One of AR’s benefits as a marketing vehicle is its ability to span the consumer purchase funnel. As background, various flavors of ad media generally map to upper-funnel formats (like billboards and TV ads), or lower-funnel formats (like search)….and points in-between.

It’s not often that ad formats shine throughout the funnel, but AR is beginning to demonstrate that it may possess that rare quality. It can reach Super Bowl-sized audiences through viral and engaging brand lenses, while also driving measurable conversions through product try-ons.

The latter gets the most attention in AR discussions and case studies. And indeed, consumer purchases are generally a more direct and desired form of return-on-ad-spend (ROAS). But some brands are more interested in upper-funnel awareness on a massive scale.

So where’s the evidence that AR lenses can reach those Super Bowl sized audiences? Before going into examples, it’s worth noting that Snap has reached 6 billion lens views per day. That’s the equivalent of roughly one lens view for every human on the planet, every day.

Snap Q4 Earnings: The AR Highlight Reel

Data Dive

Going more granular, what kind of reach can be expected for individual lenses or lens-based brand campaigns? We’ve tracked and aggregated several examples from Snap for this week’s Data Dive. See them below, categorized by format/source and listed in order of magnitude.

Community/Creator Lenses

– The Squid Game lens by Ian Runge generated 49 million+ impressions.

– The Photo Crop lens by Denis Rossiev reached 24.5 million+ impressions.

– The Little Bernie lens by Amélie Tremblay reached 9 million+ impressions.

– The Dance Twin lens by Mike Porter achieved 5.7 million+ impressions.

Snap (in-house) Lenses

– Snap’s Disney-style Cartoon lens reached 2.8 billion+ impressions in its first week and has exceeded 7 billion cumulative views.

– Snap’s Smile lens reached 1.2 billion+ impressions.

– Snap’s Remove Beard lens acheived 380 million+ impressions.

– Snap’s Song for Charlie lens reached 21 million+ impressions.

– Snap’s Invisible lens reached 19 million+ impressions.

– Snap’s Club Unity lens reached 14.7 million+ views.

– Snap’s Celebrate Earth Day lens reached 3.8 million+ Snapchatters.

Brand Lenses

– The White House’s COVID-19 lens reached 45 million+ impressions from more than 16 million Snapchatters.

– Ulta Beauty generated 30 million+ product try-ons and $6 million in purchases with Snapchat’s new shopping lenses.

Creator Milestones

– Lens creator Jppirie passed 5-billion lifetime lens views in November.

– Famed Snapchat lens creator Brielle Garcia passed 1-billion cumulative lens views in September.

Snap Q4 Earnings, Part II: The Data Dive

Ratcheting Up

One thing that jumps out from the above examples is that they’re a mix of paid and organic lenses. Though the focus of the top section above is on the former, the latter is notable because it demonstrates AR’s virality and its ability to be propelled without paid amplification.

Moreover, lenses are beginning to represent a real career path for individual creators who can reach such large audiences. Some are putting those skills to work for brand advertisers or agencies on a contract basis. And the most active creators are making up to $750,000 per year.

Besides financial incentive, Snap itself wants to motivate AR lens creators by investing heavily in the underlying toolset that empowers them to do their thing. This is the biggest reason we continue to see rapid-fire advancements and updates from Snap’s AR creation platform, Lens Studio.

What’s Snap’s endgame? Frequent readers know our theory: Lens creators kick off a virtuous cycle that’s a revenue engine for Snap. In short, lens creators boost lens libraries. That stimulates usage/users. That in turn attracts more lens creators, not to mention brand advertisers.

Given the fruits of that cycle, rapid Lens Studio evolution is likely to continue. Meta also continues to invest in AR lenses which have found fertile ground on Instagram. Google, Pinterest, Shopify and others are likewise in the game. Expect this competition to continue ratcheting up.

More from AR Insider…