Snap Inc., the camera company behind Snapchat, this morning announced a global partnership with agency holding company WPP to create a lab to test and develop how augmented-reality applications can help the agency's brand-marketing clients build and deliver more "immersive experiences" for consumers.
The aptly named "AR Lab" will draw on Snap's state-of-the-art technology, as well as WPP's capabilities across creative, media, commerce and technology to learn how AR can drive meaningful business results via Snapchat's platform.
As part of the agreement, Snap will hand over its AR technology -- "end-to-end" -- to WPP and its clients, as well as creative production and measurement resources.
A recent Snap study, which included 15,000 international respondents, found AR campaigns are significant drivers of business, with 94% of people expecting to use AR for shopping as much or more in 2022 compared to 2021.
In addition, brands were 40% more likely to be considered by consumers if they have an AR experience, and Snapchat users were 20% more likely than non-users to share a brand’s AR experience with friends and family.
“AR has a major role to play in the future of marketing and commerce, from virtual try-on to immersive digital experiences,” said Sanja Partalo, executive vice president-strategic development & partnerships at WPP. “Snap has built an impressive AR platform and we are delighted to partner with them to ensure our people can access Snap’s latest AR technology and in turn develop richer, more innovative commerce solutions for our clients and their customers.”
Under this new partnership, WPP and Snap plan to collaborate on new products and tech, like the Snapchat Trends tool, which helps teams in using data and proprietary insights to inform creative and campaign development.
WPP will gain an "AR Lab Strategy Guide," as well, which informs creative development using Snap’s AR, and ensures that branded AR experiences can be brought to market more seamlessly than before.
To generate more effective campaigns, the partnership will implement a co-developed custom optimization scorecard for WPP clients.
WPP said it adopted AR tech early and has thus led the market by investing in "AR capability and partner ecosystem." GroupM, WPP’s media-buying arm, has doubled its 2021 social AR investment over the past year, continuing to lead the way for AR and commerce media activations.
Lastly, the AR Lab Academy, an industry-first training program centered on AR tech and products, will help the partnership further develop WPP’s AR capability.
The program hopes to certify at least 1,000 WPP employees by the end of 2021.
Snap will also sponsor a quarterly AR production competition for WPP clients, which will focus on clients in key markets –– Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, the UK, and the U.S. Winners will receive Snap funding to bring their innovative campaigns to life on Snapchat at scale.
“Over 200m Snapchatters engage with AR every day,” said David Roter, vice president-global agency partnerships at Snap Inc. “This partnership will help brands reach that community through the camera in ways that are engaging, impactful and drive real business results. We are thrilled to debut this initiative with WPP and look forward to driving this important frontier in marketing and commerce together with their clients around the globe.”