Snapchat's new sponsored world lenses leverage augmented reality, or AR, to overlay images or words on anything that the camera sees. On the surface, these new AR lenses work in a similar way to Snapchat's current lenses to add effects or distortions to a user's face, but overlays with the sponsored world lenses can be placed on anything and not just faces. These sponsored world lenses represent Snap's most recent push to attract advertisers to its platform, and the company revealed that Warner Brothers will be the first ad partner. Warner Brothers will be promoting its Everything, Everything movie with a sponsored world lens that allows users to overly visual elements from the flick onto their own photo or video capture. Netflix and Dunkin' Donuts will also run ads soon, Snap Inc. said.
This isn't Snap Inc's first foray into advertising. The company had previously worked with Taco Bell to distort users' faces, essentially turning them into tacos. However, the difference with Snap's latest advertising push is that the new sponsored world lenses don't require selfies or images of faces to work, and the overlays and effects can be used with everyday objects. The new ads may help Snap recover from its first earnings report as a publicly traded company. Snaps' first revenue report missed Wall Street's estimates, and the new sponsored world lenses could help Snap generate more income. In its earnings report, Snap revealed that it was making a bigger investment in research and development, growing its division's headcount by 260 percent as it looks to stay competitive in artificial intelligence and machine learning with rivals, including Facebook, Alphabet and Microsoft. The interactive nature of Snap's advertising makes Snapchat unique, especially when compared to advertising on other social media platforms.
In addition to sponsored world lenses, Snap also announced that it is updating its traditional lenses, which adds distortion and effects to a users' face. The update allows US advertisers to target the lenses based on a user's age, gender or the content that a user watches on Snapchat's Discover section. This allows advertisers to segment their advertising demographic on Snapchat, rather than just buying ads nationwide, which was a limitation prior to the latest lenses update.