Snapchat Launches New Audio-Triggered Lenses

The news hasn’t been great for Snap Inc. of late.

The redesign of their flagship app bombed with users, forcing them to ease it back, while their Q1 results failed to meet market expectations, and raised questions about the company’s future. Add to that Facebook’s continued push into Stories, heralding it as the next bog social sharing shift, and there’s been a fair bit to be salty about at Snap HQ.

So how can Snapchat respond? By continuing to add newer, innovative tools, which it’s always been the best at, in the hopes tapping into the next big trend, and maintaining its market position.

And while it may not cure all their woes, they are rolling out a new form of Lens, which will not only respond to visual cues, but audio ones as well.

As demonstrated by Mashable’s Jake Krol, the first iteration of the new audio-triggered Snap Lens is fairly basic – you make a sound and the virtual ears on your head will glow and grow, relative to the noise level. But the addition does pave the way for more innovative uses, with Snapchat noting that they’re planning to roll out more Lenses of his type in the near future.

Of course, it’s hardly going to save Snap from their various issues, but it does provide another differentiating factor from Facebook’s copycat Stories products. But then again, it’ll probably only take Instagram a couple of weeks to catch up – if you want a social exclusive, “Instagram is now testing audio-triggered Stories masks”. You heard it on SMT first.

Snapchat’s Lenses have been a key element of the app’s growth. In their official IPO documentation released last year, Snap noted that one in three of the app’s daily active users ‘plays with Lenses every day’, which would currently equate to some 64 million users. That’s a lot of engagement, and more recently, Snap’s sought to tap into this for commercial purposes, adding the option to buy custom Lenses for events and adding advanced Lens creation options to its Lens Studio.

The capacity to add an audio element will no doubt raise interest – but as noted, Snap’s got quite a few issues to resolve. Adding in a new Lens option may not be enough to stop users switching across to Instagram Stories instead.

Facebook too is working on more immersive, interactive Lens options, and as noted, you can bet Instagram will have a quick response announcement on this shortly.

It does seem that Facebook is keen to keep the pressure on Snap – but again, Snap’s been able to consistently innovate and move in response. Can they continue to do so in the face of rising challenges?

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