Snapchat has a new program that will pay augmented-reality creators up to $7,200 for lenses that go viral

  • Snapchat is launching a new fund for augmented-reality lens creators.
  • The company will offer payments of up to $7,200 for lenses that drive engagement on the app.
  • Traditionally, AR creators have leaned on branded effects to make money.

For years, augmented-reality creators who create amusing Snapchat visual effects have relied on brand work to make money.

Last year, the creator of the viral “potato lens,” Philip Walton, told Insider that he was charging between $5,000 and $10,000 for a branded effect, for example.

“AR is such a new world still, and I love it,” Walton said. “There’s a lot more to be discovered there than just a marketing tool.”

Some Snapchat AR creators who make lenses for fun rather than for marketing will be able to get paid for their work beginning August 1. In the United States, India, and Mexico, the company is launching a Lens Creator rewards program to compensate users whose effects drive high engagement on the app.

According to a Snap spokesperson, creators in the program whose lenses reach certain engagement thresholds based on views and other proprietary metrics will be paid monthly on a sliding scale. The top prize for the lens with the most engagement in all three countries will be $7,200. A creator will receive $3,500 if their lens is the most engaging in one of the three countries. Other creators will be paid less depending on how well their lenses perform.

A Snap spokesperson declined to reveal the total amount of money available to AR creators, but stated that “many creators” will receive rewards each month. The program has no end date and will be “ongoing at Snap’s discretion,” according to the company. Despite the fact that payouts are based on lens performance in three markets, the Lens Creator rewards program is open to AR creators in nearly 40 countries.

“At Snap, we’re committed to rewarding the value that AR creators bring to the platform as they advance their skills and grow their businesses,” Snap Inc.’s global head of AR Developer Relations, Joseph Darko, stated in a statement.

This isn’t Snapchat’s first program to recognize augmented-reality talent. Through its Ghost Innovation Lab, the company has previously provided grants to some AR developers who specialize in research or product development. It has also tested a program in which AR creators could charge users for access to lens variations and upgrades. Among those taking part in the test was Walton, who sold improved versions of his famous potato lens for a fee.

Other social media platforms have recently launched AR creator funding programs. TikTok launched a $6 million AR creator fund in May for qualified users of its augmented-reality developer tool, Effect House. TikTok creators who participate earn a base payout of $700 plus incremental bonuses for each effect that appears in at least 500,000 unique TikTok videos in the first 90 days.

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