Newsletter #18

Published 2021-12-21

Call me a pseudofuturist

Three out of my six predictions came true for what we could expect next from Lens Studio. All six predictions coming true would have made me a futurist, so 50% makes me a pseudofuturist. Or are all futurists pseudofuturists?

Best of Snap lenses

If you haven't already, be sure to check out the winners of the first ever Lens Fest Awards! Their press release doesn't have any pictures, but you can watch a replay of the awards on YouTube. Lot's of great lenses to check out here.

Apart from the Lens Fest Awards, Snap also released a Lens on the Year report. The full list of their lens picks is hidden in a PDF file, but your boy Mike has the link right here for you. My "Dance Twin" lens was picked for their "Cutting Edge Tech" section, but if I'm being honest I don't think that lens uses much cutting edge tech. I have plenty of other lenses I would have picked instead, but 🤷‍♂️

The "What's Poppin'" section is basically the below meme.

Meme of Obama giving himself a model and captioned with "Snap's top lenses of the year" giving the award to "Snap's lenses"

Best of Instagram filters

Not to be outdone by Snap, Meta also released their Top 10 Spark AR Effects of 2021. They have some great choices, but I'm not as excited by this list as by the Lens Fest Awards. That last sentence sounds like I'm just hating on the Spark AR creators, but I think the reason I like the Lens Fest Awards better is because they had categories so you knew why the lenses were chosen. In comparison, Spark's list feels rushed like they had to put something together because Snap did. I'd love to know why Meta picked what they did and what set those 10 filters apart.

Lens Call-To-Action button case study

Snap recently started letting verified creators add a call-to-action (CTA) button to their lenses that links to either an app or a website. The CTA button is a little button that shows up above the lens icon and says something like "More," "Donate," etc. I've added CTA links to a few of my lenses and here are the results:

  • More YouTube views. Some of my lenses are the results of tutorials that I've created so I link those back to the tutorial. I have noticed an increase in video views. I still can't monetize my channel, but hopefully this will help with that and introduce more people to AR.
  • Zero T-shirt sales. I created a twerking alien T-shirt to try to have some sort of merch available. The CTA links have driven about 6,000 views to the shirt and I've made 0 sales. People are still using the twerking alien lens, but the craze from a couple years ago is definitely gone. And maybe just no one likes the T-shirt I created.
  • Zero donations. I also experimented with adding a link to my "Buy Me a Coffee" page. One million lens plays (people opening up the lens to use) split between two different lenses resulted in 8,000 page views and 0 donations (there is one previous donation from a few months ago to thank me for my tutorials).

Overall the CTA feature is still exciting, but I am definitely not getting rich from it. I am working on something new, so if I crack the code I'll share it with you all.

Spark AR Go

Meta also launched the Spark AR Go Beta. I started playing around with it a bit this week and I think it is a really good thing. It definitely makes it much easier for people to get started making their own AR filters.