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Snap Partner Summit: creators charmed, shopping tools shown off


By Chris Sutcliffe, Senior reporter

April 19, 2023 | 6 min read

The instant messaging app explains how it will entice creators with new revenue share models and attract brands with its next-gen shoppable products.

Screenshots of Snapchat's ARES augmented reality shopping tool in practice

Screenshots of Snapchat's ARES augmented reality shopping tool in practice / Snap Inc

At the Snap Partner Summit 2023, the big news being shared by the messaging app is that its subscription service, Snapchat+, now has over 3 million subscribers. The plan, which costs $3.99, is also set to be bundled in with Verizon’s +Play platform as part of its plan to expand the subscriber base. It is a relatively small proportion of the platform’s 750 million monthly active users but is a source of recurring revenue that allows it to invest in brand partnerships.

The other big stories from the conference are focused on creators and brand partners.

Creator bait

Snap’s creator program is enticing new influencers and artists on to the platform. Creators who have at least 50,000 followers, 25m monthly Snap views and who post at least 10 Stories a month may be eligible to join the revenue share program.

The program, which places ads within creators’ Stories, is being marketed more widely with users aged 18 and over now able to post a Public Story. Snap announced that users’ time with creator-generated Stories format has more than doubled year-on-year in the US. But as for the influencer industry, Instagram and then TikTok are the preferred apps.

Creator content is also being expanded across the Snapchat ecosystem, with Snap Map now integrating those creator-led formats. Its Spotlight short-form video tab now has over 350 million monthly active users, with time spent with the format growing over 170% year-on-year.

From Snap’s point of view, this creates more inventory for its advertising partners while also pushing back against its competitors TikTok and Instagram.

E-commerce ambitions

For brands, Snap is doubling down on its philosophy that the camera is the new keyboard. It has previously been argued that Generation Z typically interacts with content – promotional and otherwise – directly through the camera lens. It is now launching partnerships with brands such as Coca-Cola that are designed to integrate commercial content into that lens-led interaction. It noted that Samsung, the NFL and Microsoft are integrating Snap’s AR tech into their products and services.

Its AR Enterprise Services (ARES) offering Shopping Suite brings together its “AR technology and AI-generated fit and sizing recommendations into a cohesive service,” it says, with features like its 3D Viewer, AR Try-On, plus enterprise management and hands-on integration services.

It has also announced that ARES now offers AR Mirrors, which brings the already-deployed AR technology for shopping and entertainment to physical screens, allowing consumers to see themselves try-on and interact with a product in real-time.

Jill Popelka, head of ARES, stated: “Early customers who have seen success with Shopping Suite include eyewear retailer Goodr, which found that its customers were 81% more likely to add products to their cart after using AR Try-On. It also saw a 67% uplift in conversion for mobile device users, leading to a 59% increase in revenue per shopper.”

As an example of that scheme’s expansion, the company revealed the prototype of an AR-enabled Coca-Cola vending machine that offers “a portal to incredible AR experiences, rewards and more”.

It is also expanding its e-commerce capabilities with its Bitmoji – effectively a user’s avatar that can be dressed in paid-for virtual clothing and accessories. Snapchat’s vice-president of product, Jack Brody, said: “74% of Snapchatters dress their Bitmoji in the same brands they wear in real life... Today, I’m sporting these iconic Nike Blazers… and, of course, my Bitmoji is too.

“Converse has become a fan-favorite, with Snapchatters dressing their Bitmoji from the Converse collection over 3.5bn times since it launched just last year.”

The platform also shared more information about its own experiments with the marketing tech de jour, generative AI. Its My AI tool, which launched in February, sends nearly 2m messages a day and is set to roll out worldwide. An example given was sending a Snap of tomatoes on the vine to the My AI, which might then return an AI-generated image of a tomato-based meal as a recommendation.

As competition for creator content and associated brand spend hots up among social platforms, Snap is hoping that its camera-led approach is enough of a differentiator for users and for advertisers.

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