- Snapchat expanded its shoppable AR feature to let more creators make direct sales in the app. Earlier this summer, top creators like Kylie Jenner could access native commerce features by posting "shop now" buttons in their Stories, which string together several images and videos. Now, these creators can add similar buttons to custom (AR) lenses, per Digiday.
- Musical artist Nicki Minaj last week became the first creator to post an AR lens with a shop button to promote her new album "Queen." Snapchatters that use the lens and virtually try on a jeweled face mask can then tap an "add to bag" button to buy the album and a "Queen" necklace for $25. Snapchat hasn't announced when Shoppable AR Lenses will be more widely available to creators.
- Snapchat introduced shoppable AR in April with Adidas, Coty, gaming company King and STX Entertainment as launch partners. More than 70 million people use AR lenses on Snapchat every day with the average time spent at three minutes, according to the company.
Snapchat has made a greater to effort to appeal to big-time creators and social influencers in the past year as its user growth stalls amid greater competition from Instagram and an app redesign that alienated many key users. Snapchat in June began letting top creators generate revenue from native commerce. Those shoppable AR lenses combine the engagement of AR with social commerce to make the platform more appealing to both creators and loyal fans.
Snapchat has faced criticism for ignoring the creator community that's historically focused audience-building efforts on Instagram or YouTube, where much of the influencer industry takes place. To address those concerns, Snap introduced a developer platform called Snap Kit that lets software designers create mobile apps with a smoother connection through Snapchat. Snap Kit lets app developers add features like Bitmoji avatars to keyboards, display public Our Stories and Snap Map content and create branded stickers to share among users, according to a company statement.
YouTube also has faced criticism for ignoring the needs of influencers and making changes to its monetization algorithms that trigger sudden drops in revenue. In an effort to appeal to creators, the company reportedly started offering five- and six-figure payouts to popular vloggers for posting their best content on YouTube before other platforms. YouTube said the payouts aren't new and that it has rewarded select talent in this way. Last month, the video platform began testing an Explore tab on its iOS app to give mobile viewers more personalized recommendations on what to watch. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki last month said the company is committed to being more open about its experiments and tests that affect viewership. Among her five priorities for the second half of the year is helping creators build a business from their work, per a blog post.
Snapchat is not alone in leveraging AR and mobile tech to engage users and lure creators to its platform. Instagram, the top channel for influencer marketing, has increasingly added features to make the photo-sharing app more popular, especially as tech-savvy Gen Z gains greater spending power. Kylie Jenner this month launched a custom face filter on Instagram to let followers virtually try on lipstick shades and make purchases.