What Brands Need to Know About Snapchat in Malaysia

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(marketingmagazine.com.my) – By: Meredith Wallace

Snapchat now has more daily users than Twitter, with more than 150 million people using the platform daily. Discover Snapchat’s service for publishers are reportedly capturing between 200,000 and 3 million views daily. Snapchat user ‘Stories’ are garnering more than 10 billion daily video views, more than Facebook’s reported 8 billion daily video views. It’s clear – Snapchat is a major platform contender at this point, but the question remains: what opportunity does Snapchat present for brands in Malaysia? And ultimately, should your brand be getting on-board?

Snapchat Use in Malaysia

The truth is, there is very little demographic data available about the absolute number of Snapchat users within Malaysia. Yet, despite minimal data available in industry and platform reports, Snapchat, as indicated by our insights on Snapchat use in Malaysia, is a much debated topic on social media. Though usage numbers may not be reported, conversations about the ephemeral app are there, especially among women, who are mentioning Snapchat two times as often as men in Malaysia.

Hot topics among Malaysians include sharing filtered Snapchat selfies, and re-sharing celebrity selfies using Snapchat’s popular filters. Social media influencers such as Jinny Boy and Jane Chuck have been quick to jump on-board and use Snapchat, while local Snapchat-specific content creators such as Darren Leong are emerging. With celebrities and local influencers leading the way, we predict it is only a matter of time before Snapchat gains interest among Malaysians.

How Brands in Malaysia Can Use Snapchat

At this point, Snapchat does not offer advertising products in Malaysia, or elsewhere in Asia. As such, brands will not be able to take advantage of Snapchat’s recently launched paid advertising options through Discover, Live Stories, Geo-filters, and Lenses. However, any Malaysian brand can sign up for Snapchat simply by creating a free user account. Much like Facebook or Instagram, brands may communicate one-to-one with their fans through Chat and publish organic content through Stories. Brands may also work with Snapchat influencers to reach audiences, such by sponsoring content or inviting influencers to exclusive events.

Snapchat brandInfluencer content collaboration with Disney (images via @Shonduras)

The Evolution of Snapchat

Since its launch in 2012, Snapchat has evolved from a basic photo sharing app to a diversified content platform that includes aggregated geo-targeted live stories, individual user stories, and publisher content by select Discover partners, such as Buzzfeed, Cosmopolitan, and CNN. More recently, Snapchat added Memories, a cloud storage within the app which allows users to save and customize their photos at their discretion (as opposed to disappearing as before). My Eyes Only has also been added as a nod back to Snapchat’s more scandalous past as a risque photo sharing app, with a password protected folder to store discreet photos.

Looking to the Future

It is clear Snapchat is making a definite effort to attract new users and increase viewership with existing users, two drivers that will be integral for Snapchat to achieve global dominance. However, for non-U.S. markets, the heavily controlled publisher feed leaves no avenue for local publishers or local brand opportunities. While Cosmopolitan may reign in the U.S., media sites such as Hijabista may find better opportunities in Malaysia, though with a heavily controlled layout this may not be possible with Snapchat.

For success globally, Snapchat will need to think beyond scale in terms of users and absolute viewership, but rather how the platform can offer attractive options for local media publishers, and in what ways advertisers can reach their audiences on the platform with locally relevant content.

As our recent social listening report indicates, interest with Malaysians is there – but the larger question remains: what opportunities will Snapchat present to brands in Southeast Asia? With incumbent platforms such as South Korea’s Snow, which is more localized for Asian markets, Snapchat will have stiff competition as it battles for dominance globally.

Meredith Wallace is the Group Head of Social Media & Engagement at Lion & Lion.

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