Updated: Aug 25
Hello! My name’s Paul and I make brilliant climate-positive AR Filters for Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and TikTok. Brands we've worked with include the NBA, Beats by Dre, ESPN, Hitachi, Nissan, FIFA, Marks & Spencer, Gorillaz, Mclaren, various charities and music artists. You can try some of them at www.gloam.io.
Apple CEO Tim Cook's comments 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 in 2023. You can increase your reach and use of your Instagram AR Filter with new AR Ads on Instagram, 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 of 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 AR Filter on Instagram or Facebook.
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 say 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 in 2023 too.
How to make your own BRANDED Instagram AR Filter
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 use 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.
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 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 [UPDATE: icon changed to ✨]. 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].
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 thousands of different AR Filters in the Instagram Effect Gallery (Warning: you can get lost down this rabbit hole for hours). The AR Filter Effect Gallery can also be found on any Instagram profile that has an Instagram Filter.
How to share your AR Filter using Instagram reels
Your Instagram Reels are where AR Filters work really well. Once your AR Filter is live and ready to share the first place to share this will be on Instagram Reels. This is where your followers and more importantly non-followers will able to easily try the filter right from their feed.
promote your ar filter with a link sticker on Instagram Stories
Next, it's time to share it on your Instagram Stories for your followers to see and try it. Note, non-followers rarely see your Instagram Stories.
Using Owned, Earned and Paid channels to distribute your Filter
Post & hope has long been dead as a tactic to increase your reach. To 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 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
How to create a QR Code for your Instagram AR filteR
When your AR Filter has been published, a QR code is automatically generated. You can redesign and download this from your Instagram profile. You also have the option to take the AR Filter and create your own QR code. You can share these QR codes online, on physical materials like flyers and at events. Users can simply point their phone cameras at the QR code and the AR Filter will open.
Instagram now automatically creates a QR code for your AR Filter
Using INSTAGRAM and 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.
How to upload your Filter with Facebook Ads Manager
How to see videos from people who use your Instagram AR Filter (FREE UGC)
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.
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 on Instagram), Captures (the number of times your effect has 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 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 several simple ways you can do this to get the most out of your Instagram Filter.
If you’re still here, thanks for reading. And if you have any questions feel free to email me at email@example.com.