Software stocks are down. Ad-supported social media is definitely down. So how is Snap defying gravity with a rally following its Q4 earnings. Part of that is reaching profitability… and part is AR. In fact, it attributed AR throughout its Q4 earnings call, as we examined on Friday.

We even joked at the time that AR mentions were so rapid and glowing that one could have made a drinking game out of it. “AR,” “augmented” and “lens” peppered the call during segments from CEO Evan Speigel, Chief Business Officer Jeremi Gorman and CFO Derek Andersen.

This sheer volume of AR appreciation and attribution has also caused us to break our analysis into two parts. After Friday’s XR talks that highlighed AR-based earnings call quotes, we switch gears to break down all of the data points, milestones and feature updates for this week’s Data Dive.

But first, what were overall results? Snap reached $1.3 billion in Q4 revenue, up 42 percent year-over-year. It’s up to 319 million daily active users, up 20 percent year-over-year. Q4 also marks its first quarter of positive net income and first full-year of positive operating cash flow.

Snap Q4 Earnings: The AR Highlight Reel

Data Dive

Diving in on the AR-specific nuggets from Snap’s Q4 earnings, here’s the data dive…

Usage Figures

– Snap’s 18 New Year’s Eve Lenses generated more than 7 billion impressions.
– More than 200 million Snapchat users engaged with AR daily, and total daily lens interactions have reached 6 billion.
– There are now more than 250,000 Lens creators from more than 200 countries and territories, who have made more than 2.5 million Lenses that have been viewed more than 3.5 trillion times.
– More than 300 creators have reached 1 billion+ Lens views.
– More than 65 percent of Spotlight submissions (Snap’s program to amplify community creations) used one of Snapchat’s AR Lenses or creative tools.

Brand Marketing Metrics

– Using Snap’s Lens Web Builder tool, MAC Cosmetics drove 1.3 million try-ons, a 2.4x lift in Brand Awareness, a 9x lift in Intent, and a 17x lift in purchases among female users.
– DressX has seen 75 percent if its app users engage Snapchat Lenses. They also activate AR try-ons 22 times per-day on average and attribute AR to a 120 percent increase in subscriptions.
– Ulta Beauty generated $6 million in purchases and 30 million+ product try-ons from its catalog-powered Shopping Lenses.


– Snap released several enhancements to Lens Studio, including a new Sounds Library, real-world physics, world mesh, and an API library for real-time data.
– Lens Creators can now include a Call-to-Action link within a Lens, making it easier to grow their businesses.
– It also launched Food Scan to understand ingredients through visual search and provide recipe recommendations.
– It launched Catalog-powered Lenses for transaction-enabled AR and a new try-on interface purpose-built for shopping.

Lens Partners

– Snap partnered with Flipkart, Sugar Cosmetics and MyGlamm to bring more AR shopping and try-on experiences to Snapchatters in India.
– It launched new Lenses with Disney’s PhotoPass service (via Lens Kit) featuring iconic Disney characters like Elsa from Frozen and Timon from The Lion King.
– It partnered with Sony Music Entertainment to expand the songs library available for Lens creation.

AR and Shopping Collide, Part I: Snap

Financial Incentive

One key theme that was evident throughout the earnings call is Snap’s investments to empower Lens Studio creators. It recognizes that lens creators kick off the “virtuous cycle” that attracts users, which then attract more developers, more users…then brand marketers.

This theme is evident in its recent Lens Studio updates. They include new tools that support creator exposure (profiles and networking) and creator monetization (lens-based calls to action). The latter can link users to creators’ eCommerce stores to financially incentivize them.

In all of the above, another theme is the extension of lens capabilities from selfie fodder to world-facing lenses. As we’ve examined, this broadens AR use cases – and correspondingly, the addressable market of advertisers – beyond things that go on one’s face.

But more importantly, this shift to world-immersive lenses primes Lens Studio creators to start thinking spatially. In other words, they’re developing muscles for AR’s next evolution: AR glasses. Snap Spectacles were mentioned several times on the earnings call as the longer-term play.

Meanwhile, expect Snap to continue investing in Lens Studio as it internalizes the feedback loop of AR-driven financial success. After seeing results – including reaching profitability – Snap is driven to double down on AR as an increasingly-influential propellant in its revenue model.

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