Snapchat launches Lens Studio

Evan Spiegel has long stated that he would like Snapchat to remain an internal platform, allowing him to fully control the user experience with regards to things like augmented effects, filters, lenses and more. This week, the company that has shown a recent propensity to admit it was wrong, is opening up that platform to developers to begin creating their own snap effects. The Lens Studio AR developer tool allows anyone to create World Lenses that allow users to place interactive, imaginary 3D objects in their photos and videos.


Why did Snap ultimately decide to go this route? A number of reasons. Facebook recently launched their own version with AR studio, and the developer response has been very positive. More choices will contribute to an increase in entertainment value for the end user, leading to more sharing and viewing which in turn result in more ad dollars. Ultimately, in order for developers to find value in creating these snap effects, the company must offer an easy way to share and get the word out about them.

Currently, any effect that is created is given its own Snap Code. Acting like a QR code, creators are able to self promote their effects so users can scan and download 24-hour access to the augmented effects. Additionally, the codes can be automatically updated, so that new effects don’t have to undergo an entirely new marketing effort. This means we’ll likely begin to see Snap QR codes pop up all over the place. Bus stops, train stations, malls, display advertisements, commercials and more will all be avenues to get the word out about these new offerings.


For marketers, this allows for augmented effects to be created with niche offerings in mind. Previously, the cost of partnering with Snap to create World Lenses or filters relegated them to mass offerings, and deep pockets, costing anywhere from $300-$750K per day. Now, Snap will distribute your effect in the camera app’s carousel at a cost of $8 to $20 CPM, with targeting capabilities available.

Premium campaigns will still be able to work with Snap’s in-house design team, but look to see one off events like concerts, store-openings, sales, and more utilize this offering to add a unique value for their younger audience. Over the next few weeks, it will be interesting to observe how Snap users are utilizing the new AR features, what they think of the 24 hour disappearing window, how brands decide to utilize them, and how marketers go about promoting their snap code.

Augmented Reality is still in it’s early days, and in order for Snap to populate the world with their own version of reality, they’re going to need a strong army of developers and creators to make that happen.

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