Canva is building a safe, accessible and inclusive AI: Ruoshan Tao

Ruoshan Tao, Head of Marketing for SEA and LATAM for Canva tells us how the online visual communication and collaboration platform is building a safe, accessible and inclusive AI, it's localization strategy for India, its diverse user base united by the love and need for design and more.

By  Indrani BoseMar 4, 2024 2:21 PM
Canva is building a safe, accessible and inclusive AI: Ruoshan Tao
Ruoshan Tao, Head of Marketing for SEA and LATAM shares that 90% of the Fortune 500 are Canva users.

Gone are the days when design software was expensive, complex, and inaccessible to many. Today design is simple, virtual, and collaborative, making it accessible to everyone. There is no doubt that today Canva is an integral tool for many including advertisers and marketers. Ruoshan Tao, Head of Marketing for SEA and LATAM for Canva tells us how the online visual communication and collaboration platform is building a safe, accessible and inclusive AI, it's localization strategy for India, its diverse user base united by the love and need for design and more.

Edited excerpts:

How has Canva evolved since its inception? Can you share Canva’s growth trajectory?

The growth trajectory for Canva has been pretty amazing. Canva was launched in 2013. We are now at over 170 million users and across 190 countries. Since the launch of magic studio - our AI suite, we've already added 20 million users. To date, there's been 20 billion designs made and more are in progress. We have around 17 million paid subscribers and over 7 million paid team suites. We are also seeing a lot of non-profits amongst our users. The number is around 500,000. We have 60 million students and teachers using Canva, globally. We have done a really great job with individual creators and small businesses. We are also seeing great adoption amongst the enterprises. 90% of the Fortune 500 are Canva users; it’s a huge opportunity to bring Canva even further into the enterprise.

Which regions have the most Canva users? And how does Canva target different customer segments?

Canva India is ranked amongst one of the top three markets in terms of new user acquisition. Communities are very important for us. Canva is a “love” brand. People just love shouting on the rooftops about us. We have Canva for freelancers in the Facebook community in India; it is the second largest Canva community globally.

Can you share some interesting consumer trends and market insights that Canva has been leveraging?

Localization is of massive importance for Canva. Canva is available in 190 different languages. Personally, I didn't even know there were that many languages in the world. For Indian languages alone, aside from Hindi, we're also available in Gujarati, Sindhi and Tamil, and a couple of others. Education, and small businesses are really key segments for Canva in India.

AI is another big trend in India as well as globally. We recently did a consumer report on AI and marketing; 84% agree that AI power tools help with the daily repetitive tasks. 70% agree that AI is enhancing their team's creativity. We also see across consumer use cases, including job seekers. We see that hiring managers want to see more interactive resumes, they want to see more digital portfolios.

How is Canva leveraging AI in product innovation, advertising and marketing?

Our AI suite, Magic Studio was introduced in 2023. Magic Studio is  Canvas’ collection of AI powered tools. We have centralized all the power of AI into one place. We have Magic Design and Magic Switch. It's actually the culmination of many years of investment in AI, we have also acquired Kaleido AI back in 2021. We have been developing our own models sort of alongside that.

Canva is one of the very first design platforms to introduce native AI. Canva’s aim is make sure that the AI we're building is safe, equitable, and inclusive The idea here is to build ultra accessible, safe and secure AI tools which are good at identifying and addressing bias. We are constantly working with our creators to build an ecosystem that makes sure the work they've done is rewarded.  Generative AI has been a big tailwind for our overall mission to sort of ensure that everybody has access to design. I think AI has the potential to sort of enhance this. And like, ensure that the simplicity of Canva is accessible to everybody who wants to design.

In terms of marketing, advertising, how does Canva plan to build brand awareness in India?

Canva is invested in building more hyperlocal strategies, making sure that we're equipped with the right kind of local marketing teams and have the right resources to be able to expand further into India. Last year, we did our first ever brand media campaign, in which we advertised magic studio for the ICC men's Cricket World Cup. The campaign had over 360 million impressions. Canva has also done a bunch of integrated festival campaigns. Since Diwali is huge, India saw lots of user acquisitions and partnerships during the festival. India has got a gigantic startup ecosystem, partnered with large scale incubators, like Headstart and Razorpay. We have also been partnering with some tertiary education institutes like the  IITs IIMs to support mentorship for students, even things like in-house entrepreneurship cells, which help to promote some student-led initiatives.

First Published on Mar 4, 2024 10:41 AM

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