Despite a slowdown in user growth in recent months, Snapchat is pushing ahead with its efforts to challenge Facebook’s domination of social media advertising.
The camera app launched a new feature called World Lenses last month, which is basically a version of its face-swapping filters but involving real-world objects instead of people. Think Pokemon Go without the Pokemon.
Users will be able to place a 2D or 3D character or product into a photo, and also tap on augmented reality objects to trigger an animation. There will also be World Lenses in which in-app games can be played, and also environmental lenses which can be used to add lights or ambient effects.
Two other new features have also been announced – Audience Lenses and Smart Geofilters – in what Snap says is the biggest update to its Sponsored Creative Tools since the first branded Lens made an appearance in late 2015.
According to Snap, the app’s creative tools are so heavily used that their appeal to potential advertisers is obvious. More than one in three daily users play with Lenses every day on average, Snap notes, and snaps with Geofilters are viewed more than one billion times a day on average.
The new features will appeal mostly to brands with deep pockets, and indeed the early adopters are among some of the world’s biggest companies. Warner Bros will be the first brand to run a sponsored World Lens as an advert for their film ‘Everything, Everything’ – an adaptation of a young adult novel that should play well with Snapchat’s demographic.
Other brands who have signed up for sponsored World Lens campaigns are Netflix, Dunkin Donuts and Glidden Paint.
Previously advertisers could only sponsor lenses as nationwide campaigns, but Audience Lenses will enable them to be more specific about the users they target. As well as running lenses regionally, they will also be able to target by demographic such as age and gender.
Lancome’s L’Oreal Paris will run an Audience Lens campaign in the near future, while Red Bull and MTV have already tested the new features.
Not so much a new product as an updated version of an existing feature, Smart Geofilters will enable advertisers to add snippets of information to locations or products in Geofilters.
With Geofilters, users can activate branded overlays that appear when they swipe left or right. According to a Snapchat survey, the feature is most popular at restaurants, malls and gyms. Ads using the Smart Geofilter will automatically add location information or other real-time snippets to a nationwide or chain Geofilter.