Updated: Oct 15
The recent comments from Apple CEO Tim Cook that 'AR will change everything' has brands immediately thinking about how they can create their own Augmented Reality campaign. Instagram Filters and other AR social lenses are predicted to generate $13bn (£10bn) in ad revenue for brands by 2022. You can increase your reach and use of your Instagram AR Filter with new AR Facebook Ads, influencer outreach and user competitions. And use Facebook Pixels to increase and track conversions on your website due to your AR Filter.
What is Augmented Reality (AR) and why create a branded AR Filter on Instagram?
Augmented Reality (AR) filters are an interactive experience where digital images are superimposed into the real world. AR Filters work with your device's front and back camera, adding a layer or imagery in the foreground or background of your image. With over 500m monthly-active users Instagram is the most popular Augmented Reality platform.
The comment from Apple CEO Tim Cook that 'AR will change everything', has brands immediately thinking about how they can create their own Augmented Reality [AR] campaign. And now they can - easily, fast and cost-effectively with Instagram Filters.
Since that comment Facebook has opened up their Spark AR creator programme. Before that, to create an AR Filter for Instagram, you had to be a registered AR Filter creator. Now anyone can create and publish their own AR Filter on Instagram or Facebook.
Spark AR works with Facebook and Instagram Filters
The numbers for Instagram are immense. Along with there being more than 1bn people on the platform, these users are very active every day and month and 80% of people on Instagram saying they follow a brand they love on the platform. In terms of advertising, AR Filters are predicted to generate £10bn ($13bn) in ad revenue for brands by 2022 too.
How to make your own Instagram AR Filters, for any brand
As the technology improves there are ever-increasing different types of AR Filters brands can create. But as they stand they usually fall into two camps. Real-world AR effects, which uses the back-facing camera and can bring objects to life in the real world. And Face Filters, which use the front-facing camera and puts the user in the effect.
Brands like Netflix, Nike, Gucci, Lego, Addidas, Amazon are already creating their own Instagram Filters
Instagram Filter by Gorillaz [Parlophone Records]
How do you use AR on Instagram and how can your followers find Instagram Filters?
Once your effect has been created and published you’ll obviously want people to use it. If your brand has created an Instagram Filter it will be visible on your Instagram profile, where the smiley face is [see left image below]. And anyone who comes to your profile can see a 15-second demo video of your effect being used. And a TRY IT button on that video so they can also use it [right image].
Tap the smiley face icon on the Instagram profile to view and try Filters
The Instagram Effects Gallery
You can also find Instagram Filters (including yours) from anyone's own Instagram newsfeed.
Swipe right from your newsfeed
You'll then see a row of icons of recently used Instagram Filters and popular effects
Swipe the icons left until you come to the magnifying glass
Tap the magnifying glass to open the Instagram Effects Gallery
There are literally thousands of different Filters in the Instagram Effect Gallery. Warning: you can get lost down this rabbit hole for hours.
And the Effect Gallery can also be found from any Instagram profile that has an Instagram Filter.
Nike's Instagram Filter and the Instagram Filter Effect Gallery
Instagram Stories are perfect for sharing augmented reality AR Filters with your followers
Your Instagram Stories are where AR Filters work really well. This is where you can create a story announcing the launch of your AR Filter. You can do this by posting the And now they can - easily, fast and cost-effectively with Instagram Filters. people can use and interact with it.
'Swipe Up To Try' from Instagram Stories
People are more likely to buy a brand because of someone they know and trust has endorsed it for them. This is why it’s a no-brainer to consider having an influencer strategy as part of your Filter campaign. It’s trickle-down economics, you reach your new target audience when the influencer uses, shares endorses and encourages their followers to use your effect on their channels. And in turn, those followers, use it and encourage their followers to use it. And another great way to increase the use of your Filter is to run an
How to add your Filter to one of your Instagram Stories
How your followers can try your Instagram Filter from Instagram Stories
[Space Warp by Eddy Adams]
How to use Instagram Filters in Reels [Updated August 2020]
With the introduction of Reels - Instagram's answer to TikTok, Instagram Filters have had a massive exposure boost and they're super easy to find.
Where To Find Instagram Filters In Reels
Using Owned, Earned and Paid channels to distribute your Filter
Post & hope has long been dead as a tactic to increase your reach. To really expand your audience you need an outreach strategy that covers three primary channels Owned, Earned and Paid.
OWNED: the channels you have control over (social profiles, website, Mailchimp etc)
EARNED: the channels you'll need to build relationships to reach a bigger audience (influencers, press, partnerships)
PAID: the advertising channels you'll use to reach your target audience (Facebook & Instagram ads etc)
Why influencer competitions work for Instagram Filters
When your AR Filter has been published, you’re given a URL which you can turn into a QR code. You can then share this QR code online, on physical materials like flyers and at events. And QR codes now work straight from iPhone and Android cameras - no app needed. You just open your camera, point your phone at the QR code and a link will appear. s to use your effect on their channels. And in turn, those followers, use it and encourage their followers to use it. And another great way to increase the use of your Filter is to run an Instagram Filter competition. For example: Share a video of you using our Instagram Filter and we'll give a prize to the ten best.
Gucci's Eyes-o-Matic Instagram Filter
Using Facebook's new AR FILTER Ads
Advertising on Facebook and Instagram can be a cost-effect way of reaching the exact audience you want to reach (Approximately 20-50p per link click and £10 to reach 1000 people). And this effectiveness is down to Facebook's Tracking Pixel. A small piece of code that's installed on a website. Almost every site in the world has one installed. And when you visit that site and consent to cookies, you’re allowing that site to tell Facebook that you’ve visited. It then shares that info with Facebook advertisers. Read more about the Off-Facebook tool.
Facebook now lets you create ads for you AR Filter
How to upload your Filter with Facebook Ads Manager
How Facebook's AR Filter ads look in newsfeeds
Using an Instagram QR code for your AR Filter
When your AR Filter has been published, you’re given a URL which you can turn into a QR code. You can then share this QR code online, on physical materials like flyers and at events. And QR codes now work straight from iPhone and Android cameras - no app need. You just open your camera, point your phone at the QR code and a link will appear.
Example of an AR Filter QR code.
How to see videos from people who use your Instagram AR Filter (FREE UGC & social-proof content]
Sharing videos of real people using your AR Filter is an extremely powerful way to show social proof (validation) for your branded campaign. You can find these UGC/ Instagram Stories of anyone who's used your AR Filter in the last 24 hours right from your profile.
Click your AR Filter effect icon to view UGC from people who use your effect
Measuring the impact of your Instagram Filter campaign
Instagram and Facebook Filters are made in their AR studio, Spark AR. When you create and publish an effect you’re given an online dashboard where that effect lives. The dashboard shows the performance details of your effect, which are currently updated once a day. These include impressions (amount of times your Filter has been seen in Instagram), Captures (the number of times you effect ha been used) and Shares.
Filter analytics in the Spark AR dashboard
Making the most of the Facebook Pixel to track and optimise your Instagram Filter campaign
If you have ads on Facebook and Instagram's set up and for instance, you have a Filter which is try-before you buy (i.e. See what our new sunglasses look like on you). You can use Google Analytics and deploy Facebook PIxel to see how much it cost to drive people to your site and how many of those people bought your product. All down to your Instagram Filter.
To wrap up. Making and publishing your AR Filter is half of the campaign process. Just as important is the distribution strategy of your effect, and depending on your budget, audience and goals, there are a number of simple ways you can do this to get the most out of your Instagram Filter.