Snapchat Revolutionizes Advertising with AR and AI: A New Era of Interactive Ads

At a recent NewFronts presentation in New York, Snapchat impressively demonstrated how it’s evolving its platform by integrating augmented reality and generative AI technology for advertisers. The platform introduced new AR extensions that allow advertisers to incorporate AR lenses into various ad products such as Snap Ads, Collection Ads, Spotlight Ads, and Dynamic Product Ads. These innovations arrive as Snapchat reports 800 million monthly active users globally and is gearing up for an increased focus on sports content ahead of this year’s Olympics.

Snapchat reports that over 300 million people interact with AR experiences on the platform daily. The company’s vision is to transform passive consumption into active engagement. Patrick Harris, Snap’s President of the Americas and Partnerships, highlighted the effectiveness of AR in the U.S. and the UK, which generates six times more attention compared to regular social media feeds.

A highlight of the presentation was how the company uses machine learning to transform 2D product catalog items, such as shoes, into digital try-on experiences within just 30 minutes. This advanced accessibility to AR technology opens new possibilities for brands to create interactive and immersive advertising experiences.

Moreover, Snapchat has announced the introduction of ML Face Effects, a feature that enables brands to use generative AI technology to create realistic face effects and selfies. Brands can send simple text or image prompts to a machine learning model, which then adds highly realistic face effects to an AR lens. These can then be used as AR advertisements on the platform.

The launch of these new ad formats follows a first quarter with surprisingly high revenues of nearly $1.2 billion and a year-over-year growth of 21%. Early this year, Snapchat positioned itself as an alternative to social media, focusing on strengthening connections with family and friends. The new AR ad formats now allow brands to engage in live events such as music and sports events.

Additionally, Snapchat announced the launch of the Snap Sports Network, an in-app sports channel offering brands opportunities for sponsorships and product integrations. Launch partners include e.l.f. and Taco Bell. According to Snapchat, its sports content reaches nearly 180 million users monthly.

In preparation for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, Snapchat has renewed its partnerships with the NFL, NBA, and WNBA, and has struck a new deal with long-time partner NBCUniversal for AR experiences during the games. Reporters such as Livvy Dunne and Harry Jowsey will be covering the event live, and the AR lenses are expected to feature Team USA athletes in their official uniforms and with medal counts.

In a further strategic partnership, Snapchat is collaborating with Live Nation to provide access to behind-the-scenes music events and enable U.S. advertisers to geographically restrict branded content across various platforms.

Moreover, Snapchat announced a new partnership with Issa Rae and her Ensemble Branded Entertainment Studio to assist brands in collaborating and producing content with the 523 creators in their accelerator program.

Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker is an innovation profiler, future strategist and media expert who helps companies understand the opportunities behind technologies such as artificial intelligence for the next five to ten years. He is the founder of the consulting firm "Alexander Pinker - Innovation Profiling", the innovation marketing agency "innovate! communication" and the news platform "Medialist Innovation". He is also the author of three books and a lecturer at the Technical University of Würzburg-Schweinfurt.

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