We barely knew Snapchat's lens store, and it's already time to say goodbye. The social media platform is shutting down the store on Friday, only two months after its launch. Instead of peddling the $0.99 lenses, the company says it will focus more on its ad business, which will still include sponsored lenses. A rotating selection of 10 lenses will now be available for free every day.
Lenses launched in September 2015 as a way for users to spice up their selfies. By training their device cameras on their faces, they could choose from a variety of silly lenses that changed daily. One day, users could superimpose an animated mustache on their faces, and another day, they could have rainbow vomit spew from their mouths. If users couldn’t get enough of that rainbow puke lens, and wanted it every day, they could purchase it through the lens store. Then they’d own it forever. The company also monetized its lenses through a branding option for corporate sponsors. Fox, for instance, sponsored a lens to promote The Peanuts Movie. Snapchat reportedly sells these sponsorships for between $450,000 and $750,000 per day.
so long, lens store
Logistically, people who bought lenses will get to keep them after the store shuts down. The company also says it’ll wait awhile before offering its most popular purchased lenses for free.
Snapchat claims that users purchase tens of thousands of lenses per day, and that around 10 million snaps still use lenses each day, so it isn’t completely clear why Snapchat is shutting down the store. Maybe it was too much work for too little profit, or maybe all the lens options took away from the true money maker: sponsored lenses.
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Update, 3:04 PM: We clarified that users purchase tens of thousands of lenses every day, as opposed to generally. Snapchat wouldn't confirm whether this brings the number of purchased lenses into the hundreds of thousands or millions.