AR hasn’t demonstrated the world-changing capabilities that were touted in its circa-2017 hype cycle, but it’s finding success in specific areas. Those include enterprise productivity and brand marketing, both of which were examined in recent ARtillery Intelligence reports.

Zeroing in on AR marketing, one company leading the way in providing – and generating meaningful revenue from – AR marketing is Snap. Congruent with its “camera-company” label, it made an early commitment to social AR lenses and continues to double down on the technology.

In fact, of all the players cultivating consumer-based AR products and business models, none have achieved the traction of Snap. Though social media competitors like Meta and TikTok have greater overall reach, AR lenses are more of a central priority and “north star” for Snap.

This includes 6 billion AR lens engagements per day, among other metrics. But what are the lessons and takeaways? What’s Snap doing right in terms of product and platform development? This is the topic of a recent ARtillery Intelligence report, which we’ve excerpted below.

The Camera Company: Lessons from Snap’s AR Lead

One-Two Punch

To pick up where the last segment of this series left off, a key element for AR shopping is actionable features like buy buttons. In other words, beyond visualizing products in AR, they can also buy them on the spot. This aligns with a broader eCommerce trend: shoppability.

As quick background, this is about everything becoming more shoppable. It includes buy buttons in places like Instagram Stories and YouTube videos. It’s an ongoing trend to reduce friction and facilitate trackable commerce. It also keeps users within one’s app for better attribution data.

Put another way, shoppability’s biggest advantage is to expand the bottom of the marketing funnel to more touchpoints for measurable conversions from high-intent shoppers. And when combined with AR visualization to further qualify products, it’s a powerful one-two punch.

To that end, Snap continues to mine opportunities at the intersection of shoppability and AR. In recent history, this includes its ray tracing integrations and its “Dress Up” feature. The latter was launched to offer full-body lenses for trying on entire outfits in addition to individual style items.

Beyond user-facing features, Snap has also launched tools that lessen friction for fashion brands to create lenses. This involves its lens creation technology that can be brought into these brands’ own websites and development environments where their 3D workflows live.

This is essentially a fashion-forward extension of Camera Kit – Snap’s SDK that lets any business take lens creation into their own design environment. It’s currently used by several consumer giants like Disney, and could power brand apparel experiences from Puma to Prada.

Is Camera Kit Snap’s Next AR Growth Engine?

Catalog Powered

Another example of Snap’s moves to create opportunity at the intersection of AR and social commerce is Catalog-Powered Lenses. Launched last year, they take form in Product Cards that are activated from Snap Lenses to stimulate purchases on the spot while buying intent is high.

These cards display product information like size, color, price, description, and calls to action. The latter include buy buttons or direct links to a given brand’s eCommerce site. All along the way, the option exists for shoppers to visualize products in 3D using AR lenses.

Beyond this new purpose-built shopping format, Snap is sweetening the deal for brands to adopt AR shopping. That includes making Shopping Lenses easier to create, including no-code tools and templates. It boasts two-minute creation for style and beauty lenses.

Snap is also bringing more analytics to the table. These include real-time AR shopping performance data. This can help brands refine tactics to boost conversions in what is still a new medium. That last part is key, as the AR marketing playbook is still being written.

And it appears to be working. Ulta Beauty reported $6 million in incremental purchases and 30 million+ product try-ons in two weeks from Catalog-Powered Lenses. MAC Cosmetics saw 1.3 million try-ons, with a 2.4x lift in brand awareness and a 17x conversion rate over benchmarks.

Beyond these two examples, all the brands in Snap’s catalog-powered lens trials achieved an aggregate 250 million try-ons. Altogether, these shopping interactions saw an average 2.4x higher purchase intent and a 14 percent sales lift over benchmarks in video advertising.

We’ll pause there and circle back in the next report excerpt with more strategies and best practices from Snap’s consumer AR execution. Meanwhile, check out the full report… 

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