Diving headfirst into augmented reality (AR), Snap Inc. made waves at its annual Lens Fest event with a groundbreaking experiment. The tech giant announced that it is collaborating with a select group of AR creators and developers to pioneer the use of Snap Tokens for purchasing digital goods within Lenses.
Snap Tokens, which were initially introduced in 2020, have been primarily utilized for gifting to creators and exclusive Bitmoji merchandise. However, Snap’s latest experiment is set to expand the scope of these Tokens as a means of monetization within the AR ecosystem. The move comes as Snap aims to empower its growing AR community and explore novel ways of generating revenue.
Sophia Dominguez, Head of Snap’s global AR community efforts, disclosed that ten talented AR creators and developers were meticulously selected to participate in this pilot initiative. With an initial focus on three main use cases for AR—self-expression, fashion, and play—the team sought to identify and collaborate with three to five developers for each category, narrowing down the selection to a handful of exceptional talents.
Among the creators involved in the pilot is Phillip Walton, known for his viral Potato Lens. Walton observed users’ enthusiasm for enhancing the Lens, and thanks to this experiment, they can now utilize Snap Tokens to upgrade it. Users can redeem Tokens to transform the potato into playful characters like a police officer, magician, cat, and more.
Another popular Lens in the pilot is the multiplayer Table Trenches Lens, created by DB Creations. As part of the experiment, users will access new skins, levels, and other exciting opportunities within the Lens by redeeming Snap Tokens.
Sophia Dominguez emphasized that digital goods provide a pathway for users to upgrade their Lenses with new and diverse capabilities. The goal is to offer creators and developers the means to build their businesses beyond mere collaborations with brands and clients. This experiment represents the beginning of a promising journey, and Snap is eager to witness how Snapchat users embrace this new dimension of AR engagement.
To cater to a broader audience, Snap plans to introduce these new Lenses initially in Australia and New Zealand, with future expansion to more countries on the horizon. The company’s motivation to explore additional revenue streams through Snap Tokens is evident, as exemplified by its recent collaboration with Adidas for an exclusive Bitmoji Fashion Drop that can be claimed using the Tokens.
Snap’s AR community continues to thrive, with over 300,000 AR creators and developers contributing their talents to build an impressive collection of over three million Lenses. An astounding 80% of these AR creators are based outside the United States, with 300 of them amassing over one billion views on their Lenses. These captivating Lenses have garnered more than five trillion views, a testament to the platform’s widespread appeal.
To further foster AR innovation, Snap has introduced a Lensathon competition with a generous $200,000 prize pool. The contest challenges creators to push the boundaries of what’s possible in AR, allowing them to compete for a share of the prize until January 31.
As Snap pioneers the fusion of AR and Tokens, it charts a course toward a more dynamic user experience, offering creators a canvas to paint innovative stories and generate revenue.