Snapchat Reports Increased AR Usage, Hoping Advertisers Pile In

Sam Blake

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 Reports Increased AR Usage, Hoping Advertisers Pile In

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

Courtesy Snapchat.

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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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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How ‘Funny Water Company’ Liquid Death Made H2O Worth $700 Million

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

How ‘Funny Water Company’ Liquid Death Made H2O Worth $700 Million
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When Santa Monica-based Liquid Death launched with funding from neighboring venture capital firm Science Inc. in 2018, the Los Angeles startup world – and everyone else – had nothing but jokes. But with the company’s latest $700 million valuation, it appears the joke is on the rest of us.

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