As per Snap:
“With over 6 billion plays per day on average, Lenses offer a unique window into the year’s cultural moments, achievements in AR innovation, and trends that made a lasting impact. Join us as we celebrate our community and the 2021 Lenses that revolutionized the way Snapchatters create, explore, learn, and play.”
The overview provides some interesting perspective on broader web trends, while also highlighting how they can be incorporated into AR applications. And with AR set to become an even bigger part of digital advertising moving forward, it’s worth taking note of the top trends, with a view to how you might be able to use such tools in your own promotional efforts.
First off, on the top AR trends of the year, Snapchat reports that ‘Little Bernie’, ‘Squid Game’ and ‘3D Cartoon’ were the most popular Lenses in the app.
No doubt you’ve seen all of these, in varying form, throughout the year, with each of them viewed billions of times.
Of course, two of these are tied into broader web trends, not Snapchat or AR-specific ones, making them harder to adopt as brand promotional tools. But they do provide some pointers as to what Snapchatters are looking to engage with, which could get you thinking about how to create viral moments with your own AR campaigns.
Other popular Lenses include the ‘Smile’ lens, which pastes a smile on your face – whether you’re actually happy or not, the ‘Photo Crop’ Lens to focus on specific elements in-frame, and ‘Fire Glasses’, which adds active flames to your virtual sun shades.
Snapchat also highlights the top music-inspired Lenses in the app, with more than 1.2 billion video Snaps created in 2021 that include audio accompaniment. Snap has been expanding its audio options throughout the year, as it looks to align with TikTok-lead usage, which also includes its recent addition of sound clips for Snaps from popular TV shows.
The most popular musicians in the app, via dedicated Lenses, were J Balvin, Olivia Rodrigo, the Notorious B.I.G. for a little retro flavor.
Snapchat also highlights key brand uses of AR, with product applications advancing to provide a valuable supplementary element, and better facilitate online shopping.
“AR is the future of shopping - it can help visualize not just how a pair of sunglasses looks, but how it looks on you. Going beyond today’s online 2D shopping experience, AR makes trying on clothes completely custom. From Prada to MAC Cosmetics, there are so many ways to express your style and get your hands on the most covetable items of the year.”
Indeed, Snap’s AR try-on tools are evolving, including virtual handbags from Prada, clothing try-on via Farfetch and sunglasses from Zenni.
Snap’s clothing try-on tools, in particular, are set to evolve significantly in 2022, with the company acquiring digital sizing company FitAnalytics back in March. The addition of FitAnlytics tools will enable Snap to provide more accurate size and style matches, which will see more AR clothing applications over time, but Snap has identified these three brands, specifically, as AR innovators for the year.
It’s interesting to consider the evolution of AR, and where it fits in the broader digital engagement space, across various applications and processes. And with AR glasses set to start rolling out to consumers some time in the next 24 months, AR could become a much bigger consideration, for all brands – and as such, it is worth taking note of these trends, and considering how they apply to your future initiatives and promotions, and where opportunity may be.
Really, once functional AR glasses are made available to consumers, adoption will accelerate fast, and you’ll likely need to learn more either way - which is another reason why this trend overview is of value, in planning, insight and consideration.
The options are increasing, both for creation and usage, and Snap’s listing provides some key insight into these trends.
You can check out Snapchat’s full ‘Lens of the Year’ report here.