If you use Instagram marketing to promote your brand, you probably already know the power of Instagram Stories. In 2019, every day, over 500 million Instagram accounts accessed IG Stories.
Being aware of the popularity of Stories, Instagram keeps coming up with innovative features like stickers, music, and many more, to help users create interesting Stories. In this series, Instagram’s AR filter is yet another unique feature for B2C and B2B lead generation companies.
In 2017, Instagram first introduced AR filters and allowed only selected Instagram accounts like GUCCI, Adidas, or Nike to use it. But later in 2019, Facebook’s Spark AR Studio allowed every Instagram user to customize AR filters.
That means if you are looking for new Instagram followers today, you should better start using AR filters instantly. Oh, and if you are wondering that an AR filter is some high-tech thing and you require technical knowledge to use it, you are wrong.
Just follow this post, and you’ll know how easy it is to create your own Instagram AR filters and use them to expand your reach.
What’s exactly an Instagram AR Filter?
Augmented Reality (AR) is a popular social technology today with a market worth of $26.75 billion in 2021. Social media and gaming platforms like Snapchat and Pokemon Go are some of the mainstream AR technology adopters.
Instagram also took leverage from AR to let marketers better engage with their followers and promote their brands. AR filters are computer-generated elements that layer over your real-life images. Using a back or front camera, Instagram Stories viewers can use various AR filters in real-time.
Look at the Coca-Cola Polska Instagram Stories. They have created Coca-Cola bottles, cans, and many other cool AR filters to engage their customers.
Similarly, MAC Cosmetics uses AR filters to let their customers try different eyeshadows, lipsticks, and other makeup products before buying them. It is a great physiological technique to enhance virtual UX.
Excited about AR filters? Then, you can easily create your own using Facebook’s Spark AR Studio.
It is an awesome augmented reality platform for Mac and Windows. You just have to open Spark AR Studio on your computer and start customizing your brand-oriented AR filters with ready-to-use templates.
It is something similar to editing photos in Adobe Photoshop or Sketch.
Why should you use Instagram AR filters today?
Using Instagram AR filters offers a number of benefits, which include:
- Augmented technology is far more captivating than videos.
- Just like Facebook AR Ads, Instagram AR Ads are coming very soon.
- Simplify the online shopping experience as users can try it before placing their orders.
- Give a push to your Instagram marketing efforts.
- It’s an easy and free way to use robust augmented reality technology in your brand promotions.
- It is a great way to practice content syndication and repurposing.
Different types of AR filters with examples
Let’s take a look at the different types of AR filters you can use for Instagram marketing in 2021.
Color adjusting filter
It is one of the first used AR filters. Using it, users can change the color of their camera feeds in real-time.
Brands use this filter to adjust their brand’s colors or campaign visuals into Stories.
Selena Gomez’s rainbow light filter created to promote her song, “Rare,” is a perfect example of color filters.
As the name suggests, beauty brands use these AR filters on Instagram. This allows users to try different products virtually.
For example, Kylie Cosmetics often creates AR filters for users to try different lipstick shades and other cosmetics via their Stories. Their recent filter is Stormi Butterfly, which is super cute and a good way to attract female users.
This filter category went viral when Jimmy Fallon asked people on his show, “Which Disney Character Are You?,” around December 2019. Shortly, this filter became so popular on Instagram that everyone started using it from coffee to shoe brands.
Look at Hootsuite’s random filter below for a better understanding of random filters.
It is yet another interactive filter style that brands use to interact with their customers.
For example, AussieTheatre created a filter where people have to guess music made up from emojis.
These filters are the most used ones, especially the one where users have to catch falling objects using their mouths.
The Singapore Tourism Board AR filter below is quite unique. You can try something like this one. However, unless you don’t have a unique idea to incorporate game filters in your brand promotions, don’t use them.
These filters allow users to place 3D objects in real life. It is a favorite filter for many brands like GUCCI. Look at this cool real-world filter, Aria, by GUCCI.
This one is a quite unique type of AR filter. It automatically triggers upon locating a targeted image predetermined by the brand.
Just like this Domino’s Singapore filter that only triggers when the user points towards Domino’s pizza box.
In these filters, the user’s face or something else is cut off to present in the 3D background. It is a great way to offer an immersive virtual experience to your users.
The Face Art filter below is the right use of immersive filters.
Don’t you like any of these Instagram AR filters?
No worries, you can easily customize AR filters to make them suitable for your Instagram marketing strategies with Spark AR Studio.
So, let’s create your unique IG filter now!
How to create Instagram AR filters using Spark AR Studios
Here is the step-by-step process you should follow to create and use your own AR filters:
Step 1: Download Spark AR Studios
Spark AR Studio is a free software program for Mac and Windows to create cool AR-driven Instagram content.
Simply, open the Spark AR Studio website or go to your dedicated App Store to download the program.
Step 2: Select your AR filter
Next, you have to decide whether you want to create AR filters from scratch or by using any of the eight filter type templates (mentioned above). It is recommended that you should start by using a template, and once you get the hang of the tool, you can customize AR filters.
Step 3: Start your masterpiece
Once you’ve selected your template, you will see a placeholder object panel called Viewport. You will create your AR filter using this panel.
You can change the simulator type as per your requirements using the Simulator drop-down menu. On the left panel, you will find multiple options to edit your Instagram AR filters.
Step 4: Upload your media files
You can either get free 3D animated visuals from the free Spark AR Studio library or upload them from your device.
Step 5: Edit your media
Now, using the Scene panel, you will have to adjust the behavior of your uploaded media content. You can edit how it looks, interacts, and moves in the real world to promote your brand.
For example, you can modify the intensity and color of the ambient light in your filter.
If you further explore the Scene panel, it offers many other editing features, which enable you to:
- Adjust direction light to add a 3D effect to an object.
- Choose whether the filter should work with back, front, or both cameras.
- Tweak 3D animations.
- Add extra elements, textures, effects, animations, and other components to your filter.
Step 6: Test your filter
Now, you can send a test file through your Instagram or Facebook account to see how your filter looks in real-time. If you have downloaded the Spark AR Studio app, you can test your AR filters within it.
Step 7: Publish your filter
Just below the “Test on Device” button, you will find the “Upload” button that will immediately publish your filter.
However, remember one thing, your new effects won’t be published right away. First, Spark AR Studio will review your creative to ensure that it meets all of their terms and policies. It might take a few days or weeks, so be patient!
Where to find Instagram AR filters
If you don’t want to create your own Instagram AR filters yet, you can use pre-existing filters to engage your followers.
Wondering where to find them?
Here you go:
Instagram Effect Gallery
You can browse popular AR filters and stickers on Instagram Effect Gallery as follows:
- Open the Instagram camera and click on “Effects.”
- Scroll down till you reach the end of the effect tray.
- Click on “Browse More Effects” and pick the AR filter that you want to use.
You can check out your friends’ and family members’ Instagram Stories and click on the “Try It Button” to create Stories using different filters. In addition, you can visit different brands’ Instagram profiles under the three-star tab to use their AR filters.
Instagram links or messages
All Instagram AR filters or stickers can be shared through links and messages. Just tap on the effect, click on “Send to,” or tap “More,” and then click on “Share Effect Link” to share the filter with others through a URL. You can ask your friends to share new filters with you.
Best practices to create Instagram AR filters
Instagram AR filters are powerful tools for businesses to engage, retain, and grow their Instagram user bases. But it requires lots of creativity and planning to create one dynamic AR filter.
Here are a few best options to use AR effects to grow your business on Instagram:
Solve a purpose
AR filters aren’t all about fun or entertainment. A good AR effect is one which can help people learn something while making them laugh.
Doesn’t that make sense?
Then, take a look at some keynotes:
- Allow people to share their personal aesthetic and creativity.
- Let users capture their emotions through your filters.
- An effect should give people the opportunity to create interesting Stories and share them with their friends.
- Help users support a cause or movement through effects.
Create reusable AR filters
The best practice here is to create reusable effects that people can use over and over again. For this, you have to minimize the use of animation or 3D graphics and make a content hero – something like this Stan Smith effect by Adidas.
They have simply created a green and white AR frame where users can record themselves. People can use it repeatedly and even share it with their friends.
Don’t make it all about your brand
The worst mistake that you can commit while creating Instagram AR filters is making it 100% brand-centric.
Now, branding is indeed a vital part of the AR effect. But if your effects only talk about the brand and give no value, people can’t use them again or share them with their friends.
So, keep your branding limited to logos, brand colors, mascots, or products. And then, add some useful or fun content that can engage your followers.
This Groove On filter by Ray-Ban is the best example here. It only has signature Ray-Ban shades that users can wear in the real world and cool groove music and meter. So, fewer and more phenomena work in AR filters too.
Easy and fun filters always win
Mostly, AR filters are between 30-75 seconds. That means you have less than a minute to convince people to try your effects. So, you shouldn’t waste a second and make your effects easy and fun from the start.
Users should understand the intent of the effect instantly when they tap on it. Importantly, the effect must have a way to entertain people like both front and back camera use or catchy content.
Break the box
Yes, don’t think outside the box while creating AR filters. That’s because everyone else is doing that already. You have to break the box and create something that no one has ever thought of. It sounds hard, but you can do that with lots of practice and creative brainstorming.
Over to you: Start using AR filters now!
There you go, peeps!
This guide has touched on all of the relevant topics you need to know before creating your Instagram AR filters. I briefed you on how to use Spark AR Studio, the different types of AR filters available, and the best practices to create unique AR filters.
So, now it’s over to you — how you use your creativity and brand identity to create and use some innovative AR effects for your Instagram Stories.
However, on parting thoughts, Instagram is a visual-based platform so keep your effects trendy, aesthetically stimulating, and engaging. Rest do whatever you want to do, people!