Snap Inc.’s 2023 Digital Upfront: What we learnt

Posted on Wednesday 18 October 2023 | IAB UK

Elizabeth Day, Ade Adepitan and Robin Dunbar were among the guests who joined Snap Inc. at Digital Upfronts, for an event all about the power of connection and community

“This is the perfect location to talk about connection and community because this is my manor”, explained Paralympian and Broadcaster Ade Adepitan, opening Snap’s 2023 Digital Upfront, which focused on bringing people together in the moments that matter. Snapchat is “an app that’s all about connections” according to Matt Salmon, UK Director at Snap, who pointed to some impressive numbers to make his point: in this country, 21 million use Snapchat every month and 75% of daily active users are aged 13-34 years old. Here’s a round up of four things we learnt across the morning: 

1. We’re on the brink of a friendship recession 

According to research referenced by Salmon, 12% of people today say that they have no close friends vs 3% in 1990, so it’s easy to see why we are teetering “on the brink of a friendship recession”. Author and Broadcaster Elizabeth Day was joined by Anthropologist and Psychologist Robin Dunbar to discuss the psychology of friendship and how different friendships serve different purposes in our lives. Day, a self-confessed friendship addict, said that she has realised in recent years that boundaries are very important to healthy friendships: “I struggle with boundaries and I think many of us do… [but] a boundary carefully applied can be a point of connection.” 

2. Most of us have an inner circle of five people 

Speaking at Snap Inc.’s Upfront, Dunbar explained that while 150 is the maximum number of relationships the average human can maintain, this is broken down into subsets. Most people have an inner circle of just five friends who Dunbar described as  “the shoulder to cry on friends”, adding that “the single best predictor of your physical and mental well-being… it’s the quality of those five friends”. Discussing her own journey to understanding friendship better, Day told Dunbar: “It was a revelatory moment for me when I discovered your layers research. I was trying to treat everyone like they were in that first layer.” The pandemic proved to be a turning point though, with Day realising that the people she most wanted to see and hug weren’t the people she had been seeing the most of. 

3. Snapchat is reimagining the fan experience 

Snapchat is  “a visual hashtag that can fuel conversations “ and is bringing people together around key cultural moments - whether that’s Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour, the latest happenings on Love Island, or England’s big match. According to Kate Mellet, Creative Strategy Lead at Snap, 75% of Snapchatters come to the app to connect with friends and family while watching sport: “Football comes to life on our platform and fuels our community, which brands have the ability to enhance.”  Kahlen Macaulay, Senior Manager, International Sports Partnerships, summed it up brilliantly when he said that “Snapchat is reimagining the fan experience”  and allowing brands to be part of that moment via creative solutions such as branded AR lenses.

4. There are more opportunities than ever for brands to get involved 

With the Olympics, Paralympics and UEFA Euros 2024 all taking place next year - alongside sporting fixtures such as Wimbledon and Formula 1 - advertisers looking to resonate with fans have a lot to play with on Snapchat. Fintan Gillespie, UK Director at Snap, shared a range of ways that brands can authentically make an impact on the platform - from shoppable lenses to the Creator Discovery API. Meanwhile, when it comes to measurement, Snapchat is harnessing AI to optimise campaigns in real-time,helping advertisers maximise results. Find out more out of these sporting moments on Snapchat, here.

Find out more about Digital Upfronts 2023 here

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