What is Snapchat AR and How Can You Best Utilize It?

Snapchat’s augmented reality (AR) filters offer humorous, engaging filter options to use within the camera feature to enhance, personalize, and promote content.

As one of the earliest and most advanced platforms with AR features, Snapchat leverages over 250,000 lens creators and 2.5 million lenses to help users and brands bring ideas to live in a rich, multifaceted world.[1]

What are AR Filters?

AR is a digital interactive interface that combines digital images and objects within real-world context. An example of a Snapchat AR filter is a superimposed animal face or pair of glasses on a real person’s photo.

There are numerous uses for AR filters, including:

  • Face Filters: These allow the user to express themselves with computer-generate effects over their photos. These filters use face-tracking technology to help the camera monitor facial features in real-time and 3D space, giving users an enjoyable result with minimal effort. Face filters are among Snapchat’s most popular options.
  • Voice Filters: These filters can be used to modify, distort, or otherwise change the user’s voice or as a trigger to bring on a new interaction or effect. These filters have a rudimentary AI component to understand some terminology. As the technology grows, the filters are becoming more sophisticated and include a wider variety of options.
  • Animal Face Filters: Like Face Filters, Animal Face Filters add AR camera effects to an animal’s face, such as a dog or cat. This feature includes a wide variety of filter options to enhance photos.
  • Hand and Body Filters: These filters expand on the capabilities of Face Filters by tracking the hands and body and adding stunning visual effects, such as rainbows, lightning bolts, or magic effects that appear to be coming from the user.
  • AR Object: This is a broad category that may include an object or character, real or animated, that appears to exist in the real world. This filter uses Simultaneous Mapping and Localization (SLAM) to fix the object to the floor or other surface and align it within the map, creating a realistic appearance.
  • AR Portals: These are 360-degree spaces that may be viewed through the camera lens on the user’s phone. With this filter enabled, users can interact with the portal using a digital door. After stepping through the doorway, users can envision an immersive 360-degree space and rich environment.
  • AR Games: These filters are used for simpler and more casual experiences. Users can interact with the game using gesture control and AR objects.
  • AR Shopping: For marketing, AR shopping create opportunities for users to virtually “try on” products to get a feel for them, even if they’re shopping online. These filters have the power to create an in-store shopping experience from the comfort of a user’s home. Some examples of this may include trying on sunglasses, then making a purchase through the platform.
  • Utility Lenses: These AR experiences are intended for practical use, such as translating languages, taking measurements, and scanning real-world objects. For a brand, the user’s ability to translate a product’s specifications in their own environment can influence a purchasing decision.

Snapchat AR for Brands and Content Creators

AR filters and features are fun for users, but they represent incredible opportunities for brands and influencers. Sponsored filters and lenses can be made available to targeted users in certain times and places, allowing users to augment their images with brand logos and products, such as makeup.[2]

These filters profoundly change the way users engage with images and content on the app. This type of content is popular, boosting brand and product awareness as content is shared to new audiences. Users participate in the advertising, since they’re a necessary component of the experience, making them and the audience more open to the promotion.

Snapchat AR Influencers

As the popularity of AR grows, more influencers and content creators are publishing AR filters and using these tools to create AR experiences and build strong social audience. These influencers may simply use a filter in a cute, funny, or impressive way, or may create their own AR filter that users can get for their own Snapchat account.

The camera and AR features are at the heart of the Gen Z experience on Snapchat. The influencers using AR to its fullest are at the cutting-edge of innovation, offering virtually endless opportunities for brands and content creators to find new ways to craft and share compelling content that highlights a brand or product. The key, as always, is finding the right influencer, audience, and content, but Snapchat’s AR provides fascinating insight into the future of creative expression and marketing.


[1] https://ar.snap.com/

[2] https://espace.library.uq.edu.au/data/UQ_a0e1316/UQa0e1316_OA.pdf?Expires=1643684177&Key-Pair-Id=APKAJKNBJ4MJBJNC6NLQ&Signature=LgYnQeaTGikfm~MD26kAQIfWehl64fknaRJGDo~lk7~3HgPpQtIuIxa4dsxjDWlqWd50jltRA7gJb-bVyeXzsoNb3~c4s8vUagJGNHHd68EAooRf1P1ddpzTRoKT~nNaqfkStWefDNTOpZe66ByLmu96Nter7lw9ExjT81jqyj~AJ5mkPUybCzhvBCa-Zsn93YfltHj5b~a~eAF74o7ehMnMB-UG-0-8AmRxAwwJ2n6AwitBzf4wSXIvTVHikIy1xYScttl-1mHMCYmXXdLFLPZR6-HdENH8ZrcXymL5~md0NzLbMGnc47oiN-XkfSY9CvLNrBUeTDJ5znREkyzYVw__