Snap CEO Evan Spiegel once said that Snapchat’s lifespan so far was all about consumer traction and engagement. This is otherwise known as the supply side of the media and marketing equation. Snap’s future would be about growing the demand side (ad dollars) to catch up.

That demand side has since ratcheted up, despite common ad-world headwinds. Those include OS-level privacy restrictions, an economic downturn (which retracts ad budgets), and an increasingly fragmented supply side (read: TikTok). But AR continues to be a bright spot.

With that, Snap continues to double down on AR as its revenue growth engine. This includes continued investment in its Lens Studio platform – the AR creation engine that drives downstream revenues. Tools like Camera Kit meanwhile let brands integrate AR into their workflows.

Now Snap is taking the next step in bringing lens creation to consumer brands. Its new AR Enterprise Services (ARES) lets them create and distribute lenses through their own channels. So in addition to AR lenses on Snap, they can offer the same on their own apps and sites.

“Over the last decade, we’ve been hard at work bringing fun and personal AR experiences to Snapchatters,” said Snap Head of AR Enterprise Services Jill Popelka. “In the next decade, we’re excited to take our world-class AR technology to business websites and apps.”

Is Camera Kit Snap’s Next AR Growth Engine?

Load Balanced

Going deeper on ARES, its main feature is the ability for brands to create try-on lenses. This is suited towards brands that sell clothes, hats, shoes, or anything that goes on your body. Snap has developed such dimensional try-ons to the point where it can now spin it out in a SaaS product.

This continues to be a format that resonates with apparel brands – starting with early adopters and increasingly expanding from there. The idea is that virtual try-ons engender a more informed and confident consumer purchase. This can boost conversions, and lessen returns.

Flowing from this try-on lens capability, ARES lets brands offer their customers the option to upload images of themselves to see how a given item might look on them. This includes a 3D viewer to see the style and fit from all angles, as well as AI-fueled sizing recommendations.

Meanwhile, on the back end, ARES hosts and manage digital assets such as bandwidth-intensive 3D models. Leaning on Snap’s already-existing Lens Cloud, the company can help ARES subscribers host those files and deliver them in a cloud-hosted and load-balanced way.

Lastly, ARES offers support. Given that lens-based virtual try-ons are still in early-adopter territory, there’s an intimidation factor for brands that shy away from emerging tech. The support component – not to mention the SaaS packaging itself – is meant to lessen that stumbling block.

Lessons from Snap’s AR Lead

Balanced Equation

Stepping back, ARES components are all things that Snap has assembled in the past few years. It now brings them together in a SaaS package so that it’s a digestible value proposition and easy integration for brands. It even comes with analytics to monitor performance.

That list of existing assets includes Lens Studio, Camera Kit, and Lens Cloud. Joining the mix are capabilities like 3D body-fitting technology that Snap gained in its 2021 Fit Analytics acquisition. It has also refined its chops for AR try-ons through products like catalog-powered lenses.

To bring ARES to market, Snap has tested it with a few partner brands like sunglasses company Goodr and clothing company Princess Polly. Snap says that these partners have already seen greater engagement, conversion rates, and fewer returns, to support the above claims.

As for the cost, Snap is light on details but pricing will be performance-based, and correlated to operational scale. This de-risks the investment for brands, which further lowers barriers. Panning back for pattern recognition, a clear theme is easing brands’ AR initiation and onboarding.

Altogether, AES is a logical move. Bringing all that capability into a digestible SaaS package could accelerate marketers’ AR adoption. And that could drive toward Evan Speigel’s goal to balance what Snap has built on the user engagement side with corresponding levels of monetization.

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