Snapchat rolls out Sponsored 3D World Lenses, bringing its AR format to advertisers

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Snapchat debuted its latest augmented-reality ad format on Thursday.

Advertisers can now create their own branded versions of Snapchat’s 3D World Lenses that allow people to augment videos shot with their phones’ rear-facing cameras with animated three-dimensional objects, like Snapchat’s famous dancing hot dog, that can be moved and resized to fit the scene.

Imran Khan, chief strategy officer of Snapchat’s parent company, Snap, announced the rollout of Sponsored 3D World Lenses on Thursday at an Advertising Week session in New York. Bud Light and Warner Bros. are the first advertisers to run these augmented-reality ads. Below are two GIFs showcasing how each brand is using the new format. In the Bud Light ad, the user can walk around a concession vendor selling Bud Light. Warner Bros. is using the ad format to promote “Blade Runner 2043” and features one of the flying cars from the movie.

In addition to crafting 3D World Lenses to entertain Snapchat’s audience, brands can also create more purpose-driven campaigns, similar to the augmented-reality experiences brands have built using Apple’s new ARKit. For example, a furniture brand could design one for people to see how a couch might look in their home. To help with the production process, Snap’s creative team will work with brands to build their 3D Lens experiences, according to Khan.

As with Snapchat’s original Sponsored Lens and two-dimensional Sponsored World Lenses, Sponsored 3D World Lens campaigns are only available to purchase through Snapchat’s direct sales team.

There are two placement options for Sponsored 3D World Lens campaigns:

  1. They can run as traditional Sponsored Lens campaigns, where they’ll only show up when people swipe through the gallery of Lenses to apply one to their post. (According to Snapchat, one-third of its 173 million daily active users check out the Lens gallery each day.)
  2. Or they can be attached to a Snap Ad and be promoted outside of the Lens gallery. Users can swipe up on the vertical video ad to use the Lenses, marking the first time that a Lens can be used as a Snap Ad attachment.

Targeting options depends on whether a brand opts to run a Sponsored 3D World Lens as a traditional Lens campaign or as a Snap Ad attachment. If run as a Lens campaign, it can target all users in a given country who use Snapchat on a given day, or it can apply any of Snapchat’s age-, gender- and interest-targeting options. A Snapchat spokesperson did not immediately respond to questions asking whether there are any targeting or placement restrictions for Snap Ad with a 3D Lens attached versus a traditional Snap Ad campaign.

About The Author

Tim Peterson, Third Door Media’s Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has reported for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he currently lives in Los Angeles. He has broken stories on Snapchat’s ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar’s attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon’s ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube’s programming strategy, Facebook’s ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking’s rise; and documented digital video’s biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed’s branded video production process and Snapchat Discover’s ad load six months after launch. He has also developed tools to monitor brands’ early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo’s and Google’s search designs and examine the NFL’s YouTube and Facebook video strategies.


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