Snapchat opened its new lens store today, and brands will be able to buy ad space there, too.
The lenses are animated filters that Snapchat launched in September, which brought the Internet the joy of taking selfies and making it look like they’re barfing rainbows. In fact, the rainbow-puke animated filters, which became an Internet meme and then disappeared, are back.
Snapchat generates ad revenue from the lenses by letting brands sponsor them. “The Peanuts Movie,” with Charlie Brown and Snoopy, were the first to be marketed in a Sponsored Lens earlier this month.
The store features free lenses and 99 cent lenses, and it will also have Sponsored Lenses, according to the company. When available, the sponsored ones will appear first in the list of choices.
Not everyone was happy with having to now pay for certain favorite lenses, although not all of them will cost money. There were some reactions online questioning the need to pay $1 for rainbow barf.
Snapchat is obviously hearing its critics, because it was retweeting them all day on Twitter. “No one is going to buy those filters losers,” was just one tweet captured by Snapchat and resent to its own followers.
It’s a pretty straightforward marketing strategy that also won the company praise.
— Casey Neistat (@CaseyNeistat) November 13, 2015
Of course, that just shows the quandary startups from Facebook to Snapchat have faced trying to turn free core services into moneymaking businesses. They fear introducing ads that would disrupt the user experience and it is tough to get people to spend money on what they’e offering.
Snapchat is exploring a host of new revenue opportunities as it looks to live up to its high startup valuation. Sources have said the company is making money at a rate of $100 million a year.
Advertisers buy video ads on Snapchat’s Discover channels, which are run by Snapchat media partners including Cosmopolitan, ESPN, BuzzFeed and IGN.
This week, The Wall Street Journal was reported to be a new Discover partner, and Hearst announced a new lifestyle Snapchat channel called Sweet.
The media partners share ad revenue with Snapchat. Also this week, the first interactive ad appeared on Discover, where users could click to view a longer video from the brand — in this case it was “Call of Duty: Black Ops 3.”
And, Snapchat recently launched its first sponsored Discover channel, for the movie “Spectre,” where all the content in the section was devoted to James Bond.
Lenses are seen as a way for Snapchat’s 100 million daily users to help support the platform by paying for virtual goods.
Here are some of the reactions from Twitter:
— selina (@kittenpizzas) November 13, 2015
— Eric Biancalana (@EricBiancalana) November 13, 2015
The first thing I did after updating snapchat is spend $.99 to barf rainbows totally worth it
— Shelby Waddell (@ShelbyWaddell) November 13, 2015
IM NOT PAYING A DOLLAR TO BARF RAINBOWS ON SNAPCHAT ITS NOT WORTH IT
— Clark (@ClarkMarner) November 13, 2015
Been waiting for @Snapchat to start charging to use the new lens option and that day has come
— Jennifer (@tanque_bean) November 13, 2015
Did I actually just buy the rainbow filter on @Snapchat what am I even doing with my life? Come on snapchat…this ain't right
— Priah Matharu (@Frizzx) November 13, 2015
I love how ppl think they deserve @Snapchat features for free, like were you the one who made it? No you weren't.
— Max De Leau – ماكس (@5909leau) November 13, 2015