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Snapchat Shares the Top AR Tools and Campaigns of 2021



Snapchat has shared a new overview of the top AR campaigns and tools in its ‘Lens of the Year’ report, which points to the increasing value of AR, for varying purpose.

As per Snap:

“With over 6 billion plays per day on average, Lenses offer a unique window into the year’s cultural moments, achievements in AR innovation, and trends that made a lasting impact. Join us as we celebrate our community and the 2021 Lenses that revolutionized the way Snapchatters create, explore, learn, and play.

The overview provides some interesting perspective on broader web trends, while also highlighting how they can be incorporated into AR applications. And with AR set to become an even bigger part of digital advertising moving forward, it’s worth taking note of the top trends, with a view to how you might be able to use such tools in your own promotional efforts.

First off, on the top AR trends of the year, Snapchat reports that ‘Little Bernie’, ‘Squid Game’ and ‘3D Cartoon’ were the most popular Lenses in the app.

Snapchat Lens examples

No doubt you’ve seen all of these, in varying form, throughout the year, with each of them viewed billions of times.

Of course, two of these are tied into broader web trends, not Snapchat or AR-specific ones, making them harder to adopt as brand promotional tools. But they do provide some pointers as to what Snapchatters are looking to engage with, which could get you thinking about how to create viral moments with your own AR campaigns.

Other popular Lenses include the ‘Smile’ lens, which pastes a smile on your face – whether you’re actually happy or not, the ‘Photo Crop’ Lens to focus on specific elements in-frame, and ‘Fire Glasses’, which adds active flames to your virtual sun shades.

Snapchat AR examples

Snapchat also highlights the top music-inspired Lenses in the app, with more than 1.2 billion video Snaps created in 2021 that include audio accompaniment. Snap has been expanding its audio options throughout the year, as it looks to align with TikTok-lead usage, which also includes its recent addition of sound clips for Snaps from popular TV shows.

The most popular musicians in the app, via dedicated Lenses, were J Balvin, Olivia Rodrigo, the Notorious B.I.G. for a little retro flavor.


Snapchat also highlights key brand uses of AR, with product applications advancing to provide a valuable supplementary element, and better facilitate online shopping.

“AR is the future of shopping – it can help visualize not just how a pair of sunglasses looks, but how it looks on you. Going beyond today’s online 2D shopping experience, AR makes trying on clothes completely custom. From Prada to MAC Cosmetics, there are so many ways to express your style and get your hands on the most covetable items of the year.”

Indeed, Snap’s AR try-on tools are evolving, including virtual handbags from Prada, clothing try-on via Farfetch and sunglasses from Zenni. 

Snapchat AR examples

Snap’s clothing try-on tools, in particular, are set to evolve significantly in 2022, with the company acquiring digital sizing company FitAnalytics back in March. The addition of FitAnlytics tools will enable Snap to provide more accurate size and style matches, which will see more AR clothing applications over time, but Snap has identified these three brands, specifically, as AR innovators for the year.

It’s interesting to consider the evolution of AR, and where it fits in the broader digital engagement space, across various applications and processes. And with AR glasses set to start rolling out to consumers some time in the next 24 months, AR could become a much bigger consideration, for all brands – and as such, it is worth taking note of these trends, and considering how they apply to your future initiatives and promotions, and where opportunity may be.

Really, once functional AR glasses are made available to consumers, adoption will accelerate fast, and you’ll likely need to learn more either way – which is another reason why this trend overview is of value, in planning, insight and consideration.

The options are increasing, both for creation and usage, and Snap’s listing provides some key insight into these trends.

You can check out Snapchat’s full ‘Lens of the Year’ report here.



Snap Will Cease Production of its Pixy Drone Due to Worsening Economic Conditions



Snapchat Unveils Drone Camera, Advanced AR Tools and New Commerce Integrations at Partner Summit

As it continues to grapple with steadily worsening economic conditions, Snap Inc. will reportedly cease production of its Pixy selfie drone, which it launched just four months ago as a new way to capture content.

Snap’s $230 Pixy drone is designed to fly a few feet above you, and capture both photos and videos, with the content then automatically uploaded to your Snap Memories. The drone then folds up and can fit in your pocket, making it a handy complement to your phone as a capture device.

But evidently, demand hasn’t been huge for the tool.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal:

Snap Chief Executive Evan Spiegel recently told staff during a regular question-and-answer session of the decision around the Pixy drone. The effort to halt further development of the project is part of broader reprioritization of company resources, Mr. Spiegel told staff.”

Snap won’t stop selling Pixy at this stage, but it does seem like once the current supply is sold out, that could well be it.

It’s a blow to Snap’s broader hardware expansion, though it’s not the first time that the company has had to deal with lower than expected demand.


Back in 2016, Snap released the first version of its Spectacles camera-equipped glasses, which attracted a lot of hype early on, that didn’t necessarily translate into huge sales. A year after Spectacles’ launch, reports circulated that Snap had severely miscalculated demand for the glasses, and as a result, hundreds of thousands of unsold Spectacles were left sitting in a warehouse in China.

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel later admitted that the company made the wrong decision in ramping up production of Spectacles based on early demand.

That’s not the same case this time around, with Snap simply struggling with tougher market conditions, which have forced it to rationalize current expenditure to keep things on track.

Last month, Snap announced that it would “substantially reduce” hiring as part of broader cost-cutting efforts, while in May, it also issued a profit warning due to a worsening ‘macroeconomic environment’. Part of that can be attributed to the global downturn, which has impacted all digital platforms, while Apple’s ATT update has also caused major challenges for Snap’s ad business.

The end result is that Snap will now need to scale back its expansion plans, which could also impact the future of its AR Spectacles, which are still in development, and may now need to take a back seat as it works to maintain financial performance.

Which is why this announcement is more significant than the de-prioritization of the Pixy drone itself. Really, if Snap were to cease production of Pixy entirely, that wouldn’t be a major strategic shift, as it’s so early on in the product’s development that it couldn’t be a key element for the company just yet.

But from a broader vision perspective, the announcement signals the scale of the impacts that Snap’s dealing with, in order to ensure that it remains on track.

Could that see a bigger reduction in Snap’s research and development costs overall – and what will that mean for its longer-term bets?

Snapchat Q2 2022

Not re-upping the Pixy project is one thing, but the fact that Snap has been forced to abandon it so early on is a potentially bigger consideration in this shift.

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