Snapchat's popular AR lenses just got a lot more useful for businesses, as the company has now opened its Context Cards platform to sponsored content.
Launched last month, Context Cards give Snapchat users relevant information about the snaps that they view. For example, snaps shared from a restaurant will have embedded information and links about the business and the location from content providers like TripAdvisor and Foursquare. The cards tap into apps that can perform relevant actions, such as hailing a ride through Uber or booking a reservation through OpenTable.
The first advertiser to take advantage of the new functionality is movie studio Lionsgate. The company just sponsored a lens for its film Wonder, which debuts on Friday. Snaps taken with this lens will give viewers information on showtimes nearby and links to buy tickets.
According to a report from Business Insider, advertisers receive Context Cards as a free add-on for Sponsored Lens and Sponsored Geofilter. Additionally, advertisers also receive reports on how users interact with the content, such as views and click-through rates.
AR is a key priority for Snap Inc., Snapchat's parent company, for 2018, with Context Cards and World Lens leading the way among its products in the category.
"2018 promises to be a productive and exciting year for Snap, with many changes coming to our products and platform," said Snap CEO Evan Spiegel in prepared remarks released in conjunction with its quarterly earnings conference call. "We will be hard at work delivering on our priorities: User Growth, Content, and Augmented Reality."
The easiest way to try out Context Cards is to search for nearby snaps that are geotagged. Tap into the search bar from the main camera screen and you'll see "Top Stories" followed by a series of categories. "Around Me" should have several with locations tagged (as well as the "Attractions" section). Once you're in the snap, swipe up from the bottom where it says "More" and the cards will appear.
The Sponsored Lens from Lionsgate is available now, but we weren't able to access its Context Cards. We've reached out to Snapchat for more information, but you can give it a try yourself now in Snapchat.