Snap's AR Ramadan Mall reopens with a grand makeover

Snap Inc. has officially opened the virtual doors for its pioneering AR Ramadan Mall. Building on the success of two previous editions, the AR Mall returns with a creative makeover for 2024. For the first time, users will be able to explore luxury pop-up boutiques, enjoy an impressive new design for Eid, and visit directly from the Apple Store. Hosting 11 leading brands across five shopping verticals including beauty, fashion, auto and F&B, the AR mall will come to life through a 360 degree multi-level virtual marketplace.Elevating the traditional shopping experience through the power of AR, users can engage with their favourite retailers in an immersive way. Browsing the Mall’s offerings from the comfort of their homes, Snapchatters can also share products directly with friends and family on the platform. Snapchat is the number one app of choice for staying connected, and the AR Mall serves as a digital extension of cherished moments during the Holy month, a time when coming together matters most. The distinctive pop-up boutiques available throughout the Mall is a first for 2024, mirroring real life luxury brand concept stores which spotlight dedicated product ranges - highlighting Snap’s dedication to create more innovative shopping encounters.Last year, the AR Mall achieved an average play time of 26.3 seconds and a 33% increase in visitors from the first edition in 2022. Promised to create an even more unforgettable journey for 2024, shoppers are invited to experience the transformed AR Mall with many surprises in store.Mohammed Bouarib, Senior Creative Strategist for Snap Inc. MENA, added: “The third edition of the Snap AR Ramadan Mall promises to be our most ambitious yet. It is believed that E-commerce will grow by 8% in the next five years with the MENA region leading this growth, and the updated 2024 Mall showcases how brands can creatively connect with shoppers online. With over 85% of MENA Snapchat users interacting with Lenses each day, our commitment remains to create experiences that defy expectations using our pioneering technology.”“From just four brands participating in our first edition, we are thrilled to now be partnering with 11 leading brands across the region, all bringing unique shopping adventures directly to the highly engaged audience on Snapchat. With the introduction of new technologies, enhanced experiences, and even greater opportunities for engagement such as the newly introduced Eid design and our Apple store takeover is paving the way for transformed online shopping. The increase in users last year demonstrated an appetite for immersive retail experiences, and we look forward to inviting new Snapchatters to the Mall this year”.The full list of brands found inside the Snap AR Ramadan Mall this year include:  Luxury:  Caroline Herrera  Givenchy  Fashion:  MAX  Rifi   Beauty:  Arabian Oud  AlMajed Oud  Faces  Food and beverage:  Domino’s Pizza  Lipton  Cadbury  Automotive:  BYDFurther embracing the spirit of Ramadan, the 2024 AR Mall will showcase a second design for Eid Al Fitr celebrations, illuminated with crescents and stars. Merging digital and physical worlds, Snap’s AR Mall provides an experience like no other.Users can enter Snap’s AR Ramadan Mall through the organic lens explorer and carousel feature on Snapchat between March 11th to April 14th.

OptimizeApp, Snapchat join forces to fuel MENA's SMEs

Kuwait's OptimizeApp, a leading ad-tech platform for SMEs, has joined forces with Snapchat in a strategic partnership. This collaboration aims to empower small and medium businesses across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with powerful digital advertising solutions.Building on its track record of simplifying advertising for SMEs, OptimizeApp offers a user-friendly platform with localized interfaces, payments, and account management – perfect for regional needs.Partnering with Snapchat unlocks access to a highly engaged audience. With Snapchatters in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) opening the app over 45 times a day, this is a prime opportunity for SMEs to reach new customers.Benefits for SMEs:Seamless Integration: OptimizeApp provides a smooth experience for integrating and optimizing Snapchat advertising solutions. Expert Guidance: SMEs will receive comprehensive education and support throughout their digital advertising journey with OptimizeApp.Campaign Management: Leverage OptimizeApp's expertise in creative development, campaign management, and reporting to maximize the value of advertising budgets.This partnership highlights both companies' commitment to "democratizing digital advertising." By equipping SMEs with the tools and knowledge they need, OptimizeApp and Snapchat are empowering businesses to thrive in the ever-evolving digital landscape.Bader Alkazemi, Founder & CEO of OptimizeApp, said: "We're excited to partner with Snapchat to empower SMEs across MENA. Our platform offers a comprehensive solution, helping businesses launch and manage effective digital ad campaigns."Freijeh, VP of Snap Inc. MENA, said: "We're thrilled to join forces with OptimizeApp to support SMEs. Through partnerships like this, we believe we can significantly help them reach a wider audience and drive real results."

Bigo Live organizes celebration of Saudi Arabia's win of Hosting 2030 World Expo

Bigo Live, the leading global livestreaming platform, is thrilled to announce an exciting livestream event on December 24th at 9 PM (KSA Time) in honor of Saudi Arabia’s win of hosting the prestigious 2030 World Expo in Riyadh. The exclusive event, hosted through the official account (Account ID: MENABC1) on the platform, aims to celebrate and share the enthusiasm surrounding Saudi Arabia's pivotal role in hosting this global spectacle.The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's recent triumph in securing the host position for the 2030 World Expo is a testament to its forward-thinking vision and unparalleled dedication to global progress. As a platform deeply embedded in fostering cultural exchange and celebrating diversity, Bigo Live is poised to elevate the excitement and anticipation surrounding this historic milestone.Embark on an engaging journey with Bigo Live to discover the richness of Saudi Arabia's culture and the innovative spirit defining the 2030 World Expo. Joining the livestream event are 4-6 Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) from Bigo Live, including the illustrious BIGO ID: Riva36990. Riva, a distinguished content creator with a verified Snapchat account boasting over 1 million followers (Snapchat ID: Rivva.9), returns to explore the essence of the 2030 World Expo. With a dedicated following on the Bigo Live app, Riva stands as the ideal guide to delve into the significance of this grand event.The livestream promises insightful discussions encompassing a range of topics: an overview of Saudi Arabia's progress, highlighting Riyadh's recent advancements, in-depth insights into the significance of the Riyadh Expo, and personal experiences about its impact. Additionally, Bigo Live will introduce an in-app trivia game during the session, offering exciting prizes for correct answers, enhancing the interactive experience for viewers.As part of the campaign, Bigo Live will curate an exclusive event page dedicated to the "2030 World Expo: Riyadh Celebrations." Users from the region will be invited to engage in captivating livestreams featuring cultural performances, traditional art displays, insightful discussions, and more. Furthermore, Bigo Live will introduce Saudi-themed virtual gifts and interactive features, urging users to actively participate and celebrate Riyadh's cultural significance.This event underscores Bigo Live's commitment to nurturing a diverse and engaging content ecosystem, further highlighted by its exclusive Saudi-centric activities. Notably, Bigo Live previously launched the Creators Incentive Program ahead of Riyadh Season 2023 in KSA, empowering broadcasters and fostering creative freedom, inclusivity, and community support.Earlier this year, Bigo Live introduced "Our Day is Saudi", a celebration honoring Saudi Arabia's National Day. The event united users across the MENA region, offering prestigious prizes and encouraging livestreaming activities, showcasing Saudi Arabia's rich culture and heritage.Join Bigo Live on December 24th for an unforgettable livestream event, celebrating Saudi Arabia's monumental achievement in hosting the 2030 World Expo. Let's embrace culture, creativity, and community on a global platform, showcasing the vibrant spirit of Saudi Arabia to the world.

Snapchat empowers MENA’s creator economy with new financial incentives

Middle East: As the MENA region’s creator economy continues to expand, Snap Inc. is introducing a variety of new programs and features helping creators to build sustainable businesses as well as grow and engage with their audiences.Publishers and established content creators in MENA are already successfully growing their communities on Snapchat. Meanwhile, emerging creators are being discovered and elevated from Snapchat’s creator ecosystem. Total time spent watching content on Spotlight–Snapchat’s entertainment platform for user-generated content–grew more than 200% year-over-year, and Spotlight reached more than 350 million monthly active users on average in Q1 2023. By providing game-changing content and revenue share opportunities, Snapchat is proving to be a real moneymaker for both established and aspiring creators who have learned how to take advantage of its latest features.“Snapchat offers creators at all stages of their career, aspiring and established, a variety of programs, opportunities and tools to help them grow their audiences and build sustainable businesses across Stories, Spotlight, and Discover, making content creation a full-time career. We continue to notice that creators value Snapchat because it provides unique reach, relevance, and revenue and we are excited to continue supporting creators every step of the way and empowering them with the tools they need to unleash their creativity and succeed in leaving a lasting impact on our platform,” said Julie Bogaert, Head of EMEA Talent Partnerships at Snap Inc.The new offerings for creators come at a time when Snapchat’s monthly addressable reach in the MENA region continues to grow, and the platform’s global daily active users (DAUs) increased 12% year-over-year to 406 million as of Q3 2023.“Snapchat is a key aspect in our business and brand because it directly connects the creator to their audience. The Snapchat story ads program is a big motivator for creators to keep using the app and constantly thinking outside the box to create more engaging stories, polls, and Q&As. The revenue stream coming from it is very rewarding and truly has become a main source of income for many creators,” added lifestyle Snap Star, Aliona Shcherba @aliona.ess.New Monetization ProgramsCreators with at least 50,000 followers, 25 million monthly Snap views, and who post at least 10 Stories per month, may now be eligible to join the Stories revenue share program. Snapchat's Stories revenue share program has transformed the creator landscape by seamlessly integrating ads within creators' Stories. The program provides a consistent source of revenue, enabling creators to reinvest in producing exceptional content. Early global adopters of the Stories revenue share program have experienced remarkable success, posting more frequently and witnessing a significant increase in engagement.Snapchat also continues to champion aspiring creators through its Spotlight reward program. Increased rewards are available for those who create top-performing Spotlight Snaps, incentivizing creativity and empowering creators to turn their passion into a lucrative career.“Snapchat maintains a creator’s classy and reputable image, and at the same time is considered a good investment in a creator’s content because it brings a great source of income. It motivates one to build stories from morning until the night with enjoyment, and allows the creator to be their true self without editing and be appreciated from the app for it,” said lifestyle Snap Star, Yazan Abweny @abo.zayan.Public StoriesSnapchat understands the importance of amplifying creators' reach while maintaining its authenticity as a place for genuine connections. To address this, Snapchatters aged 18 or older can now post their own Public Story. By seamlessly switching between sharing content with friends and adding it to their Public Story, for the first time creators can expand their audience and connect with friends all within the same account. Additionally, by saving a Snap to their Public Profile, creators gain access to invaluable content performance insights and Story Replies, allowing them to engage more effectively with their audience.Expanding Creator ContentSnapchat is also bringing creator content to new surfaces across the platform, like Snap Map, making it easier to discover creators across Stories and Spotlight. For instance, creators can now tag locations in their Spotlight Snaps, significantly amplifying their exposure and enabling their videos to appear on place profiles on the Snap Map.Furthermore, Snapchat has introduced the ability for creators to save their favorite Stories to their profile. Snapchatters can then explore these Stories, discovering new creators to follow and diving deeper into Stories from their favorite creators.“As a Snap Star creator, I enjoy engaging with my audience and quoting their replies on my Public Story. This feature has created a unique and vibrant community on Snapchat where I can connect with my audience, answer their questions, and engage in meaningful discussions. I gained more than 70 million Snap views in the past month from the variety of content I share and the direct interactions I have with my audience. This also enhanced the bond between me and my viewers, and allowed me to create content that is more relatable and joyful for my audience.I was also able to benefit from Spotlight, where I post my short form content to a wide and diverse audience. I reached new viewers who may not have discovered my content in the past, gaining more than 10 million views in the past two weeks on my creator account, and a rapid growth of my subscribers. Another appealing aspect is the ability to gain monthly rewards on Spotlight based on factors such as views and other engagement metrics,” added Bader Al Safar @baderalsafar; a content creator who showcases a lot of his diverse talents through his content. From the vibrant world of sneakers and fashion, all the way to his food ASMR eating mukbangs, where he tries the most unusual snacks from around the world.Additional FeaturesThe platform has and will continue to roll out new tools for creators to help them build their presence and express themselves. Creators can now have more control over the replies that appear on their videos with Spotlight Replies, and can react to and re-share Spotlight Snaps with Remix. Other new tools allow creators to add a Linktree to their Public Profile and to add sounds to Lenses.

Tasawar by Snap Inc.: A first-of-its-kind AR exhibition redefining Saudi fashion

Snapchat, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and the Saudi Fashion Commission, is thrilled to announce TASAWAR, an avant-garde augmented reality (AR) exhibition that pushes the boundaries of fashion and creativity through technology. Taking place during Riyadh Fashion Week, TASAWAR will run from October 21 to 24 at the King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh, welcoming local partners, Snap Stars, fashion aficionados, as well as the general public to experience as the worlds of fashion and technology collide. The event will showcase collections from five renowned Saudi designers including Hekayat, Hindamme, ArAm, Abadia, and KAF by KAF. TASAWAR, which means "imagine" in Arabic, takes the imagination of every visitor on a journey that enriches the senses. A world where the beauty of fashion design meets the power of AR technology in a series of captivating experiences and activations. The exhibition will deliver an immersive guest-journey featuring designer showrooms, virtual runways, dress try-ons, headpiece selfie lenses, and more. These experiences will come to life through Snapchat's camera and innovative AR technology, aiming to enhance the real world, not replace it with virtual reality. Striving to educate and inspire designers from Saudi and across the region, the event will host expert keynote and panel discussions led by TASAWAR's content partner, Chalhoub Group, a leader in luxury retail and innovative solutions, covering topics such as “A Thriving Fashion Landscape in KSA”, “The Future of Fashion in KSA” and “Fusing Creativity and Technology: The Future of Design”.Snapchatters will also be able to celebrate the inaugural edition of Riyadh Fashion Week with an immersive 3D Bitmoji lens that embodies the very essence of the fashion runway. Fashion aficionados will be able to stride confidently onto the Riyadh Fashion Week runway in the most personalized experience by leveraging their very own Bitomji, allowing them to be the main star of the show.Noha Kattan, Deputy Minister of National Partnerships and Development at the Ministry of Culture said, “The Ministry of Culture is dedicated to enhancing collaboration between the public and private sectors in addition to driving cultural exchange. The TASAWARexhibition, which is considered a key outcome of our strong partnership with Snap Inc., marks a significant stride forward in enhancing the national cultural scene and propelling the fashion industry into new horizons by integrating it with the world of technology.” She continued,“The Ministry of Culture will move ahead with its efforts to provide a nurturing environment for Saudi talents, support them in building their distinctive businesses and brands as well as equip them with innovations that will allow them to reach global audiences while also highlighting the depth of our culture and its unique attributes.”“Snapchat, deeply ingrained in the daily lives of Saudis, boasts over 22 million monthly users who use the platform to easily and authentically connect with those who matter most to them. This responsibility drives us to give back to the community and actively support the flourishing local talent, the dynamic creative scene, as well as the booming business ecosystem. This is precisely what we are achieving through TASAWAR, we're empowering the next generation of Saudi designers and brands that are leading the way in the digital transformation at play in Saudi Arabia by leveraging our AR technology and our ecosystem of local partners and creators,” said Abdulla Alhammadi, Regional Business Lead at Snap Inc. With over 85 percent of users in KSA interacting with lenses everyday, Snapchat's mission is to unlock previously unimaginable creative possibilities through AR, and help make the fashion industry even more personal, accessible and convenient. TASAWAR comes as part of a partnership between Snapchat and the Ministry of Culture to promote the inaugural edition of Riyadh Fashion Week globally. With its innovative approach, TASAWAR promises to be a must-visit exhibition that showcases the limitless possibilities of AR in the industry, changing the way people experience fashion and beauty.

‘Creatives should not fear AI’, says Snapchat

Dubai: Generative AI is dismantling the barriers that have traditionally made the creative sector inaccessible to many people, rather than threatening to put artists out of jobs, according to one of Snapchat’s top executives.“Fear that AI is taking over in the creative sectors is not justified,” Georg Wolfart, Head of Public Policy, Snap Inc., told the Dubai Assembly for Generative AI today.Speaking at a panel titled ‘GenAI: Fueling Growth for Creative Clusters’, Wolfart said: “The value of generative AI lies in a combination of the human element and the AI element because uniqueness still comes from humans.”Speaking on the same panel, John Dabill, Director of Product Operations, HTC Vive, acknowledged the prevailing preference for human-generated output in the creative realm. But he said AI will democratize creativity, explaining that technology will expand opportunities for a broader demographic to join the space without needing artistic skills.While both agreed that AI has been a catalyst for growth in the creative sector, they underscored the imperative of establishing fitting regulations and enhancing transparency to ensure AI's responsible integration.Wolfart said the current “one-size-fits-all approach” to regulating AI, particularly in its early stages, is inadequate, stressing that “it should be risk-based and proportionate”.As the world rushes to embrace AI, he advised countries to “take a step back and focus on demystifying AI and consider the objectives you aim to achieve”.He added: “There is pressure due to the rapid emergence of technology, but it is important not to rush regulations too quickly.”

Snapchat introduces reality lens for hearing-impaired people

Snapchat, in partnership with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture, has launched an augmented reality lens to help improve interactive experiences for the hearing-impaired.The lens was launched at the Riyadh International Book Fair on Sept. 28 at the King Saud University in Riyadh.It utilizes machine learning technology, which allows the camera to accurately identify and interpret 28 distinct hand gestures from the Arabic alphabet used in Arabic Sign Language. The fair features a unique 3D technology display, encouraging attendees to participate in an interactive experience in which books spring to life through a selfie camera.The event also introduced a specially designed lens experience for children, aimed at promoting a passion for reading. The experience will take users on a hot air balloon ride, with the balloon designed in the shape of a book and featuring the message “Reading Uplifts You” alongside Riyadh Book Fair’s logo and branding.The lens marks a milestone for Snapchat as it is the first Arabic sign language lens ever introduced in the Middle East and North Africa region.Mohammed Hasan Alwan, CEO of the Literature, Publishing & Translation Commission, shared: “This year’s participation in the book fair is unique and innovative, as we are launching special services for the deaf community. We look forward to the impressive results of the augmented reality experiences at the exhibition, which align with our mission to promote cultural exchange and make literature more accessible to different segments of society through the positive impact on visitors.”Abdulla Alhammadi, Regional Business Lead for the Saudi market at Snap Inc., said: “AR can provide powerful opportunities to enhance learning, from educational guides to recipes and beyond. This is the greatest untapped opportunity for brands to become early adopters, further highlighting the growing interest in AR for educational purposes.”

AR may disrupt brand building, reveals Omnicom-Snapchat study

 Augmented Reality (AR) advertising may be growing rapidly, but the majority of experiences ignores the diverse audiences and can be damaging to users’ self esteem as well, reveals a research survey done by Omnicom Media Group (OMG) and Snapchat. The survey aimed at understanding the long-term effects of AR on brand building. Moreover, according to GlobalData’s Emerging Technology Sentiment Analysis Q2 2021, it was found that AR is the most disruptive emerging technology. In the poll, 70 percent of respondents stated that AR would deliver either slight or significant disruption to the industry.  AR is a technology that will powerfully shape our world in the coming decades. AR has really picked up pace in the last few years, especially due to the Gen Z preferring the use of social apps such as Instagram, Snapchat etc, over their real friends and reality.The AR market size, which was USD 42.20 billion in 2022, is expected to reach USD 1109.71 billion by 2030. Therefore, the AR market will exhibit a CAGR of 50.7 percent during 2023-2030. Moreover it is estimated that 2.9 billion users worldwide will be frequent AR users by end of 2023, a number that is expected to grow to 4.3 billion by 2025. This is according to a 2021 Deloitte study commissioned by Snap Inc.The survey by OMG and Snapchat involved interviews with AR practitioners and creators, quantitative surveys with 5,000 internet users across Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, the UK and the US, and a four-week measure of how brand associations changed over time with US respondents.OMG and Snapchat’s survey revealed that AR experiences may enhance a variety of brand perceptions and lead to increased recall and purchase intent when compared to vertical video ads. It also found that AR complements video ad buys by driving incremental gains, rather than acting as a replacement.On the other hand, it is also true that most brands do not really test whether their AR experiences are used by the majority of users, as the filters and lenses in AR often ignore diverse users or misidentify them also. Moreover, the impact of social media filters and lenses on users ‘body image and mental health’ is also an issue that is being scrutinised by governments around the world.Wise and conscious use of augmented reality should bring measurable benefits, which will be seen in increased effectiveness at work, in education, and in well-being, and in tangible increases in income. Inappropriate “social” use of AR technology, on the other hand, may raise moral and ethical concerns and, in extreme cases, may even exceed the established legal standards and rules of social co-existence.It is also worth noting that the overuse of AR technology can have a negative impact on human health, both mental and physical, with side effects including eye issues, ear problems, and states of mental dependence.

Snap Inc. launches Family Center content controls for Snapchat

Snap Inc. has unveiled a new feature in Family Center that will enable parents to set limits on the type of content their teens can consume on Snapchat. Family Center was launched last year to support positive parental control and a safer digital future.The feature will also allow teens to notify their parents when they report an account or a piece of content to Snap's Trust and Safety team. This is coupled with the publishing of Snapchat’s new eligibility Content Guidelines, all of which seek to make Snapchat a better, safer place for Snapchatters.On Snapchat, there are two places where content can potentially reach a large audience: Stories is Snapchat’s content platform, where content creators, Snap Stars, and media partners provide trusted news, entertainment, sports and other genres. Stories is not an open platform – and creators and partners must abide by content editorial guidelines.Spotlight is Snapchat’s entertainment platform, where Snapchatters can watch fun and creative content created by members of the community.Family Center aims to offer parents the tools to gain insight into who their teens are communicating with, in a way that simultaneously respects their teens’ autonomy. Snap will continue to roll out additional tools over time to help make Family Center more customized to the needs of individual teens as well as their parents.Georg Wolfart, Head of Policy at Snap said, “From the start, Snapchat was designed to be different. As opposed to traditional social media platforms, Snapchat was made to provide a private, positive and safe platform to interact, which includes what content is consumed. This is why Family Center was made to ensure both privacy and safety. In our recently published whitepaper with PwC and RLC, Snapchat was ranked the #1 happiest platform when compared to other apps. Snapchat provides a non-judgemental platform to enhance real relationships with the people and things you love. We are deliberate about the type of content we allow on our platform, and our policies are designed to uphold these standards.”Snapchat reaches more than 90% of 13-to 34-year-olds in the Kingdom and 71% of parents. As countries in the MENA region continue to adopt emerging technologies, it is imperative that safe online spaces for the region’s youth are prioritized. In recent years, the UAE has emphasized the need to enhance digital well-being, providing a safe environment for everyone, but especially teens and children. Snapchat realizes its responsibility towards its users and the wider community and is dedicated to remaining a safe, fun, and curated platform.