Snapchat launches Augmented Reality ads for more immersive mobile advertising experiences

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Snapchat has some new advertising formats up its sleeve. In addition to Promoted Stories, revealed earlier this week, the company also recently launched Augmented Reality Trial ads which let its users play with an AR version of a product or app.

Snap Inc is well known for creating quirky ad formats including its mask or 3D mascots, Snap ads for Discover and Stories. The addition of AR seems to be an attempt to make ads more memorable by promoting active participation from app users.

Peter Sellis, Director of Revenue at Snap Inc explained that the company’s ad partners had been looking for ways to share deeper stories on mobile.

The AR Trial ads are based on a more functional version of Snapchat’s World Lens ads. Previously, World Lens ads allowed users to engage with videos by adding items or immersing in scenes. With AR Trial ads, advertisers can create an augmented view of the space around a user. The ads are of course swipable to find out more about the brand.

Jörg Poggenpohl, Head of Digital Marketing at BMW Group, which is trialling the new format, told TechCrunch:

“We wanted to insert ourselves in an organic way into the Snapchat environment and its users’ world. That is the most meaningful way to address our fans in a style that fits the channel.”

AR is a powerful way to engage mobile device owners with content and advertisers are well aware. According to research by Vibrant Media, almost half of advertisers are finding AR and VR ads very compelling.

However, one of the issues with AR ads seems to be that many users are still not aware of its capabilities. A poll by YuMe found that just 16% of Internet users had previously used VR and only 9% of respondents had tried AR.

If Snapchat can pull off AR mobile ads, the company could find a niche that both entices mobile users by being more immersive and at the same time boosts its ad revenue, which Snap Inc is in dire need of increasing.