Snapchat recently launched selfie lenses after acquiring Looksery. Every day, a new lens is added and an old one is removed from the current lineup of seven. The company now also showcases around 30 other lenses that you can buy for 99 cents and keep forever.
As a reminder, here’s how you activate selfie lenses. When you’re using the front-facing camera, long press on your face to turn on selfie lenses. Then, you can press on a lens at the bottom to preview it, and then shoot a snap. Lenses range from rainbow vomit to scary monster faces.
Free lenses aren’t going away, and you’ll get a new one every day. But if seven lenses is not enough, you can scroll past the first seven and see a whole bunch more. Previewing them is free, but using them in a snap will cost you 99 cents. Every day, there will be 30 paid lenses. It’s unclear how often Snapchat will add new lenses to the store.
This isn’t the step into in-app purchases as Snapchat lets you pay $0.99 to get 3 extra replays. You can still replay any snap once, but if you want to replay it again, you’ll have to pay.
And of course, the company is also working on advertising with sponsored lenses and other ads. Combining in-app purchases with advertising is an interesting direction for the company. Many consumer startups choose to keep their products totally free. It’s a risky bet for Snapchat as the company could alienate existing users and slow down its growth if teenagers are turned off by paid options.
Yet, Snapchat investor Fidelity recently wrote down its investment by 25 percent showing concerns about the company’s valuation.
Snapchat is also rolling out official accounts. When you search for “justinbieber” for example, the app will suggest “rickthesizzler” in a new “Official Stories” section. As you guessed, “rickthesizzler” is Justin Bieber’s official account.
As pseudonyms are still the norm on Snapchat, official stories are an important feature to make sure that you don’t follow fake accounts. But it’s still unclear for the average user that “rickthesizzler” is indeed Bieber. Snapchat still has a long way to go to improve celebrity discovery on the platform.