- Snapchat is adding a new “Shop Now” button that users can tap to install an app, watch a video or even shop for products – all within the app.
- The button is available on an enhanced version of its lens product that Snapchat is calling the “Shoppable AR” lens.
- It is a way to fully close the sales loop for marketers looking to drive actual returns on their investment.
- Marketers including beauty Coty, Adidas, game-maker King and film studio STX Entertainment are running shoppable AR lenses at launch.
Snapchat is trying to cement its position as the leading platform in augmented reality marketing.
The company is adding a new “Shop Now” button that users can tap to install an app, watch a video or shop for products, all within the Snapchat app. The button is meant to close the sales loop for marketers looking to drive returns on their investment (ROI), and is available on an enhanced version of its lens product that Snapchat is calling the “Shoppable AR” lens.
“Shoppable AR Lenses give brands a new way to leverage our unique scale to drive real and measurable ROI, whether that’s through sales, downloads, lead gen, or video views,” said Peter Sellis, Snap’s director of revenue product.
Shoppable AR enables augmented reality at scale
Marketers consider Snapchat to be ahead of the curve in terms of AR marketing, but have long lamented not being able to drive measurable returns such as actual purchases by using the platform’s various AR-powered lenses, like barfing rainbows and dancing hotdogs. Snapchat has been trying to change that perception over the past few months.
Last November, for instance, it rolled out “Context Cards,” a tool to provide users more information about the lenses and filters they play with. Shoppable AR lenses build on Context Cards further, making the button prominent on the Snapchat camera instead of making users seek more information by swiping up on a friend’s snap.
Shoppable AR lenses let brands extend an engaging interaction beyond the camera – where it can be hard to fit in detailed product or brand info – letting users take action directly within the app. And Snapchat believes it has an edge over others as far as scale goes, as the app opens directly to an AR-enabled camera rather than a content feed.
Shoppable AR lenses are an important step for AR as a direct-response marketing vehicle as they prompt customers to take an action, said Jeremy Sigel, global SVP of content and innovation at Essence.
“To date, the measurement around AR has been almost exclusively focused on brand-oriented metrics” he said. “By providing a host of new direct-response options, Snap is appealing to a more diverse set of marketers, who will now be able to make more apple-to-apple media comparisons.”
Advertisers can typically buy lenses in three ways. They can use Snap’s self-serve tools to bid on Snap ads where users can “Swipe Up to Try” AR lenses for $100 per day. They can also pay for an audience-targeted lens for upwards of $40,000 with an agreed upon CPM. Or they can buy lenses nationally, across the US, which run into hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the anticipated impressions that day.
Shoppable AR lenses are not more expensive, according to Snapchat, as all advertisers are doing is adding the button on top.
To be sure, Snapchat faces increasing competition in the space from deeper-pocketed rivals. Facebook recently opened up its AR platform to developers, and Google and Apple have introduced AR platforms as well.
But still, AR seems to be a bright spot for the Snapchat. The company doesn’t break down how much of its advertising revenue comes from augmented reality lenses, but CEO Evan Spiegel said in an earnings call that its Lens Studio feature, which allows anybody to create their own AR experience with a set of desktop creative tools, had been well-received.
Snap’s total advertising revenue for the quarter was $281 million, an increase of 74% year-over-year and 38% quarter-over-quarter.
And help brands seamlessly drive users to commerce
Brands chase after their audiences, and have increasingly come to the realization that their audiences are not only on Snapchat, but are also demonstrating a clear appetite for augmented reality on the platform.
Lenses are among Snapchat’s most engaging digital ad units, with 70 million people playing with lenses in the Snapchat camera each day with an average of three minutes of play time each, according to the company. Branded lenses in particular perform well too, with users voluntarily playing with them on an average of 10-15 seconds.
With shoppable AR lenses specifically, a retail or e-commerce brand could use an engaging lens to drive users directly to purchase from a product page. Or an entertainment brand could use an immersive AR experience to link directly to a trailer or behind-the-scenes footage. Or apps could set up playable AR lenses to drive app installs.
Marketers including beauty Coty, Adidas, game-maker King and film studio STX Entertainment are running shoppable AR lenses at launch. While Coty and Adidas are running AR product trials and linking to their product websites, King is running a Candy Crush AR experience to drive app installs and STX is linking its AR lens with a trailer of Amy Schumer’s new film “I Feel Pretty.”
“With this move, Snap is now providing brands the opportunity to not just drive engagement with AR Lenses, but also seamlessly drive them to commerce,” said Chris Murphy, head of digital experience at Adidas US. “We no longer live in a world where it has to be either brand or commerce, consumers don’t think that way and neither should we.”