New data shows that mobile AR technology is being driven by certain social media tools.
eMarketer released a report showing that Snapchat augmented reality is fueling the popularity of that technology, particularly when it comes to mobile device use.
The report pointed to Snapchat Lenses as a leader with the tech, followed by Facebook and Instagram.
The eMarketer report indicated that while Snapchat augmented reality may be the top driver for AR tech use, Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories are both playing their own roles. Although augmented reality took a while to find its groove in terms of the willingness of Americans to use it, these social media tools appear to be making a difference.
The market research firm’s data showed that 40 million Americans will use augmented reality every month this year. This is an increase of 30 percent over the average usage rate throughout 2016.
That said, at the same time that Snapchat augmented reality leads the way with that tech, virtual reality is up, too.
Still, the research indicates that while virtual reality use is headed upward, its popularity isn’t rising at the same rate as augmented reality.
While augmented reality is being driven by Snapchat Lenses as well as Facebook and Instagram Stories, virtual reality doesn’t have the advantage of social media in the same way. VR relies on 360 degree videos on the social networks as the primary driver of its use.
“Users of Snapchat Lenses comprise the vast majority of our AR estimates,” explained Chris Bendtsen, eMarketer forecasting analyst.
Snapchat users can apply Lenses to their video messages in order to add special effects. “Snapchat growth will continue to contribute to AR users in the future, but in the next several years eMarketer also expects Facebook and Instagram Stories to be significant growth drivers of AR usage,” stated Bendtsen.
Similarly, Facebook and Instagram stories both offer filters which make it possible to add special effects to videos and pictures. That feature is broadly seen as a copy-cat feature of the Snapchat augmented reality options. As a result, eMarketer predicts that nearly one in five internet users will employ augmented reality by 2019, which translates to about 54.4 million Americans.