TikTok and Snapchat Are AR Pioneers. What’s Next?

Technology-wise, TikTok, and Snapchat (SNAP -8.62%) continue to create intriguing products and tools to grow their users. In this video clip from “The Virtual Opportunities Show” on Motley Fool Live, recorded on April 12Fool.com contributors Travis Hoium, Demitri Kalogeropoulos, and Jose Najarro look at some recent augmented reality developments that will be worth watching in the future.

Travis Hoium: Yeah. TikTok, not public but big competitor with Facebook so part of Meta (FB -2.17%) but the Facebook suite of products and Snap SNAP) as well. They officially launched their augmented reality development platform called Effect House.

Let me just pop this up to show you exactly what this is. You can see here some of the things that developers have made and to be clear, this is a development tool. Just like Snapchat, if you go into Snapchat and you have those funny faces that you can do, a developer has to make that, somebody has to build that product. They’ve done similar things, somewhat of a Snapchat. Instagram has similar tools as well. But you can develop these products and basically allow users to use them.

This is another case, similar model to what Snapchat did, where they put the tools in the hands of developers and then developers build things that users use. The social network or platform sits in the middle and has both groups increasing their usage. The other thing that I think is interesting from our topics is augmented reality is really becoming very commonly used in a lot of these social media platforms.

It’ll be interesting to see where this goes if it’s something that advertisers are using more in the future. If it’s something that we find real utility in some way, shape, or form. But the fact that the tools are getting out there, the development tools are being built and advancing on these platforms, I think is really encouraging for augmented reality overall.

Again, this is one of those technologies that’s on our phone that we don’t necessarily think about because it’s just hidden. It’s not like a VR headset where it’s a separate device you have to put on. It’s in the AR kit. It’s right there if you have an iPhone or similar with an Android device. Really interesting technology and I think Demitri, you were going to cover another leg up for TikTok potentially in their battle versus all the other social media networks.

Demitri Kalogeropoulos: Yeah, just quickly add and then I’ll get Jose on this headline today. I think it was yesterday afternoon. As you mentioned, it’s not a public company, so we don’t know a lot about their finances, but we do have an estimate according to new research out yesterday that they’re tagging TikTok’s potential advertising revenue at $ 11 billion in 2022 based on a third-party estimate, which would put it above, according to this, Twitter and Snap’s total advertising together.

I do know the user base is massive on TikTok, the engagement is really big and it’s got a lot of big companies nervous like Facebook and Instagram. Facebook who just recently reported some reductions in their daily average users. TikTok is definitely the big growth story there. But yeah, what do you think Jose?

Jose Najarro: I think it’s amazing how the technology of AR is now shifting outside of just social aspects. I know recently Snapchat, let me just share my screen real quick. Snapchat released a new AR lens which can help people learn sign language. I think Snapchat is definitely one of the leaders here. The lens with their strong technology. It’s cool to see them shifting just outside from just adding cool pictures or cool effects into the user to now being some form of educational tool. So pretty excited to see where this technology goes in the future.

Travis Hoium: That’s a really cool use case. This is the thing where I think it’s a little bit hard to wrap your head around because so often with these, especially when these things are launched on social media networks, the initial use cases are just completely useless. It’s just my kids making funny faces and turning their heads into cats or whatever.

But the fundamental underlying technology is really incredible. It’s going to take a while to figure out what those use cases are that are going to add value to the world long-term and who is going to fund them.

I think Rachel brought up something a few weeks ago about medical technology and some of the interesting things that are going on there. That’s one, it’s like we know what we have from a technology standpoint today, but getting it into people’s hands takes a really long time. Sometimes the instant gratification is silly things but the long-term impact is much deeper. It just takes oftentimes years to really show itself.

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