Will Sponsored Lenses Be the Future of Snapchat Advertising?

The mobile messaging app is making yet another pivot in its effort to validate its business model.

Snapchat has continued to evolve as it endeavors to establish a stable position in the social media market. From closing security holes, to updating its policies, it looks like the messaging-app-turned-content-platform wants to be taken much more seriously. However, its marketing efforts haven’t always panned out, and advertisers are skeptical that it can deliver on promises.

Just last month, Snapchat decided to abandon its original content strategy, and attempted to restructure for a more sustainable future of revenue generation. Other than security issues, this could be considered the first major hiccup for the company’s future. But Snapchat has already rebounded with sponsored lenses, in an attempt to get back in the market.

Lens ad units are aggressively priced, and may cost up to $750,000 per day if the campaign is supposed to coincide with a holiday or major event, according to Re/code. Through Lens, and other possible ad solutions, the company plans to bring in $50 million in ad revenue by the end of this year.

However, Snapchat has been known to keep its actual metrics very quiet, so it’s unclear how these new ad units will perform. Advertisers are already throwing money at Snapchat, but quality performance metrics are what will bring the company long term stability as an advertising platform.

Ben Winkler, chief digital officer at Omnicom’s OMD media group, told Re/code that this is Snapchat’s main problem. Additionally he said:

Of course, the challenge here is even as they’ve improved with their reporting and performance, the goalposts are moving. … Every one of their competitors are [also improving].

Snapchat’s long term stability, and indeed viability, hinges on the company generating meaningful revenue over time. To push its way out of the startup phase and into a true mainstream service, this generally means advertising. Whether Lenses act as a silly diversion, or a meaningful way to spread ad content and an established way to take selfies among the user base, seems very up to chance. And not realizing that potential could result in another serious stumbling block for Snapchat.