Snapchat has launched World Lenses, an upgraded version of its lenses with artificial reality (AR) features. The move potentially offers enhanced location and user information for advertisers.
World Lenses allow users to add 3D images and words to their photos and videos. At the more technical level, such lenses are now relying on the smartphone’s main camera instead of the front-facing camera, used mainly for selfies.
That means images captured will be including a user’s surrounding, which could expand location-related advertising opportunities across the app. In addition, it provides valuable data on the users themselves and may boost Snap’s recently launched Snap to Store advertising feature that enables advertisers to check the progress of their campaigns.
In addition, Snapchat has an opportunity to grow revenue via sponsorship. Already, some brands paid $750,000 a year to boost Lenses.
However, Snap Inc. hasn’t made any references to Lenses as a commercial platform just yet. Instead, it has been boosting the user experience to remain ahead of the competition – mostly Facebook and Instagram.
Indeed, Facebook is currently developing its own AR platform, but the big difference is that the social media network has allowed developers to participate, whereas Snapchat has shut them out. For Facebook, these developer relationship may add thousands of AR filters when it rolls out the final version of its Camera Effects platform – beta launched this week.
Snapchat has adopted a more curated way of creating lenses and tools for users. However, it may miss out on the genius of outside creatives this way. As TechCrunch writer Josh Constine points out, “there’s a race for a whole new arena of computing” and it pays to be at the forefront. Snap’s weak developer relationships may prove a liability.