How Snapchat Is Transforming The Physical World Through Augmented Reality
Updated: Sep 18
Snapchat was the first social media app to introduce the concept of Stories and is now leading the augmented reality (AR) revolution.
This was apparent at their first annual Partner Summit when they highlighted their AR-based Lens Studio -- where 400,000 AR Lenses have already been created with 15 billion total plays. There, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel announced new AR features like Scan, AR Bar, Landmarkers, and Creator Profiles to further their product roadmap and vision.
As a camera company, here are three examples of how they’re encouraging their community to turn a simple snap into a whole new world.
Immersive experiences that are truly one-of-a-kind.
Selfie-centric places like The Museum Of Ice Cream and Color Factory have become the go-to spots to simultaneously enjoy your surroundings; while capturing social media content. Whether selfie’ing in a sea of sprinkles or taking a video on a unicorn, these museums have entranced the digitally minded consumer. With the new Marker lenses, these spaces take on new meaning.
Founder of Selfie Circus, Matty Mo of The Most Famous Artist, part of the Snapchat accelerator, Yellow, is on a mission to conceptualize and produce physical spaces meant to be shared on social media. He shared his vision with me at his office in Los Angeles, “We aim to scale unscalable retail and in real life entertainment experiences by enabling our visitors to create and share exciting content from physical spaces on their own social media channels. This consumer behavior creates a viral loop that drives new foot traffic and additional revenue for our customers.
With the launch of Marker lenses on Snapchat, we can now dynamically program our real-world experiences with contextually relevant augmented reality to keep our physical spaces fresh and encourage repeat visits and content creation by consumers.”
Marketing takeaway: Now is the time to think big when engaging consumers. Instead of a static approach to experiences, utilize AR to make a retail space or museum more immersive. With AR, you can design anything, so create an AR-based strategy if you want consumers to have a memorable experience in your physical space.
Billboards that comes to life.
With the launch of their Snap Original show, Bringing Up Bhabie, Snap has already produced a compelling use-case for using AR in advertising. Snap invested in a billboard on Sunset Boulevard which included a QR code that unlocked a lens that brought Bhabie to life, and she interacted with users as if she was there with them.
I spoke with Mish Matheus, prior social media manager at Nasdaq and Sundance Film Festival, over the phone about how AR will affect marketing for brands, influencers, and media companies, “The real value of AR is that it's not limited by traditional billboards in the physical realm. Advertisers can create with a clean slate and fewer rules. AR brings a new interactive dimension. It turns the device in people’s hands into an interactive platform which bridges online and the offline realities. All surfaces become fair game to deliver unique advertising to your community and beyond. This opens up the unlimited potential for savvy vendors and creatives agencies.
With AR, people have a new opportunity to become part of the experience and community to interact with brands in ways they haven't before. The only limit to your success in AR is your imagination.”
Marketing Takeaway: This is a gamechanger for brands, media, influencers -- even small businesses. With AR, you can advertise in a completely different way, and in doing so, have access to much more data. With a data-driven approach to AR, you can surprise and delight your audiences to discover new entertainment programming, consume content, as well as, purchase products.
Travel photos that aren’t basic.
Snapchat has transformed tourism with Landmarkers. Qi Pan, the computer vision engineer at Snap, whose team spearheaded the Landmarkers project explained their reasoning in the promotional video about bringing landmarks to life, “Nowadays we take more photos of these places and it’s hard to find a fresh perspective, so we started thinking how can we empower people to look at these monuments in new ways.”
Andrew Lee of Buy Custom Geofilters described to me over the phone how this capability will increase personalized content that contributes to FOMO (fear of missing out) culture, “Landmarkers on Snapchat is going to change how we interact with the world fundamentally.
Who would have believed fifteen years ago that people would be sharing daily pictures of their food or outfits? Similar to that change, anytime a Snapchat user goes to a new attraction, you’ll see them checking the Landmarker lenses and taking photos for their community. They want to have their own personalized photo of their travel experience, which the Landmarkers allows for, as opposed to the ones that are posted already over social media.”
Marketing Takeaway: For creators tap into this feature to showcase your work. Right now, Lens Studio is free for all to use and those who take advantage of this window of time are going to see results; as there is an opportunity to have your artwork seen by millions. This will have a significant impact on your personal brand exposure. In fact, it could even lead to partnerships with brands that want to tap into the millennials and Gen Z generations who are heavily using Snapchat.
The new reality
With AR becoming part of the user experience, everyday activities are become more engaging with the content we’re consuming and capturing. The world around will look completely different as more social media companies integrate AR into their products.