Daily Insights

TikTok’s Lens Takeover

By: Mackenzie Baker | May 18, 2020

TikTok is rolling out a new feature to keep its 800 million users entertained. 

On par with popular social media channels like Snapchat and Instagram, TikTok is launching a new augmented reality ad format. The feature allows users to add interactive visual effects from advertisers to their own videos. The clickable “AR brand effect” allows viewers to tap the effect on videos to see more of the brand’s advertisement. TikTok is opening the advertising opportunity to a variety of industries, including food brands, auto brands, beauty brands, and restaurant brands. With TikTok’s colossal download growth and high user activity rates, the new feature could be ripe for use by brands looking to hyper-target Gen-Z consumers, according to a Gartner report. The feature will launch globally, though a set release date has yet to be announced. 

TikTok’s feature follows in the footsteps of other social media platforms that have embraced AR lenses. Snapchat, which was the first to roll out AR lenses in 2018, often advertises new products with lenses, such as Gucci’s holiday lens portal. Instagram took inspiration from Snapchat’s lenses to create its own branded filters. While Snapchat’s lenses are popular for regular snaps as well as stories, Instagram’s filters dominate on its stories, which are used by 500 million accounts, daily. Both Snapchat and Instagram allow users to shop a brand from their lenses, which could serve as a potential strategy for TikTok as the brand continues to grow. TikTok has already debuted a series of initiatives during the Coronavirus pandemic. For example, users can now add donation buttons to their videos to incentivize viewers to give during the pandemic. TikTok is also working with the World Health Organization to present up-to-date informational videos for viewers. 

Generating features that have seen success on fellow channels could help TikTok enhance its image as a large player in the social media industry, particularly as the brand’s popularity continues to surge