Snapchat Debuts New AR and Gen AI Ad Products at NewFronts

The company launched its in-app sports channel and renewed deals with the NFL, NBA and WNBA

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Snapchat showcased its augmented reality (AR) and generative AI capabilities to ad buyers during its NewFronts presentation.

The platform unveiled AR extensions that let advertisers integrate AR Lenses into Snap’s ad products, including Snap Ads, Collection Ads, Spotlight Ads and Dynamic Product Ads. The platform, which touts 800 million monthly active users globally, also announced a new home for sports content ahead of this year’s Olympics.

With over 300 million people interacting with AR experiences on Snapchat daily, according to the company, the idea is to turn passive viewing into active engagement.

“In the U.S. and the U.K., AR generates six times more attention versus the social feed,” said Patrick Harris, Snap’s president of the Americas and partnerships.

At the event on Wednesday night in New York, Harris said that the company’s investment in machine learning lets brands convert 2D product catalog items, like shoes, into try-on experiences within 30 minutes, making AR technology highly accessible.

Brands can also now create custom AR ads using gen AI tech to produce realistic face effects and selfies, called ML Face Effects. The company told ADWEEK that this new capability lets brands query simple text or image prompts to a machine-learning model that adds extremely realistic face effects to a Lens. These Lenses can be used as AR ads on the platform.

Snap’s new ad formats come after the company’s higher-than-anticipated Q1 revenue of nearly $1.2 billion, a 21% year-over-year increase. Earlier this year, Snapchat pitched itself as an alternative to social media, emphasizing the initial purpose of social media to connect with family and friends. Building on that campaign message, Snap’s new offerings let brands tap into live music and sports events through AR ads.

Sports network for sponsorship and product integrations

The company also announced Snap Sports Network, an in-app sports channel giving brands opportunities for sponsorships and product integrations. Launch partners include e.l.f. and Taco Bell.

The company said its sports content reaches an average of nearly 180 million Snapchatters monthly.

Snap also renewed its partnerships with the NFL, NBA and WNBA, and inked a deal with longtime partner NBCUniversal for AR experiences at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Creators like Livvy Dunne and Harry Jowsey will be reporting live from the event.

The lenses for this event are expected to feature Team USA athletes, including the official uniforms and medal counts, the company said.

Snap’s announcement includes a team-up with Live Nation, giving people access to behind-the-scenes music experiences while letting U.S advertisers geofence branded content across Creator stories, ads in Snap Nation Stories, and AR Lenses using Live Nation IP.

Snap also announced a new partnership with Issa Rae and her branded entertainment studio, Ensemble, to help brands partner and produce content with the 523 creators in its accelerator program.

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