Lens: It's Live!

Patreon Lens is a new content sharing feature in the Patreon mobile app that serves as the easiest way to give your patrons exclusive, behind-the-scenes content

Share in the moment
Lens makes it easy to capture and share your creative process without disrupting your flow.

Drive connection
Bring your patrons closer to you and your work with expressive, real-time updates.

Add value for your patrons
Exclusive updates via Lens are highly valued by fans, helping you gain patrons up front and retain them overtime.

More info on the blog!


Cool. Great to see it is actually part of the Patreon app and not a separate one.


Gave it a test… app is not formatted great for the iPhone X.

Also, it wasn’t obvious that my community could see the “Lens” updates without the mobile app themselves. Consequently, I sent out an update hoping folks would download it:


More feedback… unless i’m mistaken, it’s either Patrons or non-patrons (public). There’s no way to do Lens Updates for specific tiers, correct?

Issue with text being bumped over now with the new Lens Icon on the right.

This does not “stick”. In other words, if I turn off lightning my expectation is that it maintains that setting for the next Lens update.

There are a bunch of formatting / viewing issues in the editor.

Black bars on top / bottom (iPhone X).

Pulling in videos / images from my local device shows nothing… but that’s obviously not the case:

I did give it full permissions.

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Android user here. I recorded a video lens, posted it, and the app now crashes every time I try to open it. I can see my page, and the lens icon spinning, and then the whole thing crashes. Multiple feedback reports sent, with logs.

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Thanks @8bit – I realized I flagged this to the product team immediately, and they’re investigating. You may not hear back as they look into these issues.

@lisavollrath Ditto the thanks! We have a separate Android team looking at this.

I want to make certain you know this didn’t fall on deaf ears and that we’re looking into this.


Seeing the launch of Lens is Patreons promise to make more out of the Patreon App, I’m here with some improvements the app sorely needs.

  1. Chronological Feed of Creators Posts
    You know, like the one we got on the desktop Patreon page. Clicking on the individual creator to see their newest post is a ridiculous hassle.

  2. Making posts is extremely limited via the app. No scheduling, drafting, access to draft or anything! Either add all the options and features that Desktop Patreon have into the App, or sort out that ridiculous problem that you can’t write posts in Patreon Desktop Mode on Mobile.

Especially number 2 is essential if Patreon want creators to use their app. If anyone else have any other suggestions for app improvements, let’s hear it!


Thanks! We’ll keep an eye on this feedback too.

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I’m pretty careful with what I publish. Where do I find information on:

  • What notifications creating a new Lens pushes out to users (does creating a test Lens just to play with it bombard them?)
  • What a Lens looks like to non-Patrons? (Is it a big blurry block somewhere, like locked content?)

Are Lenses exactly the same as video posts, just with the timed deletion?

Are there any sample Lenses I can look at?


Yeah to have all the editable features in an app that there are on the browser, it’s very frustrating that sometimes I can post via the app and then realise I need to edit part of it. I avoid posting via the app now because it’s so clunky and slow.

Also with lens, I can’t record without holding it down to record, which is all very well, but what if i’m trying to record me painting? It’s very hard to do that without being able to fix it somewhere and be hands free.


It seems like modelling this as a SnapChat clone was a good idea in theory, but with Patreon, I think I’d prefer having a bit more permanence and freedom attached.

I would love for the ability for Patrons to view Lens posts on desktop at their convenience, with no time limit attached. The feeling that you missed out on a window to view something, even though you’ve paid to receive it, is kind of unsettling.

What I’m personally hoping for is something that strikes a balance between Snapchat and YouTube. As I type this however, I think I realize that the Snapchat model likely aids in the reduction of required server space, and that running a full-fledged YouTube/streaming service might be out of the question for Patreon at the moment.


Already, with the limited use I’ve been able to get with this feature: having to hold the button down while recording video is pretty limiting for those of us who do things that involve using both hands.

Also, my users tend to be less tech savvy. Of 40, only 5 use the app right now. It would be great of lenses could be made available to folks who don’t use the app.

And why the heck do lenses disappear after 24 hours?

I agree with all the suggestions for improving the app, and bringing the functionality in line with the desktop version of Patreon. I find it very frustrating that I can’t save a draft. For a while, I could, and I used that to move photos from my phone to a post, and then wrote the text for the posts on my desktop, next time I was sitting at the computer. It was a very handy way to load up a bunch of images, and get them ready to become scheduled posts.

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I do the exact same, but because the draft function doesn’t work in the app, I just go to patreon in the browser on my phone – which is really not ideal on such a small screen let me tell you! At the moment I have no other use for the app…

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Yeah, the time limit is a huge concern to me. People are paying for content, they should have the entire month to view content because that’s the time frame in which they have paid for access. I get that it’s likely a storage space issue but really.

So far, my patrons don’t actually want me to use Lens and I don’t blame them. Dissapearing content is kinda rude honestly, for paid content, especially 24 hours. Can you really expect all patrons to have time to view something before it’s gone? I certainly cannot and wont expect that. I’d love to be able to have content i have more control over. I want to be able to set the time frames and from just the feedback i’ve seen here, it looks like it needs some work so i’m in no rush to use it even as a test. (With my patrons being happy with how i’m running things currently, i don’t thing I’ll ever need to use it but i see why it may come in handy for other people so i hope it gets the attention it needs to make it a fully functioning and easy product to use.)


Last time I tried to upload photos using Chrome on my phone, I got a message from Patreon saying I should install the app. I got bounced out of the post screen every time I tried to do it.

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Hi @8bit, I’m Johnny, the Product Manager for Lens and the Mobile app. Thank you for highlighting and sharing such detailed feedback. As Carla mentioned we’ve started investigating the issues you raised and hope to address them as soon as possible.

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Okay, so, I’ve fully jumped into it (as you can see above) and feel as if I have a good perspective on what your intent is and some opportunities for improvement… maybe.

Some Positives…

  1. The community digs it. They like seeing these quick, unprofessional views of what’s going on behind-the-scenes. These have the potential to “fill in the gaps” while longer form content is being generated / created.
  2. The ephemeral nature of it is definitely an obvious hat-tip to snapchat and the community “gets it” - I’ve read a few comments from other creators and for those that don’t quite get it… well, it’s a snapchat thing. And that’s a good thing… which leads me to the…
  3. … Interface, although needing a bit of refining and updating, I don’t mind it not being a full snapchat clone, with all of the bells and whistles and stickers and :poop:… i like the simplicity and please don’t bloat it.

Some Opportunities…

  1. App is slow and buggy and breaks. Uploads seem to take way too long and button-presses don’t seem to always “get pressed”. Unexpected behavior is normal. I’ve mentioned a few of those things above.
  2. We must have a way for non-app users to be notified that a new Lens Update has been dropped on desktop / web. This will provide obvious on-ramps for downloading the app and keeping those folks engaged.
  3. A way to respond or at least “like” an update. We live and die by responses to our content and folks have had to jump to older posts to “comment” on a Lens Update, which is obvious bad or disjointed in form. My gut is saying that we can add a comment layer, but, that might not be the best solution…
  4. At first I was a bit upset about not being able to create Lenses for specific Tiered Groups but that’s because we’ve spent the last 5 or 6 months optimizing our Tiers and Pricing and we’re emotionally in the mode of making sure we’re delivering the right type of content to the right paying customer. But, after giving it a good test today I realized that I don’t believe that’s what Lens is really for… but, you tell me. Technically-speaking, creating multiple streams of Lenses based on Tier feels like an engineering nightmare (I’m a software engineer) so… I feel the pain on this one…
  5. Instead, I think Lens, if optimized, can be a massive tool for not only getting more folks onboard but also upselling (e.g. inside sales-ish). I think combining the optimizations with the right education for us creators… we can find and strike the right balance. If we can also get more signals for those who aren’t on the app… this could be a big winner.

Please continue to iterate and keep it simple. I think I “feel” as if it’s found a good “spot” within our larger framework and strategy… but, I’ll give some more feedback after a week or so.

Rock on.


Thanks for these questions @michaelprescott

Currently when you post to Lens patrons get notified with push notifications (if they have them enabled) after you don’t post to Lens for 10 minutes. For example if you made your first Lens post then waited 5 minutes, then posted again. Your patrons would be notified 10 minutes after the second post and they would only receive 1 notification. Patrons only receive notifications at most once per hour.

For non-patrons. Lens will show blurred patron-only content and visible public content. At the end of your Lens patrons will see how many clips they would get access to if they became a patron.

Lenses are similar to video posts that expire, but they are integrated more natively into the Patreon app than say a video hosted on Youtube.

Currently there aren’t any sample Lenses available, but you can search twitter for “Patreon Lens” to find some creators that are using it. If you want you can DM me and I’ll give you some creators that I pledge to on Patreon who I think are making really interesting use of Lens.


Thans, Johnny.

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posted this on twitter but i have no idea why you thought people would pay for snapchat, which is already free. why would they pay for mere seconds of content that disappears. how did this idea get out of the starting gate.

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… probably because snapchat is, in many ways, a pretty amazing success story of a product.

i think it’s all in how you use it, tbh. i’ve found that my audience enjoys the quick takes, behind the scenes… more raw-like encounters with me than my more lengthy, drawn-out posts.

it’s an opportunity to show “another side” of you that might actually resonate… hell, it might actually boost patron count…!