Snapchat announced Friday a partnership with the NFL on a sponsored lens, which allows users to superimpose an NFL helmet on photos of videos of themselves, to send to their friends.
It's the first lens that pops up when you open the augmented reality features on Snapchat's camera. For the 150 million people who use Snapchat every day, who watch more than 10 billion videos per day (3 ½ times the number of views last year), these lenses give users something fun to share as a video. But as a sponsored product, lenses can also be the holy grail for marketing.
If the NFL lens hooks users, it will have a rare and remarkable impact for the league and Snapchat: Convincing users to merge themselves with a brand, play around with a logo and then send a video of themselves, swathed in a brand image, to their friends. In the era of skippable TV commercials and internet ad blockers, sponsored lenses not only turn consumers into brand evangelists, but they do so in the most personal and powerful of ways.
Today's NFL sponsored lens is one of more than 100 paid lenses that Snapchat has run since last Halloween when it launched the ad product. Sources tell us that brands pay on average $350,000 to $650,000 for one lens just to reach Snapchat's U.S. users, with the option of paying more to distribute in additional markets. And Snapchat says these lenses pay off for marketers: users play with sponsored lenses for an average of 20 seconds, before they send out what's effectively a commercial, to their friends.
Snapchat's been working with a wide range of brands, from the SweeTarts lens Nestle ran Thursday, to high-end Tiffany and Burberry lenses. And the social network has been working on a number of measurement metrics to show the lenses impact.
The most popular lens: one for Taco Bell on Cinco de Mayo, which was viewed more than 224 million times that day. Snapchatters played with the lens for an average of 24 seconds and 49 percent chose to share the lens with friends.
The lens with the most engagement was Gatorade's sponsored lens which showed Snapchatters dunked to celebrate the Super Bowl. Users played with it for an average of 30 seconds, and Snapchat says it drove an 8 percent increase in purchase intent of the beverage.