Snapchat Quietly Introduced a 360-Degree Video Ad Platform

Advertisers and agencies will soon have another way to market their content through the use of bite sized 360-degree video on the increasingly popular application known as Snapchat.

The first brand to deploy the new Snapchat feature was Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) who released a campaign to promote their latest thriller called ‘Don’t Breathe’. Sony created this initial video with the help of AvatarLabs, a Los Angeles based digital agency.

Those who click on the ad have the ability to rotate their phones to see all the way around the 360-degree video; just like one can do on Facebook or Youtube. But what’s even more interesting is that viewers can move forward through the environment too.

This move by Snapchat opens up an additional revenue stream for them as they pave their way towards an IPO. Ever since its inception, Snapchat has continued to find innovative ways to monetize their platform. Their recent rollout of advertiser APIs paired with sponsored augmented reality lenses, geo-located filters, and now this new 360-degree video feature shows that Snapchat is keen on not only adapting emerging mediums but making money from them.

What Snapchat will do next is entirely a mystery. They rarely announce their future plans. When they introduce something new like 360-degree video functionality, word usually only gets out by those who are closely watching the skyrocketing company. Press releases aren’t really Snapchat’s style.

Snapchat integrated AR overlays after acquiring Looksery in 2015

Snapchat integrated AR overlays after acquiring Looksery in 2015

Even when Snapchat acquires a company, the information typically has to leak in order to see the light of day. For instance, they bought out Vergence Labs for $15 million in 2014 who produced fashionable set of glasses that could record the perspective of the user. Later they quietly picked up the computer vision startup Seene without publicly announcing it until unnamed sources told the press.

In addition to their acquisitions, Snapchat is attracting talent like crazy. People from Oculus, Microsoft’s Hololens team, Qualcomm and many other immersive tech companies have already made the transition to Snapchat, which is arguably the hottest company out there. They even added a fashion eyewear designer and a special effects guru to their roster as well.

Snapchat is also actively searching for computer vision engineers. Last month, they paid for a job-fair booth at SIGGRAPH, the annual conference on computer graphics in Southern California. The little yellow ghost stood out brightly among the rest of the companies seeking talent. Chances are those who talked with recruiters there could make their way into Snapchat’s little-known “Snap Lab” where computer vision research and development is occurring.

Oh, and Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel was spotted wearing a secret pair of high tech glasses on the beach a while back. All signs point towards an augmented reality Snapchat future.

In the meantime, releasing 360-degree videos into advertisers’ hands is another intuitive approach from Snapchat. It introduces an ‘up-and-coming’ technology to their rapidly expanding userbase, while monetizing it along the way.

Featured image source: Techcrunch

About the Scout

Matthew Terndrup

Matt Terndrup is a virtual reality journalist and content creator. He has written for Motherboard/Vice, UploadVR, Road to VR, Make Magazine, Hackaday, and many others. He was also worked with Two Bit Circus creating 360-degree video. In addition, he is currently working on a science fiction book related to VR.

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