Snapchat is now allowing creators to monetize their in-app lenses, marking the beginning of a new business venture for the social media platform. This move is part of Snap’s plan to turn its platform into the hub of the augmented reality (AR) universe. While AR technology is still in its early stages, face lenses have become increasingly popular on apps like Snapchat, Instagram, Zoom, and TikTok. Millions of users are accustomed to using these lenses to add virtual effects to their faces, such as dog ears or rainbows shooting out of their mouths.
At its recent Lensfest developer event, Snap announced that it now has over 300,000 developers creating AR products for its platform, resulting in more than 3 million lenses that have been viewed over 5 trillion times. These numbers have all increased since last year, indicating that AR is gaining traction in the market. Snap’s main focus at this year’s Lensfest was on monetization. The company is partnering with some creators to build lenses that include digital goods that can be purchased with Snap Tokens.
This plan is similar to the in-game economies of platforms like Roblox and Fortnite, with a touch of the non-fungible token (NFT) craze. By offering these monetization opportunities, Snap hopes to not only help creators make money but also encourage them to continue building on its platform. “We are very optimistic that this will create more opportunities for Snapchatters to pay for the value that they are getting in our experience,” says Snap CTO Bobby Murphy, “and then also motivate even more investment and time and effort and increase the level of quality around using our platform.”