DUBAI: At the core of every modern mobile phone is a camera and one self-declared “camera company” has placed its focus on the Snapchat community in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
As far as Snap is concerned, the camera is king. “Our audience in the GCC market specifically understood the core product value of Snapchat and they use Snapchat as a camera,” said Hussein Freijeh, general manager of Snap in MENA.
“They communicate visually through pictures and videos and they understood the format that Snapchat created for a mobile-only world.”
There are currently 34 million monthly unique users on Snapchat in MENA with the platform reaching 60 percent of 13- to 24-year-olds in the UAE and 90 percent of the same age bracket in Saudi Arabia – more than Instagram.
In fact, the company said that Snapchat had a higher open rate than Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, throughout Ramadan 2019 in Saudi Arabia.
“When the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic came, the need for people to communicate increased massively. As a result, we’ve seen a massive increase in our engagement because this is what Snapchat is all about,” added Freijeh.
As more people have spent time on the platform, Snapchat has evolved its offering beyond just entertainment and communication, to utility.
Freijeh noted that Snapchat already had an extremely engaged community and the next step was to work with developers and partners and bring them within the ecosystem to innovate further.
An example of this was the announcement of Minis at the Snap Partner Summit 2020, which are third-party apps that are integrated into Snapchat. Meditation app, Headspace, is one such example allowing users to meditate from within Snapchat.
“One of the things that makes us extremely excited about how we’re evolving as a platform is that idea of adding utility to entertainment on Snapchat. When I pull out my camera and point it toward a mathematic formula, and the camera solves it for me … automatically Snapchat and the camera of Snapchat moves from entertainment to the utility component,” the GM said.