Everyone agrees it isn’t easy to get hundreds of thousands, or in some cases hundreds of millions of users to flock to a social media platform. With that said, as the years go by we are increasingly seeing entrepreneurs successfully pull this off. Even for those few that are able to reach such a milestone, the biggest challenge is still awaits them.
A monetization strategy is becoming increasingly important to investors looking at up-and-coming businesses, and while mega-players like Facebook have shown that it can be done, many other popular digital networks are struggling to leverage their massive user base.
One such example is Snapchat. Traditional ads don’t really fit the app’s unique environment, and as a result they have spectacularly underperformed thus far. In-app purchases are another avenue that is currently under development, but it’s unclear whether users interested in paying to upgrade their experience.
Snapchat’s latest announcement however, may mean that users won’t be the ones paying.
Snapchat is introducing Sponsored Lenses — a custom filter for selfies that allows brands to become part of a user’s self-snapshot. The idea is that these lenses will make snaps look cooler, making them more likely to be shared and (most importantly for the advertiser that supports the filter) more likely to get seen by a viral audience.
Built using the selfie animation technology Snapchat picked up from acquiring Looksery, Sponsored Lenses are an expansion on the Sponsored Geofilters that are used to modify the background of Snaps with a few distinct differences. Particularly, the new selfie animations are completely user-voluntary and offer a potentially fun and unique experience for users.
For example if you are a company releasing a horror movie this Halloween, why not help Snapchat users animate themselves into a brain eating zombies that they can then send to their friends.
So how much is the tech worth? At this time the market is still sorting that out, and it will likely take some time to settle once and for all. In the meantime however, according to reports by Financial Times a brand like Marvel would have to pay anywhere from $400,000 to $750,000 to distribute a selfie Lens branded with Iron Man 4 across the Snapchat network.
At that price the technology is far from accessible for the majority of SMEs in the world, but if the Selfie Lens proves popular among the big brands, you can expect Snapchat to find a way to bring it to the masses.
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