Facebook buys into the latest lens trend
With Facebook’s recent buy out of Masquerade, a startup app similar to Snapchat, It looks like Snapchat won’t be monopolizing the new “Lens Trend” after all. With 15 million users in only three months of their release, Masquerade provides users with selfie-altering lenses that can be shared on various social media platforms.
Masquerade app hit the startup jackpot
The young startup app, created during a 48 hour hackathon in November 2015, announced the sale on Wednesday emphasizing their excitement of joining forces with Facebook’s 1.6 billion users. The most interesting part of the deal is that Masquerade will continue to independently operate its MSQRD app, allowing configuration with several different social media apps beyond just Facebook. Smart move, as it avoids limitations for users: if you want to post to Twitter or Instagra, you can.
It’s no wonder Facebook wanted in on the action…
We first caught a glimpse of the lens trend when Snapchat launched the masking feature in 2015. They allow users to take a selfie and overlay the selfie with an image altering lens. On Snapchat you can overlay your selfie with a dog face, face swap with the person next to you, or a branded image. This capability has created more user functionality for the app, but also new revenue opportunities as big companies now pay to have their brand advertised via lenses.
Along with Snapchat’s advertising success via photo and video customization, other similar app’s such as Dubsmash (over 1,000,000 votes on the Google App Store) and Face Swap (60,000 votes on the Google App Store) are two of the most downloaded app’s worldwide according to LA Times.
Third time’s a charm…
After offering to buy Snapchat for $3 billion and Snapchat declining, Facebook decided to emulate the app’s most popular features instead; including a chat app, Slingshot, and now lenses. Chat and Slingshot were unsuccessful but with 15 million users already, their partnership with Masquerade may be the “third time’s a charm” Facebook could use.
There is no word from Facebook if the developmental plans pre-deal, including a customization editing tool, will proceed, but I’m interested to see how advertising will work. Until then, head to the app store to familiarize yourself with MSQRD and start planning how you could use it to your brand’s advantage when it becomes available.