Ephemeral messaging app Snapchat does not wait around when ideas aren't working out: less than two months after opening up a "lens" store, the company said on Wednesday that it's shuttering it at the end of the week.
Snapchat first rolled out lenses, special effects that let users decorate their photos, in mid-September after acquiring Ukrainian startup Looksery which developed the facial recognition technology powering lenses. According to an update on the company's website, first reported by TechCrunch, users have until 12:01 a.m. Pacific on Friday to purchase any lenses from the store. After that, they'll still be able to use lenses they've purchased, as well as the rotating 10 free lenses that will be available everyday.
As the Los Angeles-based startup continues to shape its monetization strategy, it has decided to shift its resources to its advertising business and other projects, Snapchat told TechCrunch. A year ago, Snapchat introduced Discover, a separate section in its app where users can view bite-sized content from publishers and brands which is, of course, also filled with ads. Lenses and geofilters (location-specific digital sticker-like decorations users can put on their photos) are another way Snapchat is pulling in revenue by charging brands that wish to sponsor their own. According to a report from the Financial Times in October, Snapchat charges a brand $450,000 to $750,000 per day to sponsor a lens. The company is also reportedly building an application programming interface, or API, to let advertisers more easily purchase ads.
It's not clear whether the lens store was failing to attract the purchases the company hoped for—the $1 per lens price could have been a problem for the company's large teenaged user base. But advertising seems to be where Snapchat is finding the most money. In October, the Financial Times reported that the it's on track to reach its $100 million sales goal for 2015, double its original target for the year. This is in stark contrast with 2014, when Snapchat reportedly lost $128 million on $3 million in sales, according to confidential documents Gawker published in August.