Snapchat finds new way for monetizing its user base

Presumably, some of you happen to be frequent Snapchat users. In case you are part of this group, you probably already encountered the new feature of Snapchat: ‘sponsored lenses’. Snapchat extended its service with this new feature by acquiring Looksery, a facial recognition start-up, for around $150 million.

The new sponsored lenses feature allows users to send animated selfies (either pictures or short videos) to other users by making use of a special filter (so called ‘lenses’). Snapchat will constantly swap between new lenses and therefore gives users an incentive to regularly check back on the newest ones.


However, this feature is not only about just providing the relatively young user base of Snapchat with a new way of making fun selfies. On the contrary, Snapchat is monetizing its 100 million daily user base in an ingenious way. With sponsored lenses, Snapchat makes use of advertising distributed by users.

As said, Snapchat’s user base is formed by mostly young people who are used to the digital world. Snapchat identified them as users that are tightened to a relatively small budget. Therefore, Snapchat users in general are not very eager on paying for any additional services like special selfie filters. These users are neither willing to use a free-of-charge service and subsequently be buried under advertisements. However, with the sponsored lenses feature, Snapchat actually encourages users to spread advertisements among other users in a fun and interactive way.

Just imagine how much Sony Pictures Entertainment, the production company of the next James Bond movie Spectre, would like to pay for a tailor-made sponsored lens, for instance during the premiere day of the movie. According to the Financial Times, Snapchat can charge up to $450.000 for a sponsored lens on an ‘off peak day’. On ‘peak days’, for example on Halloween and Thanksgiving, charges can accumulate up to $750.000.

I hope I did not spoil all the fun you had while making use of this new feature. Nevertheless, keep in mind that sooner or later, new lenses will be ‘sponsored’.



One response to “Snapchat finds new way for monetizing its user base”

  1. jurgenlangbroek says :

    I think this is the best way of monetising mobile applications. In contrary to the freemium ( strategy most of the (gaming) developers are choosing at the moment. Snapchats provides a platform for the companies to reach millions of users in a fun and engaging setting. As a former marketing student I cannot encourage this enough. Users of the internet ( and mobile phones ( are increasingly fighting current ways of advertising, causing the firms to innovate. Lets hope other firms will take Snapchat as an example, or find better ways to monetise internet usage without intrusive advertising.

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