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Snapchat's Money Train Gains Steam With New Sponsored Lenses Ad

Snapchat rolled out two new ad units this week.

20th Century Fox

Snapchat is ramping up its money-making efforts just in time for the holidays. In the same week it started testing a new ad unit within its Discover section, the media company is rolling out another new option for advertisers: Sponsored lenses, or the chance to put your brand alongside people’s selfies.

Fox Studios is the first advertiser to buy Snapchat’s sponsored lenses, which will be offered this Saturday for Halloween. Fox purchased the lenses to promote “The Peanuts Movie,” the upcoming Charlie Brown film. Fox also bought to sponsored geofilters for the film.


Snapchat rolled out lenses about a month ago, and even if you don’t use Snapchat yourself, you may have noticed the update. That’s because lenses let people distort their faces when taking a selfie, which led to loads of people sharing pictures of themselves vomiting rainbows or blowing steam out of their ears off of Snapchat. For 24 hours on Saturday, Snapchat users will be able to add dancing Snoopy and Woodstock characters to their selfies as part of the promotion.

For the past year, Snapchat has been tinkering with ways to make money. Sponsored lenses are the fourth ad type already from the company, which is clearly testing a number of options to see what sticks with both users and advertisers. Snapchat is aiming to bring in roughly $50 million in revenue this year while it works to grow into a whopping $16 billion valuation.

Sponsored lenses should help with that. Like most of Snapchat’s other ad units, these lenses will be pretty pricey at launch. Snapchat is selling the lenses for nearly $500,000 on weekdays, with that number jumping to close to $550,000 on Fridays and Saturdays, according to a source. For holidays, like Halloween, advertisers are looking at costs closer to $750,000 for lenses, which Snapchat predicts 12 million to 16 million people will use, this source says. A company spokesperson did not respond when asked about ad costs.

That’s a lot of money, but advertisers intrigued with Snapchat and its millennial-heavy demographic have shown a willingness to pay big bucks to get in early on Snapchat ads. If sponsored lenses stick around, which is no guarantee, it’s possible the costs will drop once the novelty wears off.

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