Origin Thailand | Camera360 on photo filters, data privacy, and monetization

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Kevin Hu, the Director of User Growth of Camera360 speaks at a fireside chat on photo-editing and beauty app trends with Dr. Gang Lu, Founder & CEO of TechNode. [Image credit: TechNode]
“Product localization is key,” said Kevin Hu, the Director of User Growth of Camera360 at TechNode’s ORIGIN Thailand conference, held during True Digital Park Grand Opening on September 19, 2019. 

A BBC report states that an average millennial will take more than 25,000 selfies during their lifetime, revealing a strong desire of the smartphone generation to look attractive online amid the proliferation of social media platforms, which has driven the widespread popularity of photo-editing apps.

“All users are seeking ways to enhance their photos aesthetically. For example, users from China prefer natural and aesthetic filters while users from Southeast Asia prefer sparkly and glittery filters,” said Hu. Camera360 has more than one billion global users and has passed 20 million monthly active users in Thailand.

The generations of photo filters

Hu shared that millennials, aged between 20 to 35 years old, and Generation Z, aged below 18 years old, have differing photo-editing preferences. Gen Z users prefer vapor and electronic filters which exude cool and individualistic style whereas the millennials take a liking to youthful and natural effects. “Users’ aesthetic standards and preferences vary according to age and region,” added Hu.

On data privacy

Earlier on, there was an outburst of miniature panic over what photo-editing and beauty apps are doing with the personal data that they collect, as reported by TechCrunch. Privacy concerns with photo apps are nothing new and there have been reports on photo privacy breaches on social media platforms. 

“As an app developer, we believe protecting users’ data and privacy are equally important to us as they are to users, and we always pay great attention to this area,” emphasized Hu. He added that users’ behavior data collected can be used in an effective manner for product improvisation, resulting in better UI, and better user experience.

When asked how they stand out from many other photo-editing apps, Hu emphasized that continuous innovation is key. “Having an efficient monetization strategy is of paramount importance, especially for such a free app that has invested heavily in R&D innovation to better serve huge user base,” added Dr. Gang Lu, Founder & CEO of TechNode.

Free app monetization 

There are two ways of free app monetization: in-app advertising (IAA) and in-app purchase (IAP). The former involves performance advertising and branding advertising. “It is very important to work with local brand marketing agencies to enable localization of the brand content”, said Hu. As for IAP, Hu suggested offering an in-app subscription to convert regular users to VIP members. This will give users the privilege to unlock all (or most) of a product’s features and ads-free option. “Developing these premium features for VIP members can help increase product revenue through meeting users’ needs,” said Hu.

In conclusion, Hu said that performance branding, performance advertising, branding advertising, and subscription business model will continue to grow in popularity. In order to standardize products and commercialize them in different countries, app developers should focus on localizing itself to better create user values and creating useful features that cater to local consumers’ needs.