Snapchat has 150 million daily users so it’s no wonder that the app, best known for taking selfies with fun filters and lenses, has monetized its platform in the past year.

Traditionally, Snapchat lenses have provided a simple, standard overlay. Until this week that is, when it was announced that ahead of the release of ‘Underworld: Blood Wars’, Snapchat will be launching its first ever 3D, interactive lens.

The lens will be responsible for building an immersive augmented reality experience, a 360-degree environment around the user that will enable the user to pan from side to side to explore various worlds and even transform into a vampire.

This development might well pave the way to become Snapchat’s brand new ad format and comes about just after the release of their World Lenses that blur the lines between the digital world and real world even more so.

Snapchat’s World Lenses overlay 3D effects onto your surroundings creating what experts call ‘mixed reality’. The implications of this could be huge; just imagine snapping yourself eating a Cadbury crème egg only for a little bird to appear on your screen, flutter its wings and disappear again. Though this might well take the user by surprise the first time around, the novelty of such an experience could catch on with Snapchat users and crème egg connoisseurs thus creating a wave of not-so-traditional PR for Cadbury’s crème eggs at Easter-time. We have a sneaky feeling that we’ll be seeing much more ‘mixed reality’ in 2017.

Not only will 3D lenses allow users to explore a different world to their own but Snapchat’s other latest offering, ‘snap to unlock’, is set to shake up the industry too.

The ‘snap to unlock’ feature that Snapchat rolled out in October allows advertisers to place codes on billboards or websites that people scan to access new lenses or content. The big advantage here is, rather than being limited to a 10 second snap, advertisers can tell a much longer story.

With 3D lenses enabling users to explore new worlds and the ‘scroll to unlock’ feature offering additional content, Snapchat has done the impossible and transformed a platform used to take temporary, fleeting selfies into concrete advertising sales; not to mention the PR that the brands utilising this technology are earning.

It certainly hasn’t taken long for other social media platforms to follow suit, with Facebook and Instagram also hoping to jump on the bandwagon. But quite simply, Snapchat has even further tapped in to youth culture by evolving its platform into something brands can also embrace.

What does all this mean for PR? With the launch of Snapchat’s 3D lenses coinciding with the release of ‘Underworld: Blood Wars’, an immersive augmented reality experience might well replace the traditional press release that we all know so well.

Fortunately for us, technology still has a long way to go before augmented reality becomes the norm and, coupled with a hefty price tag, it looks to be a long time coming before it is an affordable option for brands.

Despite the development of such technology, it also remains to be traditional forms of media and online news outlets that are responsible for causing a stir and generating PR, suggesting perhaps that the two industries rely upon each other in equal measures.

Whether 3D lenses take off or not we can only wait and see but one thing’s for sure, Snapchat certainly knows a little about connecting brands with Generation-Y, something traditional forms of media could do with a little lesson in.


Image sourced from Pixabay