It may not be the biggest social platform, but Snapchat is a clear leader in AR development, which could help to ensure it maintains relevance in the next stage of digital connectivity.
Along this line, Snap has today announced a new funding Program for AR creators, which is designed to help foster the next wave of digital creatives in its apps.
Snap’s new Lens Creator Rewards program will ‘celebrate the most creative Lenses’, with dedicated funding for the best-performing innovations, based on various engagement metrics.
As explained by Snap:
“Every month, a Lens Creator could be awarded up to $7,200 if their Lens is the top-performing Lens in the United States, India, and Mexico. The program is open to new and existing Lens Studio community members from nearly 40 countries.”
That could be a good incentive to keep AR creators building in Snap’s apps, as competition for talent rises across other platforms.
So how will ‘top-performing’ be assessed in this context?
Snap says that Lens performance will be determined ‘by a proprietary formula based on views as well as other various engagement metrics’. That keeps things suitably vague, as Snap may want to tweak the incentives for the program over time, though the fact that there are no specific thresholds or measurements could be problematic if the payment amounts fluctuate.
That’s been a problem for Snap in other contexts, with creators getting annoyed by inconsistent payments from its Spotlight funding initiative, as the performance measurements for the program continue to be altered. Ideally, Snap would be able to set more concrete parameters, but it also makes sense that it may want to keep its options open, particularly in the early days of the new initiative.
Also worth noting that despite AR creators from virtually every region being able to join the program, Snap says that:
“Engagement of a Lens in the US, India, and Mexico will be used to measure performance each month.”
So if you’re a creator in Australia, you’re being measured based on the performance of your Lens in three other nations. That seems odd, but again, it’s early days, and maybe this is just the starting point for the new program.
Either way, it adds another means to make direct income from your Snapchat creations, which could also help you build your profile, and maximize your presence in the app.
Snap also notes the commercial opportunities of its AR offerings:
“Over the past five years, we’ve enabled our AR community to build Lenses for brands and partners, experiment with creating Lenses with digital goods, and explore the future of AR today through our GHOST Innovation Lab and our Spectacles creator program. Today, we’re thrilled to offer a new way for AR creators to unleash new creative possibilities and grow their businesses.”
Indeed, Snap’s AR creator community has facilitated the release of more than 3 million Lenses, which have been viewed by Snapchat users over 5 trillion times.
It’s a valuable, viable pathway for Snap to increase its relevance, and ensure that it remains a leader in the AR space. And with Snap also looking to expand its AR tools into other apps, via its ARES initiative, the opportunities could indeed be significant for rising developers and hobbyists.