Buoyed by the Success of the Dancing Hot Dog, Snapchat Is Opening Up 3-D AR Ads for the Real World

Plus, why short video is the way to go

Warner Bros. and Bud Light are the first two brands to create sponsored 3-D World Lenses.
Source: Snapchat

Snapchat’s wacky face-swapping augmented reality lenses are about to take over the real world.

In May, Netflix and Warner Bros. started experimenting with IRL graphics that overlay branded objects viewed through the app’s rear-facing camera. Over the past few months, Snapchat has begun testing 3-D versions of those graphics—like the viral dancing hot dog and Bitmoji avatars—that allow users to place the graphics in their posts and walk around them. This morning during an Advertising Week panel, Snapchat is announcing that those fun 3-D graphics can now be used as ads, similar to the app’s sponsored lens formats. Bud Light and the Warner Bros. film Blade Runner are the first two advertisers to run 3-D World Lenses.

According to Snapchat and data provided by Nielsen, the average sponsored lens increases ad awareness by 19.7 points and lifts brand awareness by 6.4 points. Moreover, three billion Snaps are taken each day within the app—equivalent to one trillion pieces of content per year. Just within the popular lens that turns users’ faces into a puppy dog, Snapchatters have spent the equivalent of 7,000 years playing with the lens.

“It’s something that’s first grounded organically with our community, so you can see the success of these 3-D World Lenses, for example, with the dancing hotdog,” said Jeff Miller, global head of creative strategy at Snapchat, ahead of today’s announcement. “Once we started to see that and we started to see adoption, we knew it was the right time to introduce it to advertisers.”

Bud Light designed a virtual beer vendor who passes out cold bottles of beer while Warner Bros.’ campaign features a car that spins around users’ heads.

“That notion that it’s something three-dimensional that can recognize surfaces or planes is really cool because you can start to imagine ways that Snapchatters can have fun with brands and the world around them—not just on their faces,” Snapchat’s Miller said.

While both early examples of sponsored 3-D World Lenses are for entertainment, Miller said that Snapchat is working with advertisers to create more utility-based graphics that “go further down the funnel and add a sense of utility.”

He added, “You can imagine a 3-D product that you can see in front of you, that you can place in your hand, that you can interact with and walk around with and have that sense of that product itself.”

3-D World Lenses will be available for advertisers to purchase in the next few days and are being sold as part of larger ad packages that also include Snap Ads or sponsored lenses. They can either be purchased as a national takeover or by using Snapchat’s audience-targeting options.

In the case of Snap Ads, advertisers can promote a product in the vertical-oriented ads and then deep-link to the 3-D World Lens that automatically opens the rear-facing camera where consumers can interact with the graphic.

In terms of metrics, sponsored 3-D World Lenses come with reporting for media engagement stats, which include reach, efficiency of reach and the amount of time that consumers play with the lenses as well as Snapchat’s other reporting that crunches numbers on stats like awareness, purchase intent, offline sales impact and brand favorability.

Making the most of short Snaps

Later today during Advertising Week, Miller will present findings about best practices with Snapchat ads, and Adweek got a sneak peek beforehand.

Chiefly among Snapchat’s recommendations is one stat that’s sure to grab the attention of marketers who are increasingly designing shorter campaigns that fit the format of Snap’s 10-second ads: Two-thirds of lift in ad awareness comes from the first two seconds of a Snap Ad, per Nielsen brand studies conducted during the first half of this year.

In some cases, Snapchat advises brands to not even use a full 10 seconds to grab someone’s attention. For instance, Burberry cut down its creative to 4 seconds with quick video cuts that show the brand’s famous trench coat and checkered patterns.

“You have to make sure that you’re conveying your point really quickly up front,” Miller said. “It’s not to say don’t build 10 seconds of Snap Ads because you can certainly do that but within the first few seconds, make sure you’re making your point—be clear, grab their attention, explain what the value proposition [is].”

Snapchat is also formally rolling out four formats within Snap Ads that are designed for brands to experiment with: video, GIFs, still photos and subtle cinemagraphs.

Miller highlighted a cinemagraph campaign from Miller Lite that aimed to drive top-of-mind consideration using sound and movement to switch a neon sign on and off. In another example, Milky Way created a GIF-like wallpaper made out of candy bars while Illumination Entertainment created a 5-second teaser for the film Sing.

“We have great guidance that we can give on how to use these formats differently, but what we’ve really encouraged is for every advertiser to lean into structured tests where you’re playing around with many of these formats,” Miller said.

Other best practices include using sound since 60 percent of the app’s users listen to content with audio turned on. “That should be part of your brief as much as the visual,” Miller explained.

Miller also advised brands to stick with one message. To promote Insecure, HBO featured one scene from the show in its ad instead of showing a clip.

That’s not to say that all Snapchat content is short, though. Over the past year, brands have increasingly linked their video ads to attachments, prompting users to watch longer video clips, play games, download apps or visit websites.

“If you’re trying to drive longer engagement, we have a platform and the learned behavior of swiping up,” Miller said. “People will sit there and watch your content—whether it’s long-form videos or games—for one minute, two minutes, three minutes.”

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