26 Aug 2022 | Mike Boland
AWE Talks: Is TikTok the Next AR Giant?
AWE USA 2022

Welcome back to AWE Talks, our series that revisits the most engaging content from AWE’s catalog of presentations and panel discussions. With a fresh batch of content from AWE USA 2022, there's still plenty to dive into.

This week, we take a look at the AR sleeping giant that is TikTok. It's just getting started to scale up AR creation on its platform, given the recently-launched Effect House. We hear from real-life TikTok creators about what they're building

See the summarized takeaways below, along with the full session video. Stay tuned for more video highlights each week and check out the full library on awe.live and AWE’s YouTube Channel.

– TikTok is a global powerhouse when it comes to overall user traction, growth and ad revenue.
– However, its AR efforts have been relatively underbaked... until recently. Enter Effect House.
– We say "relatively" because TikTok AR lens creation didn't scale to the level of Snap Lens Studio.
– But now that it has an open platform (versus just home-grown lenses), that scale is unlocked.
– Historically, the same was seen with Snap... Its AR volume inflected when Lens Studio launched.
– In both cases, it's about crowdsourcing lens creation... for both quantitative and qualitative gains.
– The qualitative part can be seen in the range of use cases thought up by lens creator communities. 
– We got to see a small sample of that phenomenon at work in newly-minted Effect House creators. 
– One takeaway is that TikTok has a unique use case that could take AR in clever new directions. 
– For example, its co-creation ethos (e.g., duets) engenders AR lenses that evolve as they're shared. 
– In that sense, even lens creators are surprised by what other TikTok users end up doing with them. 
– Example: a "what kind of pet would you be" lens inspired videos of users drawing themselves as that pet.
– These randomizers are a popular AR format on TikTok, which generate a designation based on your face.
– This also demonstrates that advanced immersive AR (e.g. SLAM) isn't needed for successful effects.
– The name of the game is simple fun and whimsy, such as randomizers (simple box-shaped overlays).
– As for advice, start experimenting and don't make every lens perfect... just get it out there. 
– There are brands taking an interest in AR marketing so you could even get paid work building lenses.
– Looking forward, the panel agrees that value will amplify when AR is hands-free (read: glasses). 

For more color from panel, check out the full session below...

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