Snap Inc. has been stressing for over three years now that it is a camera company. Hammering that point home on Thursday, it unveiled a raft of new ways for brands and creators to take full advantage of its camera at its Snap Partner Summit, including updated commerce capabilities and the ability to virtually try on items.
The company revealed that Snapchat now tallies over 500 million monthly active users, including nearly half of smartphone users in the U.S., adding that about 40% of its community is located outside North America and Europe. Growth in Daily users in India has grown 100% year-on-year over the last five quarters.
Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said during the event that the platform now has more than 500 content partners for its Discover platform and over 250,000 developers using its Snap Kit. Senior vice president of content and partnerships Ben Schwerin added that Snapchat users share content from partners via its camera more than 600 million times each month.
Rolling out business profiles widely
Snap has officially rolled out business profiles, which it began beta-testing with 30 brands last July. These let brands showcase their lenses, highlights and Stories, as well as enable users to browse, try on and buy items directly via the profile.
AR shopping analytics provide brands with insights on lens performance and how Snapchatters are using their virtual products.
“Brands like MAC Cosmetics can learn which items, colors and styles their customers are most interested in, making it easy to gather fast, early signals to inform marketing and targeting decisions, and even upcoming product developments,” said global product lead for AR Carolina Arguelles Navas at the event.
Turning to ecommerce, Snap said more than 170 million Snapchatters use its Scan feature every month, so it is adding Scan to the home screen for its camera and introducing a Screenshop feature.
Screenshop enables users to scan a friend’s outfit and shop similar looks with recommendations from hundreds of brands, or choose a photo from Memories and shop a look they saved.
“Allrecipes will soon recommend recipes to our community based on the ingredients in front of you,” said chief technology officer Bobby Murphy. “So, when you don’t know what to make with a ripe avocado on your counter, you can just scan it. Then, suggestions for guacamole or a breakfast bowl from Allrecipes are immediately at hand.”
Snap introduced Minis—bite-sized utilities built with HTML5 that work for Snapchat users on all devices, with no installation required—at last year’s Snap Partner Summit. On Thursday, the company unveiled two ecommerce Minis from Poshmark (detailing daily shopping events for users to join) and Ticketmaster.
Snap detailed several updates to its AR-powered try on technology, including voice-enabled commands, gesture-enabled controls, wrist tracking technology (watches and jewelry), true size technology (eyewear and sunglasses) and 3D body mesh and cloth. Over 40 voice commands are available via Lens Studio.
3D and connected lenses
Speaking of Lens Studio, the company said over 200,000 lens creators globally have made nearly 2 million lenses that have totaled over 2 trillion views. The new Lens Studio 4.0 adds features including 3D body mesh, cloth simulation and a visual effects editor to help make AR look and move more realistically.
Snap also introduced application programming interface-powered lenses, which enable businesses to upload their product catalogs and 3D product assets through the Snapchat API in Business Manager, providing users with real-time product inventory and pricing updates and brands with analytics on lens usage.
Partners include Major League Baseball: Strava will feed real-time scores and stats right into lenses through Snap’s API.
And its new Connected Lenses enable users to interact with each other no matter where they are, with Lego introducing one Thursday that lets users build a Lego kit together via AR. The Lego lens is available via its Snapchat profile.
“Connected Lenses help businesses build a camera strategy that’s not just one-on-one and lets people join a group of friends,” Navas told Adweek.
Finally, Snap beefed up its Snap Map feature with Map Layers, which enable select partners—such as restaurant recommendation provider The Infatuation highlighting great restaurants in the area and Ticketmaster showcasing nearby concerts—to feature specialized experiences directly on Snap Map.
Director of product Will Wu said over 250 million Snapchatters use Snap Map every month, and Layers will begin rolling out in the coming months. “With these new ways to explore and places to visit, the Snap Map continues to evolve into a world view built for friends,” he added.
“You have to go to where people are. You can’t expect people to come to you,” Navas told Adweek. “This is a critical platform to be on if you want to meet the next generation of your buyers.”