A Chat with Francesca Gargaglia, CBO and COO at Social Experience Company: Amity

Amity empowers businesses to unlock the power of social experiences. We are based in London and Bangkok with over 200 employees helping global customers to develop engaging digital platforms that add tangible value to their end-users. Our flagship product, Amity Social Cloud, is a suite of pre-built social features that can be added to any app or website in no time. With Amity Social Cloud companies build online communities, drive social engagement, and create positive experiences through feeds, chats, stories and live streaming.

People are social creatures. We love to feel part of something and interact with others. The digital world has revealed a real need for social experiences that are based online. Amity Social Cloud gives users a safe space to indulge and bond in their passion for certain brands, products, or ideas with like-minded individuals. Brands regain control over their voice and provide a platform where they can communicate and connect with their end-users to create a sense of belonging.

Any company in the world with an app or a website that wants to establish a loyal customer base will profit from offering enhanced digital social experiences. Industries across the world are already benefitting from improved social engagements, from retail and travel to finance, education and sport and wellness.

The digital revolution has led consumers to want to play a role in their relationships with brands. Consumers will no longer accept to be passive in the events or brands they engage with. Having the ability to express opinions freely and establish a connection is vital to building online communities. Consumers want to be listened to and have access to experiences that are curated and personalised to their individual needs. We provide the infrastructure and platform, listen to user feedback and enable positive digital relationships.


How did the idea for Amity first come about?

When Amity first started, its proposition wasn’t what it is today. We were focused on the world of enterprise chat and while we saw some strong early traction, it’s a saturated market with giants such as Microsoft and Slack dominating the industry.

One of our biggest customers, a large Thai telecom business, powers the number one streaming and entertainment platform in Thailand with more than 27 million users. In 2018, it secured the rights to be the sole Thai streamer of the FIFA World Cup, so they were expecting a huge surge in platform users wanting to gain access to the matches. The customer wanted a way to transform these one-off users into permanent loyal customers who would continue to use the platform long after the tournament finished.

The company wanted to create a memorable app through chat and in-app communication to enable users to connect with each other to make them feel like part of a community. They asked if we could transform our enterprise chat feature into a standalone embeddable chat module that can be hosted on any app. We unpacked our chat and re-built it into a chat SDK. It can now support more than 500,000 concurrent users per chat room per second. We saw such high engagement that this is now a permanent feature. So now people who are watching tv series, films, or any sport, can chat with each other in real-time through live chats.

We have also scaled our offering with the telecoms provider with the creation of a social SDK with features such as groups and feeds. We soon realised that engaging social experiences could benefit any company looking to grow its customer base and wanted to make these features accessible to everyone. As a result of the success we saw, we decided to pivot our entire business model and that is how Amity Social Cloud was born.


How has Amity evolved during the pandemic?

The pandemic created the perfect storm for companies to appreciate the importance of building a social network and recreating digital social experiences that are as sophisticated as their in-person counterparts. In the pre-pandemic world, we had to start from zero and really educate companies on the need for social. It wasn’t a short to medium-term priority for businesses, but as soon as online marketplaces became the only point of contact between organisations and customers, many soon realised that they need to create the same memorable experience in the online world as they do in the offline world.

We saw typically in-person events happening online – graduations, weddings, festivals, and fashion shows. This has led to a change in user experiences, and consumers have become pickier and more spoilt with the experiences they engage within the digital world. At the start, companies rushed to go digital and now every brand has an online presence to a certain extent. The transformation accelerated by the pandemic has set the bar really high for the digital experiences customers are craving, and delivering a strong experience is going to make the difference between one business and the next. As a result, we have doubled our monthly active users and continued to evolve our product based on the individual customer and end-user needs.

What’s next for Amity?

We intend for more companies to start to see the value of social and subsequently focus on making their digital platforms more engaging for users. We also expect these engagement features start to see the same traction in Europe and the US as we are currently seeing in Asia. We want to be the partner of choice for these companies on their journey to social engagement and use our expertise and capabilities to make the process easier and more effective.

Amity isn’t a static company. We are constantly evolving and adapting Amity Social Cloud according to customer needs. The company will continue to grow and develop pre-built features and make these available based on customer and end-user feedback. The journey of the user experience is quickly becoming a priority for global brands and will continue to evolve as customers demand more from their digital experiences. As an organisation, this is something we are prepared and excited to react to.