A marketer cheatsheet for Snapchat’s latest lens, filter options

Snapchat is making several updates to its branded lenses and geofilters today.

The key updates:

  • The global sponsored lenses update lets users play around with not only their faces, but also the world around them. Brands, for example, can add floating 2-D or 3-D objects to their sponsored lenses, be it film characters or products to the outward-facing camera.
  • Advertisers in the U.S. can now buy lenses that target specific audience segments for the first time, based on age, gender and Snap Lifestyle Categories — the platform’s own audience segments based on users’ viewing habits in its various channels such as Discover and Our Stories.
  • With today’s update, brands can add location or other real-time information to their nationwide and chain geofilters in the U.S., including names of high schools, colleges, airports, states, cities, neighborhoods and zip codes.

The key numbers:

  • Daily users spend over 30 minutes on Snapchat each day on average.
  • Over 3 billion snaps are created every day.
  • Over 60 percent of its daily users create content every day, and daily users open Snapchat more than 18 times per day on average.
  • Snapchat makes 90 cents average revenue per user.
  • Sponsored lenses have been a huge moneymaker for Snapchat, costing advertisers anywhere between $300,000 and $750,000 for a single day.
  • Both lenses and geofilters also offer advertisers a ton of engagement. Per Snapchat, one in three daily users play with lenses every day on average, and snaps with geofilters are viewed over 1 billion times a day on average.
  • Snapchat has now run over 100 sponsored lens branded campaigns.

The marketers’ view:
Jill Sherman, head of social media at DigitasLBi: “As an advertiser, the ability to provide a more contextually relevant experience is key. Personalization trumps reach when connecting with younger audiences, and these updates help the platform move in that direction.”

Bold Worldwide CEO Brian Cristiano: “While audience targeting on lenses is a good improvement, we’ve been using age- and gender-based targeting on other platforms for ages. It feels a little fluffy, especially after its first quarterly earnings last week; I wouldn’t do broad marketing on Snapchat yet, unless I see more meaty updates.”

The big picture:
Snapchat has entered the trough of disappointment. Many marketers (and publishers) would like for it to become a counterweight to Google and Facebook, but there’s an open question as to how quickly it can innovate while Facebook keeps copying its features. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel has engaged in plenty of hand-waving for marketers (and Wall Street) to look at engagement, not daily active users.

These updates play up engagement once again, with Snapchat also touting that it has sped production timelines for sponsored lenses from eight to six weeks. They also come on the heels of the platform rolling out a number of other updates for marketers, including a self-service ads manager that makes it easier for brands of all sizes to buy video ads. The key is for Snapchat to keep innovating at speed and also bring in as much data as possible.

“Snapchat must be able to provide advertisers with the tools, data and results that parallel or exceed the rest of the industry,” said Cristiano.


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