Market Reality: Snapchat Does E-Commerce, Renault Drives into Star Wars AR & Christie's Taps Wealthy Art Buyers via AR

Snapchat Does E-Commerce, Renault Drives into Star Wars AR & Christie's Taps Wealthy Art Buyers via AR

It doesn't matter how cool or groundbreaking a particular technology is, if it doesn't offer the promise of big returns on investments, you'll have trouble drawing interest from both Silicon Valley and Wall Street. That's why we're increasingly seeing existing augmented reality players doing everything they can to focus in on revenue generation, which was the message coming from Snap Inc. this week.

Similarly, outside of social platforms, businesses are beginning to aggressively tap AR as a new vector for marketing campaigns. That trend was made even more apparent through moves made this week by one of the most famous auction houses on the planet harnessing the power of AR, and an auto company looking to snag Star Wars fans by embedding AR versions of the franchise's sci-fi content into its latest car launch promotion.

Snapchat Turns AR into a Shopping Tool for Brands

In an effort to help its advertising partners close sales with its sponsored augmented reality camera effects, Snapchat has launched a set of e-commerce tools designed to encourage users to buy products directly in the app. Shoppable AR is an enhanced Lens that offers advertisers an action button that executes one of three potential actions for users as they interact with the AR content. Brands can push users to visit their web store, view a video (such as a movie trailer), or install an app.

But is an app that was initially made popular by high school kids looking to trade secret messages and photos really the key to figuring out how to monetize AR e-commerce? Keep reading to find out. …

Image via Snap Inc.

REALITY BITES: While Snap Inc. is telling the world that its platform can help brands generate revenue, a recent design change to the app has publishers miffed. According to some publishers, the change has resulted in a steep drop in traffic, and in publishing, traffic equals dollars. The Motley Fool took a closer look at exactly what's happening to publishers looking to profit from Snapchat user engagement.

Renault + Star Wars = AR Marketing Sci-Fi Geeks Can't Resist

French automaker Renault is tapping into the promotional machine for Solo: A Star Wars Movie by deploying an AR experience through Shazam that's triggered via synergistic advertising. To access the experience, users scan the Shazam code embedded on bus stop advertisements in 25 European counties using the Shazam app for iOS or Android.

Renault provided photos of the experience to Next Reality. And yes, those photos look amazing, particularly if you're a Star Wars fan who can never get enough of the fictional world. Read on to find out why Renault believes this AR approach might turn into real-world sales. …

REALITY BITES: Just a couple of months after giving the world a look at its sleek smartglasses product, we now know that Intel is shutting down the project. The Information (subscription required), not only broke the exclusive news on the shuttering of the project, but also reports that the move may lead to major layoffs.

Christie's AR Auction App Lets Anyone Sniff the World of Art Investing

The latest update to the Christie's app for iPhones and iPads extends its augmented reality capabilities to the famed private art collection of David and Peggy Rockefeller. The overall collection includes the works of Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Diego Rivera, Willem de Koonig, Edward Hopper, and more, with select pieces available to view in AR.

In fact, you can even use the app to buy a few of the works, assuming you have a few million dollars lying around. If you don't, then just keep reading to discover exactly why such an established auction house, usually framed by old world affluent tradition, is taking the leap into AR. …

Image via Christie's

REALITY BITES: LA-based venture capitalist Mark Suster, a managing partner at Upfront Ventures, has some strong thoughts regarding the millions of dollars being thrown at Magic Leap. During a podcast interview with Recode's Kara Swisher, Suster said, "When large pools of capital come into companies at early stages, that distorts markets… Let's just take as an example Magic Leap. Enormous amount of money going into a company pre-product launch, I think it just distorts so many things… [By allowing that] you take the pressure off of founders from launching products… I think the creative pressure of not being over capitalized actually helps with innovation."

As pressure mounts on Magic Leap to show off more than images, aspirational tweets, and developer partnerships, publicly issued doubts from tech insiders like Suster are becoming more common. To hear the entire interview in context (the Magic Leap part starts at the 51-minute mark), you can listen here.

Every Friday, Next Reality reviews the latest headlines from the financial side of augmented and mixed reality. This weekly Market Reality column covers funding announcements, mergers and acquisitions, market analysis, and the like. Check out previous editions of Market Reality for more news you may have missed.

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Cover image via Renault/YouTube

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