Remember the Lens Store? Snapchat launched it in November 2015 to allow users to gain access to various Lenses, which added animations and special effects to selfies such as putting moustaches on users or making them puke rainbows.
Snapchat offered several Lenses daily, with each day bringing a new one to the list to replace the oldest one. Through the Lens Store, users could purchase their favorite Lenses for 99 cents each so that they will be available at all times, without the user having to wait for the Lens to reappear among the list of free Lenses accessible daily.
However, despite the fact that tens of thousands of lenses were purchased by users daily, Snapchat said that it is shutting downthe Lens Store on Jan. 8 after only two months in operation so that the company would be able to instead focus on its advertising business.
Users who would like to use certain Lenses over and over again will have until 12:01 a.m. PT of the Lens Store’s closing date to purchase them. Once the Lens Store closes, the purchased Lens will still appear as an option to users, in addition to free Lens that are available daily.
Snapchat is closing down the Lens Store, but it will continue selling Sponsored Lenses to companies. These Sponsored Lenses, which offered a branding option for corporate sponsors, are free lenses that users can access for a limited time only. Snapchat reportedly sells the sponsorships for a staggering amount of $450,000 to $750,000 per day.
While it was not clear why Snapchat will not be able to run both the in-app purchases presented by the Lens Store and its advertising campaigns, it could be because the company is only made up of around 500 employees. Snapchat could be looking to have its resources focus on advertising, which presents a bigger earning opportunity.
Snapchat first entered into advertising last year, and it was not as smooth as the company would have wanted. Snapchat lost or let go at least eight of its executives, and certain advertisers issued complaints that Snapchat does not have enough engagement metrics or data for the justification of big expenditures for advertising campaigns that would run through its platform.
Snapchat, however, is currently trying to address these issues. The company is said to be looking at in-house advertising technology solutions, and has been developing tools that advertisers can use. The company has also increased its measurement and targeting capabilities through partnerships with marketing research companies such as Millward Brown and Nielsen.
Big brands such as Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, GE and Verizon are among the advertisers that tapped Snapchat in 2015, and the company claims that 90 percent of its top advertisers are actually repeat customers. In addition to Sponsored Lenses, advertisements have been placed on Snapchat’s content portal Discover and on Stories, which collects all the snaps that users have taken during a certain event or at a certain place.
Through the removal of the Lens Store, Snapchat will be increasing the appeal of Sponsored Lenses, which does away with the traditional form of advertisements and uses the faces of a user’s friends to transmit content.