I would highlight is the AR shoe try-on, an offering we announced during our recent Snap Partner Summit. To leverage on that opportunity, Gucci launched the first global sponsored AR shoe try-on Lenses with Snapchat*. The technology allows Snapchatters to select from four pairs of shoes, via two different AR Lenses, to see how they look with Gucci’s latest shoes before they buy. If they are keen on purchasing the shoe, they can do so directly via a “Shop Now” button, which leads them to the Gucci website.

    Apart from that, we announced the rollout of Dynamic Product Ads (DPAs), a new ad unit designed specifically for eCommerce brands. Available in select markets DPAs allow brands of all sizes to showcase their products and services in a professional layout through customized ad formats that can be easily set up. The arrival of DPAs, which is free to access, means that advertisers will save time, not only on the creative process but also on the admin front, allowing advertisers to easily run measurable ‘always-on’ campaigns.

    We are seeing strong results from advertisers in multiple sectors – from high street clothing brands to food delivery companies – who have been testing the product. We are hopeful and are helping our partners plan for the road to recovery, which we believe will be led in part by the Snapchat Generation – Gen Z and Millennials.

    Besides this, we are also encouraging brands to make use of Snap Pixel, a conversion-tracking tool for eCommerce targeting and measurement. The pixel can track leads, subscriptions, product sales and more, and work with eCommerce platforms like Shopify.

    It’s notable that Evan references “school dance”. Are you seeing similar demographic trends with a younger audience in Asia as in other markets?

    The Snapchat Generation – Gen Z and Millennials – primarily comprises informed, tolerant, active, and diverse individuals who use Snapchat on a daily basis. The Snapchat Generation are the region’s consumers of today, and critically the future. They have significant lifetime values for our advertising partners and are in the process of building brand loyalties, which makes our audience extremely attractive to advertisers.

    The Snapchat Generation are digital natives who have grown up with the internet, digital creative tools, and gesture recognition – they are always looking to express themselves creatively online. That’s why we believe that Snapchat is the fastest and easiest way to express yourself. We have never tried to be a social media platform, instead, we are a platform for ephemeral, authentic, visual communication between real friends. When you open Snapchat, you open into your own experience, through the camera – not someone else’s experience, through a feed. We have created a place without likes, comments, or follower counts.

    You told GQ last year there is a “genuine commitment to creating, telling, and publishing stories that matter at Snapchat.” Talk more about that.

    We believe the mobile phone is so much more than another screen to distribute content. We’re not just creating content for mobile, we’re creating for our audience on mobile, so we are committed to building a stage in a storytelling format that puts the narrative first.

    This commitment drove the launch of Snapchat Discover, a place for Snapchatters to explore Stories from world-class leaders in media and stay up-to-date on current events, pop culture, and more. We also created, in-house, our premium, made-for-mobile shows called Snap Originals exclusively for Snapchatters. Today, we boast the likes of ESPN, NBCUniversal, and more, as partners of our original content, which ranges from comedy, horror, and reality docuseries such as Will From Home and Endless.

    Snap’s storytelling ethos is reflective of our community’s diverse voices, experiences, and passions, as well as the company’s commitment to the emotional and social well-being of our audience.


    Quick Hits

    What have you binge-watched lately?

    I have to admit, I have binge-watched a lot of shows over this period! Everything from Ozark, to Little Fires Everywhere, to my new guilty treat – Selling Sunset!

    Song you can’t get out of your head?

    Nue” by Clara Luciani

    When international travel opens again, where are you going first and why?

    I got married when COVID-19 hit (in a very different way to what was initially planned), and unfortunately, had to cancel my honeymoon plans. So as soon as I can, I’ll be rebooking to head to Bora Bora and I cannot wait!

     

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