While Snapchat continues to battle with Instagram and Facebook over who will reign supreme in social media platforms, one area where the competition is not quite so fierce is the facial tracking filters (Face Lenses) that Snapchat’s user-base have grown to love. Since the inception of this idea, Snapchat has closely guarded the development process of these filters to ensure that the quality and styling of the Face Lens met Snapchat’s high standards. What this meant for brands looking to create a custom Face Lens is that they could only work with Snapchat directly if they wanted to reach the desired audiences. This exclusivity also came with a very high price-tag, meaning that often only the top brands around the globe were able to allocate the required marketing budget to this initiative.

That all changed mid-April, when Snapchat made the decision to open up its Face Lens development capabilities to the masses. While there is still a high degree of technical skill required to create a Face Lens, developers around the globe are now able to create a customized Face Lens through Snapchat’s Lens Studio program. In my opinion, while this announcement is very exciting for developers (especially us here at EveryStudio), it should be even more exciting to the small and medium sized brands who previously couldn’t even consider creating a Face Lens.

An additional benefit to businesses looking to market on Snapchat is that Face Lenses require no continuous ad spend. Once the Face Lens has been created, it is uploaded for free to Snapchat’s platform and a Snapcode is generated. That Snapcode allows access to your custom lens, and remains active for a full year. This gives business free reign to incorporate Snapcodes into their marketing strategy how they see fit (See our previous blog post for creative ideas on how to market using Snapcodes).

This update comes at a great time as Snapchat appears to be going all in on their augmented reality capabilities. Snapchat recently opened a marketplace for consumers to be able to purchase a large variety of Face Lenses, but only for personal uses. With Facebook and Instagram pushing their respective face filters, it’s clear that this is going to be a valuable marketing tool for the foreseeable future. In other words, get ready to see plenty of salon, restaurant, and festival custom Face Lenses, because the doorway is finally open!