How Snapchat Augmented Reality Engages Gen Z

Filters and Lenses: How Snapchat Augmented Reality Engages Gen Z

In an age where our reality is increasingly intertwined with the digital world, capturing the attention of Generation Z, the tech-savvy and ever-evolving demographic, has become both a challenge and an opportunity for brands. Enter Snapchat, the social media platform that has managed to stay relevant and thrive in the face of increasing competition by embracing augmented reality (AR) filters and lenses.

Augmented reality has brought a new dimension to our online interactions, blending digital elements seamlessly with our physical surroundings. Snapchat, recognised as a pioneer in the field, has harnessed the power of AR to create a unique and engaging experience for its users. 

Join Nerds Collective in this blog as we delve into the fascinating world of Snapchat's AR filters and lenses, exploring how they have retained and actively engaged Generation Z.

Overview of Augmented Reality (AR) and Its Role in Snapchat

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that blends digital elements with the real world, enhancing our sensory perception. It's a concept that has been around for a while, but Snapchat brought it to the masses in an accessible and fun way.

Snapchat's AR technology uses computer vision and facial recognition to track users' faces and overlay digital objects onto them. This could be anything from silly animal ears and noses to complex animations that react to your movements. AR on Snapchat recognises faces and surfaces so that you can place virtual objects in your environment, like dancing hotdogs on your desk or virtual snowfall in your living room.

The Enduring Appeal of Snapchat's AR Filters and Lenses

Snapchat's AR filters and lenses have played a significant role in shaping how people interact with AR. These interactive overlays allow users to transform their appearance, add animations to their Snaps, and create immersive experiences. But what makes them so endurably engaging?


AR filters and lenses are not just about taking a selfie with a cute filter; they're about turning everyday moments into interactive and entertaining experiences. Users can become pirates, swap faces with friends, or explore the ocean's depths—all from the palm of their hand.


Snapchat empowers users to be creative with their content. With a vast library of filters and lenses, you can be a different character every day. The creative options are limitless, and users love the freedom to express themselves imaginatively.


Sharing AR experiences on Snapchat has fostered a sense of community. Whether sending funny Snaps to friends or participating in AR challenges, it's all about sharing moments and having fun together.

Technology Powering Snapchat's AR Features

At first glance, Snapchat's AR filters and lenses may seem like pure fun, but there's a lot of technology behind the scenes, making it all work seamlessly. The core technologies that power Snapchat's AR features include:

Computer Vision

Snapchat's AR system relies on computer vision to track and recognise faces, objects, and environments in real time. This technology allows filters and lenses to interact with users accurately.

Facial Recognition

Snapchat's facial recognition technology can detect facial features and landmarks, enabling precise placement of digital elements on a user's face.

Motion Tracking

Motion tracking is crucial for AR experiences that respond to user movement. It allows animations and objects to follow users as they move.

Surface Detection

To place virtual objects in the real world, Snapchat's AR system uses surface detection to identify flat surfaces like tables or floors. This technology makes AR more interactive and dynamic.

How Brands Can Leverage Snapchat AR Filters and Lenses to Engage Gen Z Audiences

Now, let's explore how brands can leverage these insights to engage Gen Z effectively on Snapchat.

1. Create Branded AR Filters and Lenses

One of the most direct ways to engage Gen Z on Snapchat is by creating branded AR filters and lenses. These interactive overlays allow users to engage with your brand in a fun and creative way. Here's how to do it:

  • Customisation: Design filters and lenses that align with your brand's identity. Whether it's incorporating your logo, colours, or mascots, make it uniquely yours.
  • Promote User-Generated Content: Encourage users to share content using your branded filters. User-generated content amplifies your brand's reach and showcases authentic interactions with your products or services.
  • Incorporate CTA: Include a call to action (CTA) in your filters. Whether you want them to visit your website, use a specific hashtag, or attend an event, clarify what you want users to do next.
  • Special Events and Promotions: Launch filters and lenses for special events or promotions. These temporary overlays create a sense of urgency and excitement among users.

2. Interactive Storytelling

Snapchat's AR features offer a unique opportunity for brands to tell interactive stories that resonate with Gen Z:

  • Narrative Campaigns: Create AR-driven narratives that immerse users in your brand's story. This could involve scavenger hunts, quiz-style experiences, or AR tours of your products.
  • Educational Content: Use AR to educate your audience. For example, if you're a fashion brand, create AR fitting rooms that allow users to try on clothes virtually.
  • Behind-the-Scenes Access: Gen Z appreciates transparency. Offer them exclusive behind-the-scenes glimpses of your brand, whether it's how products are made or a day in your team's life.

3. User-Generated Content Contests

Engage Gen Z by running user-generated content (UGC) contests using Snapchat AR:

  • Challenge Formats: Create AR-based challenges that encourage users to showcase their creativity. It could be dance challenges, lip-sync contests, or art competitions.
  • Prizes and Recognition: Offer prizes and recognition to winners. Gen Z is motivated by incentives and the opportunity to gain visibility within their social networks.
  • Shareable Content: Encourage participants to share their entries on Snapchat, fostering a sense of community and virality around your brand's contest.

4. Collaborate with Influencers

Influencer marketing remains a powerful strategy to engage Gen Z. Collaborate with influencers who resonate with your brand's values and aesthetics to create sponsored content using your AR filters and lenses:

  • Authentic Partnerships: Ensure that the influencer's endorsement of your brand feels authentic. Gen Z can spot inauthentic partnerships from a mile away.
  • In-App Takeovers: Let influencers take over your brand's Snapchat account for a day. They can use your filters and lenses to engage with their followers directly.
  • Live Events and Launches: Partner with influencers for live events or product launches, using AR filters to enhance the experience and create buzz.

5. Measure and Iterate

Finally, continuous measurement and adaptation are the key to successful engagement with Gen Z on Snapchat. Use Snapchat's analytics tools to track the performance of your AR campaigns:

  • Engagement Metrics: Monitor metrics such as views, shares, and engagement rates to gauge the success of your campaigns.
  • Audience Feedback: Listen to user feedback and comments to understand what resonates and needs improvement.
  • Iterate and Improve: Based on data and feedback, refine your AR campaigns to align better with Gen Z's preferences and behaviours.

Snapchat's augmented reality filters and lenses have undeniably transformed how Generation Z engages with digital content and social media. This innovative blend of technology and creativity has created a unique space for self-expression, storytelling, and interactive experiences.

As we move forward, it's evident that Snapchat's AR journey is far from over. The platform continues to evolve, offering new opportunities for users and brands alike. By staying attuned to the preferences and behaviours of Gen Z, remaining authentic and creative, and harnessing the potential of augmented reality, both Snapchat and brands can look forward to exciting and engaging interactions in the digital landscape. 

In the world of Snapchat AR, Nerds Collective can help you navigate the future that holds endless possibilities for innovation, connection, and immersive experiences that will continue to captivate Generation Z and beyond.

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