Snapchat Introduces 3 New Capabilities of Its Augmented Reality Lenses With ‘Shoppable AR’

Features focus on social commerce and engagement

Snapchat is releasing "Shoppable AR" lenses with four partners today. Snapchat
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Snapchat is opening up the floodgates, letting advertisers bring real-life shopping experiences to the digital platform.

The camera company is introducing three new features, dubbed “Shoppable AR,” to its augmented reality lenses: the “website,” which lets consumers tap a button and open up a webpage that can promote a product or sign-up page; a “video” option, allowing users to watch a trailer or how-to shorts; and “install,” which prompts users to install an app (or open it, if the user already has it on their phone).

With the website tool, Snapchat is trying to show both Wall Street and Madison Avenue that it can lead in social commerce. (Or at least until Facebook decides to rip it off.)

Retailers can direct consumers to buy a product they try on in a lens. However, the feature doesn’t use the native Snap Commerce Platform, and it’s on the advertiser to enable options like auto-fill, sign in or Apple Pay.


That said, just because Snapchat is enabling this feature doesn’t mean it will be totally successful. Rachel Tipograph, founder and CEO of social media company MikMak, thinks the tool can help educate consumers about shopping on social media platforms and gives advertisers a way to capture traffic. However, she said, it won’t necessarily translate to astronomical sales.

“You’re engaging with these emotional AR lenses, and then you’re brought to this boring webpage,” Tipograph said. “As advertising increases interactivity and emotional content, the destination URL has to deliver on that same interactive response.”

The new features highlight Snapchat’s continued push to make advertisers and companies consider AR lenses necessary for an overall marketing strategy, as opposed to a one-off usage case; it’s also attempting to present itself as a solid company to advertise with. In the past few months, Snapchat has approached companies who run vertical video ads on Instagram, given out free data to brands about whether a customer visited a store after watching an ad and opened up its Lens Studio to make it easier for companies to create their own AR ads.

The three new tools are going live today with four partners: Clairol, Adidas, STX Entertainment and King. Both Clairol and Adidas are using the “website” AR lens to promote products and direct users to a website; King is using “install” to promote Candy Crush, while STX Entertainment will use the “video” lens to let users watch a trailer for the movie “I Feel Pretty.”

“With this move, Snap is now providing brands the opportunity to not just drive engagement with AR Lenses, but also seamlessly drive them to commerce with a new tap to feature,” said Chris Murphy, head of digital experience, Adidas US in a prepared statement. “We no longer live in a world where it has to be either brand or commerce. Consumers don’t think that way, and neither should we.”

Snapchat is also offering direct response data to advertisers who run Lens campaigns, such as letting them know and monitor how many users install an app or reopen an app after seeing a Lens, as well as opening up to the Snap Pixel to AR lenses.

@itstheannmarie Ann-Marie Alcántara is a tech reporter for Adweek, focusing on direct-to-consumer brands and ecommerce.