In an effort to reengage with its fanbase after its recent badly received redesign, Snapchat is planning to allow users to create augmented reality “Lenses” and share them with the rest of the community.
The debut of creator-made Lenses in the app’s carousel will debut at the end of this month. The Lenses can be made using Snapchat’s Lens Studio application, and Snap will then select the best ones and make them available to the wider 187 million daily user community.
Users will be able to see who created each Lens. However, unlike, for example, the App Store, there won’t be any kind of revenue split between Snap and the creators who make the Lenses. That’s because they are available for free, although Snap will undoubtedly benefit from any which go viral — as happened last year when the Dancing Hot Dog AR Lens was viewed more than 2 billion times on Snapchat.
Snapchat has previously said that 1 in 3 of its daily active users checks out its Lenses each day. Late last year, it opened up Lenses to advertisers looking for a, “huge opportunity to drive engagement and awareness.” As a result, the user generated Lenses can’t be branded, because this would destroy a revenue-generating channel for Snap.
Snapchat’s controversial redesign
Snapchat’s attempts to find new sources of monetization come at a challenging time for the company. Although Snap is very popular among its predominantly young user base, it has also stalled in its growth. Late last year, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel announced that changes would be made to the app after Snapchat fell short of expected growth projections for the quarter.
A redesign of the app followed, although it has been immensely polarizing. A Change.org petition regarding the update has attracted more than 1.2 million signatures from disgruntled users. Most notably, Snapchat’s value then fell by $1.3 billion after reality TV star Kylie Jenner Tweeted about her disapproval of the app, saying “Sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore?”
The idea of using user-generated content to boost Snap is a great idea. We can’t help but feel that it would be nice for creators to be remunerated for their work, though.