Snapchat patents image recognition for brands

Snapchat patents image recognition for brands

File under: Cool things brands might be able to do in the future.

Snapchat allows brands to reach 100 million daily users with sponsored content.

Brands from Kraft to Vans to bareMinerals have offered users the chance to change their image in a snap. On average users mess about with sponsored lenses for 20 seconds – a decent engagement ROI by anyone’s standards.

One of the company’s most recent patents takes the tech a step further with image recognition and augmented reality to introduce more opportunities for fun (and ads).

Business Insider first brought the patent to light, and the potential for brands is huge if Snapchat introduces the tech in a later update.

Image recognition

The patent is designed to allow Snapchat to recognise objects in a user image, and provide filters that alter, enhance or transport the image into a slightly different reality.

One example in the patent shows King Kong clinging to user snaps of the Empire State Building. It even switches between Mr. Kong’s front and back depending on whether you’re on the North or South side of the building.


Parts of the patent outline exactly how the filters would be delivered.

The patent specifically mentions brand content – but frankly it’d be weird if it didn’t given the success of Snapchat’s other brand offerings. In this case, brand creative would be offered based on image content rather than simple geographic location or lense option.

Brands on Snapchat

This tech would also allow brands to bid on particular image types in order to have their filter appear first in the swipeable list of options. For example, Starbucks and Costa could both bid on cups of coffee, coffee beans and other coffee-related images – whoever bid the most would be the first pick.

Their creative could be as simple as their logo, a fake-coffee shop background or anything else they feel the real world is lacking.

The pricing is likely to be as eye-wateringly prohibitive as any other Snapchat offer – currently around $750 000 (though they may be reconsidering the price tag).

But those 100 million users and their notoriously hard-to-engage generation are likely to mean that if Snapchat does introduce augmented reality, it’ll be the Next. Big. Thing.

Would it be useful for brands who don’t have $750 000?

Potentially. Snapchat seem to be softening on their high prices – as more people use snapchat and the demand grows, it seems likely that they’ll relent and allow a wider scope of brands to give them money.

Smaller brands may be limited by small reach or coming second to the big players, but given Snapchat’s engagement ROI, it’s certainly something to keep in mind.

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