Snapchat lenses are a proven way for users to literally become “the face” of a marketing campaign thanks to augmented reality, but the social king of selfies is taking it a step further by making filters into a game.
In November, Snapchat introduced World Lenses—a way to add virtual elements to a user’s environment such as sparkles, colors, a virtual flashlight and clouds puking rainbows. Perhaps inspired by the success of Pokémon GO (and its many business partnerships), this update laid the groundwork for what would become playable lenses.
The games kicked off with a sponsored Kraft Macaroni and Cheese filter in December that challenged users to catch animated noodles in their mouth. Shortly thereafter, Snapchatters got into the holiday spirit with Santa’s Helper—a game that superimposed the user’s face onto an elf that had to be navigated down a snowy mountain. While the holiday game wasn’t sponsored, it certainly inspired users to share both activations online, and not just on Snapchat. YouTube screen captures and Twitter screenshots began to appear as well, ensuring that nobody’s friends missed out on the goofy antics.
Most recently, a new game has surfaced on Snapchat within its “Princess and Queen” lens. Now when a user selects the lens, a prompt appears inviting them to “double tap to upgrade.” Doing so changes the camera to outward view and collectible gems appear in the environment, similar to Pokémon GO. Collecting all five gems unlocks a second version of the “Princess and Queen” selfie filter and demonstrates the possibilities of AR in the platform.
Over the past year, marketers have created innovative ways to engage Snapchat fans through playable games like Gatorade’s Serena Williams Match Point and Under Armour’s It Comes From Below. Endemic brands like Microsoft and Activision have mastered the art of the sponsored Snapchat lens, transforming users into characters from the latest triple-A games. The popularity of both game-inspired lenses and playable ads shows that Snapchat users welcome the idea of these interactive experiences.
The photo-sharing “ghost” attracts a young, active fan base of 100 million users who watch over 10 billion videos per day. Rebranded as Snap Inc., the camera company will soon be offering shares—so it has been hard at work proving value to potential investors through new ad offerings and original content.
Sponsored lens games could potentially be paired with geographical locations (such as retailers) or be triggered by Snapchat’s new image-recognition-triggered ad offerings for a fun, shareable experience.
Now that Snapchat Spectacles are available for purchase online, the timing is perfect for brands to create interactive, first-person lens games for mass consumption and sharing. While Snapchat’s first few games are simple, they fit right into the raw and wacky stories that the platform is famous for.