Aishwarya Ramesh
Social Media

Brands experiment with Snapchat Scan and augmented reality

Months after the launch of Snapchat Scan, here is how brands have used Snapchat’s augmented reality filters to tell a brand story.

Lens filters are a form of augmented reality or AR that helps people add puppy dog ears and a nose to their selfies. Snapchat has been playing with augmented reality since its inception in 2011. But what's in it for brands? How can a brand use Snapchat to reach more users? To understand this better, we revisited the basics of the app.

In 2014, Snapchat acquired, an app that helps scan QR codes, for $50 million — to let users scan each other’s QR codes and to unlock special lenses. Scanning another Snap user's QR code allows a user to add them as a friend on the app and hence, interact with them. Apart from flower crowns and puppy ears, Snapchat's special lenses use augmented reality to create an interactive environment using the app's camera interface.

In the older versions of Snapchat’s camera, one could identify music that was playing, thanks to a collaboration with Shazam. A user could also identify objects in their surrounding that could potentially be purchased on Amazon. Now, Snapchat has collaborated all those features under a unified front called Snapchat Scan — which can be used in the app’s camera interface.

Snapchat Scan now additionally allows users to solve math problems by pointing at them due to a partnership with Photomath and it also allows users to select GIFs from Giphy based on the objects in the picture. Snapchat Scan also takes into account the kind of objects a person scans, and goes a step further and offers them AR lenses that could suit their preferences.

A brand can make its presence felt on Snapchat via three main avenues — story ads, sponsored lenses and through interactive lenses. Snapchat’s story ads are similar to Instagram’s story ads. While viewing a user’s story, an ad for a product briefly shows up in between, in the same format as a user’s story. A brand can also use sponsored lenses that create unique effects using augmented reality and subtly flash the brand name at the bottom of the screen, hence increasing brand visibility.

A brand can also create Snap codes that lead a user to a campaign — allowing them to interact with the brand, without leaving the Snapchat app. The Snap code can lead to a new sponsored filter, or to an interface where they can play around and interact with the brand in real-time. Beyond Snapchat Scan, the app has also introduced a feature called Landmarkers and a host of other AR features.

In India, Snapchat collaborated with Spotify to bring the Gateway of India to life with its augmented reality (AR) Landmarker Lens. The activation was live from 14-23 October and utilised Snapchat’s Landmarker technology that enables AR experiences to transform landmarks in real-time. This is the first sponsored Landmarker in Asia.

Neha Ahuja, head of marketing – India, Spotify says, “Spotify is always looking to bring fun experiences enhanced by music, to consumers. Snapchat’s Landmarker Lens is relevant in this context as the consumers they talk to, are similar to ours in terms of demographics. The AR lens will enable our users to share a few of our Diwali playlists with friends and family. We are always looking to do new things that keep us connected to Gen Z and the millennials, and this activation at the Gateway of India is especially cool because this is a first for any brand in the country.”

This collaboration was enabled by UM India, one of India’s leading media agencies with a sharp focus on cutting-edge innovation, along with Snapchat’s creative partner, who helped with creative execution and production locally. To enable the feature, when Snapchatters are close to Gateway of India, they will be prompted to find the icon of this landmark. Spotify’s sponsored lens will be the first placement in Snapchat’s lens carousel, and as Snapchatters point their phone’s camera at the Gateway of India, they will be able to see the monument come to life. It will emanate the bright festive spirit through the ‘Diwali Drive’, ‘Diwali Shuffle’ and ‘Diwali Bash’ playlists, complemented by an upbeat soundtrack that they can then share.

To celebrate with the Indian community all over the world, OnePlus launched a Diwali campaign in collaboration with Snapchat. As a part of the integration, the brands have created special lenses that will bring to life renowned, global landmarks including: Tower Bridge in London, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Taj Mahal in Agra and the Gateway of India in Mumbai, to commemorate the festival of lights.