Millennials never grow tired of taking selfies to commemorate the moment. . . any moment. Los Angeles tech startup, Lumyer has banked on consumers’ never-ending infatuation with themselves through its app, which allows users to augment reality by adding video and audio effects to both selfies and videos on Android and iOS devices. Lumyer placed second in Google Play’s recent “Top Trending Apps of 2016” list.
In its first year, consumers have downloaded the Lumyer app more than 10 million times and created over 30 million Lumys. The app has 2.5 million monthly unique users creating over 5 million Lumys each month. Once created, users can share these Lumys across all existing social media channels and messaging platforms.
Those numbers have caught the attention of Universal Pictures, which first partnered with the company to promote the Halloween theatrical release of Ouija: Origin of Evil and has reteamed with Lumyer for Illumination Entertainment’s newsest computer-animated movie, Sing.
Lumyer co-founder Diego Mortillaro told [a]listdaily that more than 95 percent of Lumys created using the Ouija effect, which allowed users to place themselves inside a scene from the horror film, were shared by users during the Halloween campaign.
“We saw a high interaction time with the five Ouija effects of one to two minutes on average,” Mortillaro said. “Our format seems to work really well. People can find something that’s a digital experience but connects with them on a very emotional level.”
The Sing campaign, which runs through January 2, allows users to incorporate special video and audio effects of characters like Buster Moon, Rosita, Gunter and Meena into photos and videos as if the characters are right in the photo or video.
Founded in 2015, Lumyer began as a tool for users to bring characters to their images through a variety of fun effects. The app has quickly become one of the most popular photo and video enhancement tools available and is now grabbing the attention of brand marketers thanks to its interactive capabilities.
While users can purchase an assortment of effects from the app’s store, Hollywood marketing campaigns offer access to exclusive limited-time effects that are free. And once downloaded, those effects can be used long after the movie or brand campaign has completed. “Working with Hollywood is quite natural in our promotional activities because we do video effects and they produce videos,” Mortillaro said.
One opportunity that hasn’t been explored yet is the home video release of these films. “Our users are very loyal and still today we’re receiving emails asking us to put Ouija back into the application,” Mortillaro said. “Marketing a recall campaign could be very successful.”
Lumyer also collects a lot of data on its customers and can provide its partners with useful information for marketing campaigns and future events. “We’re now entering the beauty industry because Lumys are used on your face, and the larger beauty companies are asking us to create specific effects. We’re also getting requests from the car industry. We don’t see any specific industry that couldn’t benefit from what we do.”
Mortillaro points to the music industry as a great potential avenue of exploration, which could bring the interaction between the singer and the user to the next level. “There are apps that people use to play back specific songs,” Mortillaro said. “Think about being closer to the singer and singing with him or her in augmented reality. That increases the engagement.”
Nearly 70 percent of Lumyer’s audience are millennials with slightly more female than male users. The app has a six-minute average session length, compared to Instagram’s two minute and Snapchat’s 84 seconds. “People perceive Lumyer as a tool to have fun with and entertain themselves,” Mortillaro said. “We see a lot of comments where people take a break from work and relax and play with Lumyer.”
Lumyer has risen at the same time that traditional advertising formats are having a hard time connecting with young users.
“They’re used to skipping ads, especially when the ads come out of the blue and aren’t perceived as an added value,” Mortillaro said. “We realize that people are using AR in an active and practical way. They’re becoming active distributors in the ad message. It’s simple to use and people see our effects as an added value because they’re consistent with the message they want to provide to their social content.”