5 Insights on Malaysian Snapchat Users

snapchat filter

(Marketingmagazine.com.my) – By: Shamim Fareez, Social Analytics Lead, Lion & Lion

According to Bloomberg, Snapchat now surpasses Twitter’s daily users by nearly 10 million – no small feat for a platform that is only 4 years old. Yet, despite success, Snapchat has notoriously struggled to provide sufficient data for brands and advertisers. With only basic stats provided for user accounts and minimal country demographics available, our team at

With only basic stats provided for user accounts and minimal country demographics available, our team at Lion & Lion has had to dig deeper to understand our Snapchat audiences in Malaysia. With the help of social analytics platform Talkwalker, here’s what we discovered.

1. Malaysians love to share Snapchat content outside Snapchat.
Selfies – especially filtered selfies – are driving conversations on Twitter and Instagram in Malaysia. In September 2015, Snapchat launched Lenses, a lense store with daily free filters to augment selfies and videos. Malaysia – once listed as one of the most selfie taking regions in the world – has been quick to take advantage of this free offering, with a flood of dog-filtered and rainbow-spewing selfies hitting newsfeeds. All eyes are on Snapchat for when they will roll-out the already popular brand-sponsored filters globally.

rainbow puke snapchat filterRainbow Puking, A popular Snapchat filter

2. Adding friends on Snapchat is still a pain point.
10% of conversations by Malaysians in regards to Snapchat were simply sharing their Snapchat ID’s so others could follow them. Unlike Facebook, acquiring friends on Snapchat is not as simple as typing in your friend’s first or last name, or linking your social accounts (such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) to your other mobile apps.

Adding friends on Snapchat requires a more pro-active approach by the user, often by sharing their unique username or personalized URL on other social accounts to gain awareness. With 50% year-over-year growth, one can only wonder how fast the platform could grow with an easier user discovery process.

3. Malaysian women are dominating Snapchat conversations.
More than 2x as many Snapchat mentions came from women than men. What’s more, Malaysian women are more inclined to share Snapchat content outside the app, while Malaysian men are more likely to simply comment on their use of Snapchat (without sharing their Snaps).

This data highlights a global trend -Snapchat is experiencing a spike in 18-to-34 year old female users of the app. Recent updates such as Snapchat Discover have made publishing a core product for media brands, with publishers such as Cosmopolitan reporting an average of 19 million views per month. To put in perspective, this is no small feat when one considers how Snapchat has only a fraction of the total users compared to Facebook, yet is surpassing Facebook in terms of daily video views by 2 billion – quite a feat for a platform that started as a simple messaging app.

snapchat graph

4. Celebrity Snaps are a hot topic with Malaysians.

Malaysian celebrities such as Nora Danish, Yuna, and Neelofa as well as international celebrities such Demi Lovato and K-Pop’s FX’s Amber and 2PM’s Taecyeon have been quick to join Snapchat, and fans have been quick to re-post their Snaps on social media.

Malaysian brands, who are limited in terms of advertising options with Snapchat, would be wise to reach out to celebrities with large Snapchat followings for brand collaborations. In fact, Snapchat takeovers by celebrities have been a key driver of buzz online, such as Zayn Malik’s takeover of MTV’s Snapchat and Niall Horan’s takeover of the UFC’s Snapchat, both of which reportedly drove buzz for the brands on Twitter.

neelofa snapchat
Neelofa experimenting with Snapchat filters

5. Local influencers are emerging.
Social influencers such as Jane Chuck and Jinnie Boy have embraced the platform, bringing their legions of fans to their accounts. Snapchat-specific content creators are also beginning to emerge with unique followings of their own, such as Darren Leong, who illustrates his Snaps with the Paint feature. As with celebrities, we predict more Snapchat brand collaborations in the future.

Darren Leong, emerging Malaysian Snapchat star

Looking towards the future.

Let’s start with the bad news first: Snapchat doesn’t offer advertising in Asia (yet) and the platform isn’t ranking high on industry reports.

However, the good news? We predict this to change.

With social media influencers and celebrities joining Snapchat, it will only be a matter of time that the young and trendy will follow. Likewise, what may represent a small market in in terms of total population may represent a large proportion of your target market – one that is young, digitally savvy, and trend-driven. Brands who wish to reach these markets in innovative ways may wish to partner with Snapchat influencers, or alternatively, start their own Snapchat accounts.

Our thoughts? With Facebook already pay-to-play and other platforms following suit, early adopters can only benefit by driving incremental reach and engagement through emerging organic channels. While the cumbersome and impromptu nature of Snapchat may limit its scale in terms of total population, significant opportunities exist to reach an increasingly mobile-first millennial target market.

Shamim Fareez is the Social Analytics Lead for Lion & Lion, an award-winning, full-service digital agency operating in Asia. She has a degree in International Business and has an affinity for data, is a foodie as well as a self-proclaimed fan girl. She leans on her fan girl life to truly understand how she can help brands achieve a personal connection with fans.

Data for this article was taken from Talkwalker, January to
March 2016 data

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surpassing Facebook in terms of daily video views by 2 billion

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