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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Their Russian investor was dead.
On a late Tuesday night in early May, the billionaire Russian coal tycoon, Dmitry "Dima" Bosov stopped answering phone calls and messages. When his wife, Katerina, arrived at their mansion in the suburbs of Moscow, she found her 52-year old husband locked in the family's home gym, dead from an apparent gunshot wound to the head.
Editor's Note<p><em></em><em>The story is pieced together from interviews with more than 40 former employees and business associates, active and retired county officials, as well as federal and county law enforcement; state court records, arbitration, arrest and corporate records in the U.S. and Canada; other public records in six California counties; Genius Fund corporate records and emails. Some former employees and business associates spoke to dot.LA on condition that their names not be mentioned out of fear of reprisals.</em></p><p>This is first story in our "Green Rush" series. Read more:</p><p><a href="https://dot.la/genius-fund-cannabis-startup-2646866270" target="_self">Part 2: Growing Pains in Plumas County</a> | <a href="https://dot.la/cannabis-products-genius-fund-2646866366.html" target="_self">Part 3: A Line of Failed Products</a> | <a href="https://dot.la/green-rush-genius-fund-2646866354.html" target="_blank">Part 4: What Went Down in Adelanto</a> | <a href="https://dot.la/dmitry-bosov-genius-fund-2646866356.html" target="_self">Part 5: The Sudden Death of Dmitry Bosov And His Dream of a California Cannabis Empire</a></p>
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"The time for inaction is over."
Such was the through-line in dot.LA's Thursday panel discussion on "Measurably Increasing Diversity in the Workplace."
Joining dot.LA host Kelly O'Grady was Oona King, VP of diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI) at Snap and a member of the UK House of Lords, and Kobie Fuller, partner at Upfront Ventures. The conversation centered on what organizations must do to ensure that this moment of acute awareness of the societal issues around DEI does not go to waste.
"I am grateful that white people have woken up," said King, who has also worked in diversity and inclusion at the UK's Channel 4 and YouTube. "But my gratitude will turn back to rage if they go back to sleep."
Kobie Fuller, Partner, Upfront Ventures<p><strong><br></strong></p><p>Kobie joined Upfront in June 2016, bringing deep expertise in enterprise SaaS and emerging technologies including VR and AR. Over his career he has invested early in notable companies including Exact Target (sold to Salesforce for $2.5B) and Oculus (sold to Facebook for $2B). Prior to Upfront, Kobie was an investor at Accel and, earlier, was the chief marketing officer at L.A.-based REVOLVE, one of the largest global fashion e-commerce players. Earlier in his career, Kobie helped found OpenView Venture Partners and was an investor at Insight Venture Partners. Kobie graduated from Harvard College.</p>
Oona King, VP of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Snap Inc.<p>Oona King is the VP of diversity, equity & inclusion at Snap Inc. Previously, Oona was Google's director of diversity strategy, YouTube's director of diverse marketing, and before that chief diversity officer for British broadcaster Channel 4. Oona is a member of the House of Lords (a life-time appointment as Baroness King in January 2011), and former senior policy advisor & speechwriter to the prime minister at 10 Downing Street. </p><p>Oona became a member of the House of Commons at 29, the second woman of color, and 200th woman of any color elected to the British Parliament. She became parliamentary private secretary to the minister for e-commerce, and secretary of state for trade and industry. Oona was voted by other MPs as "the MP most likely to change society." In the Lords, Oona's front bench roles included shadow education minister, shadow minister for the digital economy, and shadow minister for equalities.</p>
Chief Host & Correspondent and Head of Video Strategy at dot.LA
Chief Host & Correspondent and Head of Video Strategy at dot.LA<p>Kelly O'Grady is dot.LA's chief host & correspondent. Kelly serves as dot.LA's on-air talent, and is responsible for designing and executing all video efforts. A former management consultant for McKinsey, and TV reporter for NESN, New England's premier sports network, she also served on Disney's Corporate Strategy team, focusing on M&A and the company's direct-to-consumer streaming efforts. Kelly holds a bachelor's degree from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. A Boston native, Kelly spent a year as Miss Massachusetts USA, and can be found supporting her beloved Patriots every Sunday come football season.</p>
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