Snapchat's New Audio-Triggered Lenses

Snapchat's in a tough spot these days.

After mass disapproval of the app’s redesign, as well as Q1 results that failed to meet market expectations and raised questions about the company’s future, the platform has some self-improvement to strive for.

And they’ll do it by falling back on what they’ve always been best at-- creating new, innovative tools. Snapchat already has a number of intriguing Lenses available, including the majestic sky whale lens that uses sky segmentation technology. Now, they’re stepping their game up again with a new form of Lens that responds not only to visual cues, but to audio ones as well.


The first iteration of the new audio-triggered Snap Lens is pretty basic

it’s a cute animal mask overlay for your face, with ears that pulse and glow and eyes that move based on the sounds it hears. However, it does pave the way for more innovative uses. Snapchat noted that they’re planning on rolling out more Lenses of this type in the near future. 

Although Snapchat has plenty of other issues to work on, the addition of this feature does help set them apart from Facebook’s copycat Stories products. Snapchat’s Lenses have been a key element of the app’s growth, with last year’s IPO documentation data showing that one in three of the app’s daily active users played with Lenses every day. That’s about 64 million users-- quite a lot of engagement. And Snap has taken advantage of the attention-- users now have the option to buy custom Lenses for events, and create even more advanced Lenses in Lens Studio.

The audio component will doubtless attract attention. But it’s no guarantee that users will stop switching across to Instagram Stories. It’s also possible that Facebook-- which is working on its own Lens-like feature, the Camera Effects Program-- will follow suit with auditory response tech. 

Facebook has been keeping the pressure on Snap lately

but Snap has been able to consistently innovate and move in response. Will they be able to keep riding that wave? 

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TrendsGregor Cooney