Just days after Facebook announced the public beta of its augmented reality development tools, Snap has done the same with Lens Studio, allowing brands to design and distribute their own AR activations within the Snapchat app.
Brands can now use Snap’s free Lens Studio application to create their own placeable World Lenses and placeable 3D objects like dancing hot dogs and beer salesmen. Once the Lens is done, the creator receives a Snapcode for the Lens that they can share on their own channels, or choose to place it as sponsored Lenses programmatically.
For Face Lenses, Snapchat’s selfie filters, such as Zynga’s poker overlay, options for brands are less expansive. Snap limited access to its Face Lenses to seven studios: AvatarLabs, Fishermen Labs, Haus, MediaMonks, North Kingdon, Trigger Global and VidMob.
In an interview with AListDaily, VidMob CEO Alex Collmer said that Snap worked with each studio to train them with its development kit and ensure the same level of quality as its own in-house team.
Previously, advertisers had to work with Snapchat’s editorial team to produce Lens content, which meant that Lenses were limited to paying customers. Now, brands can produce AR content and distribute it themselves with Snapcodes, potentially cutting the platform out of the revenue picture, at least in part.
Ushering in a new age of community-generated content for the platform may well cancel out any lost revenue from outsourced Lens creation, however.
Collmer said these publicly available tools will improve Snapchat’s usage amongst its young user base.
Snapchat’s Lens features are its most potent draw for advertisers. The app has been falling behind the likes of Instagram and Pinterest when it comes to potential influencer partnerships. By expanding its creation tools, Snap is playing to its strengths.
For brands looking to take advantage of these new possibilities, there’s no time like the present. The best way to learn what works best is to start and keep experimenting, Collmer said.