Snapchat Reports Increased AR Usage, Hoping Advertisers Pile In
Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake
Snapchat released new data Thursday showing that users are increasingly engaging with the social media company's augmented reality (AR) features.
Snapchat lenses enable users to overlay their pictures and videos with a variety of filters, such as a pair of sunglasses and an aspirational beard
Some 218 million people use Snapchat every day, according to company representatives. And 75% of them use the Santa Monica-based firm's AR, key to which is its Lens functionality. Lenses enable users to overlay their pictures and videos with a variety of filters, such as a pair of sunglasses and an aspirational beard. Today's figures claim a 37% monthly increase from February to March in users sending messages with a Lens.
Snapchat also reported Thursday an 18% increase in time spent playing with Sponsored Lenses, and a 22% rise in their "swipe up rate," meaning users who engage with the Lens — and the sponsor — when they see a friend using it.
Why Sponsor a Lens?
Snapchat reaches more 13-24 year olds than Facebook or Instagram in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France and Australia, according to the company. Those Gen Z'ers reportedly spend an average of 30 minutes on the app each day.
One Snapchat employee told dot.LA that users also tend to use the app with a higher daily frequency compared to other social media platforms.
"If you're a marketer, you want to be able to reach people at the right time," said the source, who was not authorized to speak on the record. "So theoretically it's good (for Snapchat) to have a lot of sessions."
Snapchat's history as a messaging-first app, suggested the source, also theoretically provides sponsors unique opportunities for word-of-mouth advertising between friends. Messaging from friend to friend recently reached an all-time high, the company has reported. Calls, which can use lenses, made on Snapchat are up 50% from the end of February to the end of March.
Yet these times have been unkind to the share price, which trades under parent company Snap Inc. The past-year high was $19, in January, before tumbling to $9 in mid-March. Shares currently trade around $13. Founded in 2011, Snap went public in March 2017 at $17 per share. That same month the share price reached an all-time high of more than $27.
One downside of being a Generation Z platform, suggested the Snapchat employee, is that many investors and advertisers may be less familiar with the app's features and therefore unsure of how to value the platform.
Hoping to boost advertising, Snapchat included in today's post five marketing tips for companies using Sponsored Lenses.
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When the newest Mars rover departs Earth this summer, it will carry a relatively small piece of new technology that could potentially transform the way humans explore space. On Monday, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge will present details on its exploration goals, including a new technology that could help humans breathe on the red planet.
Roughly the size of a fancy toaster oven, MOXIE, which stands for the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Equipment, essentially produces oxygen from the thin Martian atmosphere, which is primarily made up of carbon dioxide, at a rate of about 10 grams of oxygen per hour. That's roughly enough oxygen to keep a small cat or dog alive.
Asad Aboobaker, 40, who served as the thermal engineer for MOXIE and helped build the system at JPL, shows the version of MOXIE that will remain on Earth while a flight-ready version is scheduled to travel to the Mars 2020 rover this summer.
Photo by Tami Abdollah
Musicians are facing a tough road and the pandemic hasn't made life any easier. But changes are afoot that could help.
A flurry of deals between music copyright owners and a grab bag of online video purveyors may be just the first step in a process that could see "the most important copyright reform since the U.S. passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) 22 years ago," according to one industry observer.
With it, artists and rights holders should be better positioned to benefit from the growing relevance of music across social media platforms, gaming consoles, virtual gyms and much more.