10th December 2021

POV: Snap’s Lens Fest 2021


This week Snap Inc. held its annual ‘Lens Fest’ AR showcase event, during which it debuted some creation tools to produce more sophisticated augmented reality experiences.

Details and Implications:

During Lens Fest 2021 Snap Inc. detailed that there are now over 250,000 Lens Creators from over 200 countries that have produced more than 2.5 million lenses, which have collectively been viewed 3.5 trillion times by Snapchatters.

The company introduced new capabilities for its Lens Studio and new options for Lens developers, including advanced opportunities for brand connection via AR Display and new features for its next-generation AR Spectacles.

New additions to Lens Studio include Real-World Physics which enables AR elements to appear and react more realistically to forces like gravity and collisions; World Mesh AR mapping which lets creators use depth information and world geometry to create new AR experiences that are more realistic and a new Sounds library enabling creators to add clips of millions of songs from Snapchat’s licensed music library to their lenses. Snap is also looking to bring real-time data into Lenses with an API library to incorporate elements like weather information from AcccuWeather or cryptocurrency prices from FTX.

There are also advancements to the Landmarker Lens tools which enable creators to build on top of real-world objects. Creators will soon be able to make ‘Custom Landmarkers’ to transform local landmarks into AR attractions – by using a Lidar scanner to map any real-world place or object and create a 3D model to bring to Lens Studio.

A new Lens Call-To-Action option offers monetization opportunities for creators and brands enabling then to embed links within a Lens making it easier to drive users to different web destinations such as shops. There are also new analytics options on offer for Lens creators.

According to Snap’s data, there are now 100 million consumers shopping with AR. Snap also outlined that with AR usage now an engrained habitual behaviour for younger audiences and its new advances in AR and its recent acquisition of 3D modeling company Vertebrae (which enables brands to create realistic 3D versions of their products for use in Snapchat and their own websites), there are more opportunities for brands to showcase their offerings and build product and purchase experiences into AR tools.

Lastly, Snap’s next-generation Spectacles, which are still in development, had some updates. Connected Lenses for Spectacles will let multiple people interact with the same content and Location Triggers will enable the lenses to adapt within a specified GPS radius to customise experiences based on a location.


Snap is well invested in an AR future, with hopes of turning its Spectacles into the iPhone of the future, but where once it stood alone, there is now competition for ‘share of nose’. Apple is working on its own headset which will combine AR and VR and Meta is working on AR glasses too. Only time will tell who will win the mixed-reality future.

Further Reading:

Social Media Today | TechCrunch | Adweek | Snap

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