Snapchat highlights its commitment to Gen Z at Goafest 2024

Social media platforms are constantly vying for our attention, with new features and algorithmic tweaks designed to keep us glued to their apps. However, the Team of Snapchat Inc. India at Goa Fest 2024 delved into how their strategy aligns with Gen-Z’s desire for more authentic online interactions

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Mumbai: Social media platforms are a constant source of headlines, with new features battling for our attention and algorithms quietly shaping our online experience. But at the recent Goafest 2024 summit, the Snap Inc. India team offered a breath of fresh air. Their masterclass, titled "GenZ Marketing 101: The Snap Camera," highlighted a focus on privacy, close connections, and ephemeral content—a stark contrast to the like-driven, comment-fueled world of many other platforms.

"The goal of technology was to try and bring the world closer together," said Yagnesh Ravi, Account Management Lead of Snap Inc., India. "We went from trying to build, bringing people closer together, to trying and getting them as hooked onto the platform as possible." 

Ravi argued that this relentless pursuit of engagement has come at the expense of user well-being and genuine connection. Snap, on the other hand, offers an alternative: a private space for close friends to share photos and videos that disappear after a set time. This approach perfectly aligns with Gen Z's reported desire for more authentic online interactions and a focus on smaller, more intimate social circles.

"The average we see on Snap is about 10 to 20 [friends]," Ravi said, emphasising the platform's dedication to fostering close connections. "We, as human beings, realise that there is probably more value in having a very close circle app."

This strategy seems to be resonating with Indian users. Despite restrictions on content sharing, Snap boasts a staggering 200 million monthly active users in India, solidifying its position as one of the largest ad platforms in the country. Notably, their growth trajectory surpasses competitors whose user base fluctuates with seasonal events.

The team at Goafest spoke about Snap's commitment to Gen Z extending beyond the user experience. They are actively developing augmented reality (AR) advertising solutions specifically tailored for this demographic. Ravi acknowledges a generational shift in how people interact with the digital world.

"I have made my entire career being a digital major," he said with a touch of humour. "Having seen the breadth and depth of engagement that Gen Z has with Snap, I realise that I am now officially old and can no longer take decisions based on what I or just the immediate circle around me do." 

The masterclass, co-presented by Srivatsan Jayasnakar, Head of AR Partnerships at Snap Inc., India, delved into the details of various AR advertising formats offered by Snap. This included their recent announcement of Lens Studio, an easy-to-use AR creation tool. This focus on user-friendly AR tools aligns with industry trends suggesting a rise in user-generated AR content, particularly among Gen Z.

"We're seeing a massive explosion of user-generated content, and that's where the future is," Srivatsan Jayasnakar remarked during the presentation. "AR is the perfect way to blend the physical and digital worlds, and with Lens Studio, we're putting the power of AR creation in the hands of everyone." 

Jayasnakar further elaborated on the potential of AR advertising, specifically for Gen Z. "Gen Z is a generation that has grown up with technology, and they're incredibly comfortable with AR. They understand its potential and are eager to experiment with it.

This creates a unique opportunity for brands to connect with this demographic in a new and engaging way, but it's important to remember that authenticity is key. AR experiences that feel forced or intrusive will be rejected."

"The future of social media is about creating meaningful connections and fostering creativity," Jayasnakar concluded. This reflects the team’s commitment to understanding Gen Z and their willingness to innovate with AR technology. All of it adds to a future of social media likely to be further shaped by a battle for authenticity, creativity, and meaningful connections, or not, but audience engagement will surely be the deciding factor.