Meaningful ways to connect, by Snap Inc’s Farimah Moeini

Snap’s business solutions lead, Farimah Moeini looks at how mobile apps such as Snapchat can bring people closer during Ramadan.

This year, Ramadan traditions are evolving in response to the exceptional circumstances we are all experiencing. With the current restrictions on gatherings and the cancelling of permits for Iftar tents in countries including the UAE, the way we traditionally celebrated Ramadan is going to be different. Yet human connections and our traditional shared Ramadan values remain the same – no matter the circumstances.

With this in mind, Snapchat will provide the community with ways to stay connected and share Ramadan values in a virtual environment. Snapchatters claim that they will spend 30 per cent more time on their social and communication apps this Ramadan compared with last year.

We also anticipate that six in 10 will watch more video content to learn about specific products or services, and almost seven in 10 will rely on social apps to discover and buy new products and services. That’s an enormous amount of attention when you consider the platform’s monthly addressable reach of 67 million unique users in MENA.

Brands are also an important part of our community’s consumer culture. For those brands looking to truly connect with their audiences through the region’s most popular ‘digital majlis’ this Ramadan, I’d encourage them to connect in a meaningful way through our three main pillars: camera, communication and content.

Want to know more about how brands and consumers will be spending their money and time this Ramadan? Join our Ramadan webinar on 7 April.


Unleash meaningful creativity via the Camera

Snapchat has become an ideal place to “gather” and experience Ramadan, even while apart. 44 per cent of Snapchatters say that they send more Snaps to friends and family during Ramadan as they are looking for ways to use the camera to stay connected, sharing what they’re doing and expressing how they’re feeling. Brands can meet consumers where they are and establish a meaningful connection through the Snap Camera. In particular, its native augmented reality (AR) capabilities are an innovative way to own the moment. For example, while Ramadan 2020 was different from any other year and despite physical social distancing, Vimto’s ambitions remained the same: “being a core part of sweet togetherness and connections amongst loved ones”. Post its campaign, the soft drink brand saw an overall uplift in perception score by 16 percentage points, of which 6.7 points of contribution were driven by Snapchat.

One in three Snapchatters in Saudi Arabia, for example, say they use AR Lenses and Filters more during Ramadan than other months of the year. Additionally, brands need to ensure their creative assets highlight the values of Ramadan to create a feel-good factor for the community, encouraging Snapchatters to express and connect.

Take part in their conversations

Snapchatters in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait opened Snapchat 41 times a day and spent 77 minutes daily on the app on average during Ramadan in 2020, which was a 20 per cent increase compared to the year before. This is clearly the space to be for brands that want high engagement, not just to push a message to their audiences but also to foster meaningful conversations around Ramadan values and a sense of community.

Brands can take advantage of the platform’s Story Ads, for example, to develop branded and episodic editorial that encourages communication and active participation. In fact, we have found that over 60 per cent say that using Snapchat is a smart way for brands to reach someone like them. Nearly the same percentage pays more attention to brands and products when they see them on Snapchat, and half say that they use the app to learn about things they intend to purchase – especially if it’s something recommended by family or friends. With Snapchat dynamic targeting, brands can cater to certain audience segments with specific interests and drive engagement in an automated way.

Share your meaningful brand stories on the most popular mobile TV

The way people watch content has evolved tremendously in recent years. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, more people watched video content on Discover every day than any of the top 10 TV channels, both before and during Covid-19. On Snap’s Discover platform, there is a huge spike in content consumption revolving around food, fashion, entertainment and other lifestyle-related themes. During Ramadan, this consumption increases as people are fasting and they have more free time.

Through Snapchat, brands can provide engaged audiences with their branded content. Vertical Snap Ads and commercials are both video formats that are seamlessly placed between Discover content. This is a clear opportunity to associate your brand with meaningful stories that demonstrate you understand your audience; what inspires them, what makes them laugh and what leads them to purchase. Many of our premium content partners – from Rotana Media Group to MBC, Saudi Broadcasting Authority, Sky News Arabia, Uturn Entertainment, and others – are rapidly migrating to full-screen, sound-on, premium content on mobile, and can help make the traditional viewing experience much more immersive.

Ultimately, brands need to understand their audiences have adopted new ways of communication and connection, especially during Ramadan. Their media consumption, engagement on social platforms and purchase journey have changed a lot in the last year. We look forward to partnering with our brands and bringing more meaningful ways to connect with our community through the camera, communication and content this Ramadan.