Snapchat has landed Apple-owned Beats as the first consumer product brand to run a Sponsored Lens campaign.
On Black Friday, Snapchat users will be able to use the lens to dress up their selfies. The lens resembles Snapchat’s first popular one, which altered people’s appearance and had them playfully barfing rainbows. The Beats lens puts similar special effects over photos, superimposing cartoonish headphones over people’s ears, floating bubbles out of their heads and streaming light out of their mouths. And it’s musical, set to a Drake song, “Big Rings.”
“Through the Lens, Beats is giving Snapchatters the opportunity to engage and communicate with their brand in a personal and dynamic way,” Snapchat said in a statement today, announcing the campaign.
The campaign marks the latest attempt by the Los Angeles-based messaging app to monetize the animated filters, which launched in October. It sold the first Sponsored Lens for the Charlie Brown movie “Peanuts,” then launched a lens store.
Special lenses are sold in the in-app store, and the branded lenses, like this Beats one, are free to consumers.
Today, Snapchat revealed that 10 million lenses are sent every day among its 100 million daily users.
The company has been exploring new formats for digital advertising since it first sold sponsored snaps last year. It was early to push advertisers to experiment with vertical video on mobile devices, and now it’s challenging them to up their brands with animated filters.
It has attracted top brands, now including Apple, and has been visiting ad agencies more to educate them on the platform.
Still, some advertisers are skeptical about the app because it doesn’t have nearly the infrastructure of an advanced rival like Facebook.
Snapchat reaches the millennials coveted by advertisers, but lacks the targeting and reporting capabilities to prove the success of ad campaigns. Digital video advertising increasingly relies on brands’ ability to hyper-target specific videos to different audience segments, and independently measure viewability and sales impact.
Some major media buyers are waiting to see if Snapchat can fully develop its video ad product and are unwilling to spend big bucks on fun but fleeting lenses.
“Filters? That’s not how you build a billion-dollar business,” said one digital media buying executive. “But what they’re doing is different, and I applaud that. It is interesting.”
It clearly interested Apple, which is not known for leading the way with experimental social media marketing. Its first ever social media campaign was on Tumblr, last year.
Now, Beats, the headphones brand it acquired from Dr. Dre, has social media savvy, which appears to be rubbing off on Apple.
Apple Music has a Snapchat account as does Beats By Dre.
With the lens campaign, Beats will use popular Snapchatters to help promote the campaign, showing that the platform is starting to embrace its high-profile members. Influencers are increasingly important to Snapchat marketing campaigns just like they are on Tumblr or YouTube.
“This campaign is very on-brand for Beats, who is powering the experience, but inviting talent, the talent’s fans, and their own fans to bring the Lens to life creatively,” Snapchat said.