Snapchat AR: Lens Performance in 2020

April 8, 2020 • Written by Camera IQ

Snapchat is where it all started… the original camera first social platform and a pioneer of branded AR experiences. I mean, they even coined the terms ‘filter’ and lens’. 

While everyone hunkers down at home, Snapchat is seeing a surge in Lens usage. Time spent playing with lenses is up by 25% in late March compared to late February. Given this development, we felt there was no better time to give you a quick rundown of Snapchat AR in 2020.

Camera IQ helps brands launch hundreds of Snapchat campaigns every month, and given that volume of effects we get an insider’s view on how AR performs on Snap compared to other platforms, what works best creatively and how to promote effects for maximum reach.

Snapchat’s Audience is Vital

More than half of 18-25 year olds in the US are active Snapchat users. It’s an essential AR platform particularly if you’re looking to target Gen Z.

While Gen Z is blazing trends, Millennials and other generations are quick to follow suit: 25% of 30-49 year olds are actively using the platform on a daily basis and that’s no small number.

More importantly still, of Snaps total audience, 56% regularly use AR effects to create content. With the ability to create a single effect and publish to all platforms on Camera IQ, it’s a no brainer recommendation we always give to our partners: publish on Snapchat

What Differentiates AR Lenses on Snapchat

Speed to Publish:

Snapchat has an automated review process that will feedback or approve effects in under 12 hours. Couple this with Camera IQ’s short production times it allows brands to create highly reactive and contextually relevant AR experiences, whether that’s a cultural moment, viral challenge or meme.

Ease of Branding:

Providing you follow Snap’s community guidelines, the platform is very flexible with how and where you can place branding. This creative freedom allows you to showcase products and allow fans to interact with a beloved IP or brand in more ways.

Powerful Discovery:

Snapchat does a great job featuring and showcasing lens effects and allows users to search by lens and creator. Camera IQ’s team is in close communication with the Snap team, helping partners get featured on Snapchat’s main page which often leads to 1M+ organic impressions.

Peer 2 Peer Messaging:

Snapchat prides itself with being focused on “real friends,” with peer-to-peer messaging a cornerstone of the social network. Snapchatters mainly share content and lenses directly to their followers or immediate friend groups.This level of P2P content recommendation explains why Snapchat lenses, on average, garner very strong share rates.

Snap Camera:

Unlike any other social platform, Snapchat has an App called Snap Camera. Snap Camera allows you to use lenses in almost any web video environment (Twitch, Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc.). Given the current popularity of video conferencing platforms, Camera IQ partners are seeing a whole new channel and potential marketing opportunity open up. Learn how to connect Snap Camera here.

Lens Performance On Snapchat

There are many variables that factor into a Snapchat AR campaign’s performance, including the size of the partner’s following and how often they promote their AR effect. However, Camera IQ uses play rates and share rates (metrics not tied to a brand’s follower count) to compare performance across brands, industries, and platforms. When we compare the performance of a typical Snapchat AR campaign with Instagram and Facebook, the results standout:

>> Snapchat AR Share Rate is 2x compared with Instagram

>> Snapchat AR Share Rate is 3x compared with Facebook

>> Snapchat Play Rate is 4x compared with Instagram

Looking across campaigns Snapchat generates an average of 60% more impressions compared with Instagram.

The organic potential on Snapchat is the greater of the platforms. The integrated nature of AR on Snapchat naturally lends itself to virality. There are more touchpoints and avenues for user discovery. Here are the most important:


Users can see all of a brand or artist’s lenses by looking at their profile The lenses show up in a special profile tab, similar to Instagram.

Search In Feed:

All Snapchat Lenses are searchable by the Lens name and creator account. Type the name of an effect or brand in the search bar.

Search In Camera

Lenses are also searchable when creating content in the Snap Camera. Click on Browse to see a few featured lenses in-camera, or Explore to see the top Community Lenses and search for specific Lenses.

Promoting A Lens

New to Snapchat? Don’t sweat it, here are some high level promotional tips to get you going. We regularly have clients launch successful Lens campaigns even without an existing active presence or story on the platform. As a Camera IQ partner we’ll onboard your team and go deep, making them masters of the platform. Here are the basics for now…

  • Make it searchable – Snapchat users search for effects. Think about your effect name and how you can aid SEO
  • Get creative with sharing the Effect link – Every effect has a link. You can use this cross promote, If you’re thinking of building a snap audience where can you drop in the effect link to drive people to the platform. Reddit, Discord, Your website, Twitter etc. etc.
  • Get creative with sharing the Effect link – Every effect has a link. You can use this to cross promote. If you’re thinking of building a Snap audience where can you drop in the effect link to drive people to the platform: Reddit, Discord, Your website, Twitter etc.

Try out these recent partner lenses:

MGA: Lights

Smashbox: Halo

Bravo: Top Chef

If you are interested in learning more about Snapchat AR, or would like to see a demo of the Camera IQ platform please reach out here:

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