Everyday Instagrammers upload an average of 95 million photos. The ubiquity of the smartphone and its integrated camera has brought about a new era in consumer behavior. Consumers are increasingly exploring the physical world through their camera digital lens, spending a large portion of their time with their smartphone and camera and sharing pictures and videos with their friends.
We believe the next battlefield for marketers will take place within your phone’s camera. As Snapchat’s head of AR monetization puts it “The camera is the starting point for the new OS. It can do so much more than just take a picture.”
There is an entire generation of consumers (Millennials) who have grown up using the cameras on their smartphones to communicate with one another via images and video more than text and voice. This behavior opens up an entirely new format for engaging with potential customers.
Major tech titans now boast robust camera platforms with tens of millions of users and $1.2 billion last year, to more than a billion users and $83 billion by 2021 (Apple ARKit, Google ARCore, Facebook Spark, Amazon, Snapchat, and many others).
Apple initially launched ARKit with iOS 11 in 2017. It it does a lot of the heavy lifting for app developers in terms of working with the iOS device’s camera, scanning images and objects in the environment, and positioning 3D models in real space and making them fit in.
Google launched its competitor to Apple’s augmented reality framework ARKit called ARCore for Android devices in August 2017. ARCore is designed to target as many phones and tablets as possible. It was initially use-able with the Google Pixel and Samsung S8, and is aiming to hit over 100 million devices by the end of its preview period. Google is also exploring working prototype web browsers that can be enhanced with AR, either using ARCore or Apple’s ARKit.
Facebook has renamed its camera platform SparkAR and continues to grow as more augmented reality ads appear in its main news feed. By tapping a button, the ads open up a camera view that lets users do things such as see how a pair of sunglasses would look on their faces, or how furniture would look inside of one’s living room, before deciding whether or not to place an order.
Snapchat launched Lens Studio that can be used to create and share augmented reality experiences with friends, fans, or even customers. Lenses can be published from a brand’s Snapchat account itself, or agencies can create a new account to publish their lenses for clients. Fans and customers are able to access to the lenses by scanning a unique code, or clicking a unique URL, both generated from the lens studio after the lens is published. Codes can be shared a variety of way – kiosks, stickers, printed on product packaging, distributed.