Influencer Marketing

A Fresh 2020 Look at Spark AR Studio and AR Filters

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We have a confession: we’ve been snooping around Instagram to discover what tactics brands and influencers have chosen to kick off their campaigns in the new year. But we weren’t looking for just any kind of tactics. We wanted to pin-point those specific novel approaches that have the biggest chances of making it as trends. And guess what? Augmented reality (AR) filters are in heavy rotation! 

Ever since last August when Instagram opened the AR filters platform for everybody, the face-filter movement has taken a life of its own. With all creators free to download Spark AR Studio and create their own AR filters, the world of Instagram Stories changed and marketing strategies have also transformed. Here’s the overview on AR filters and why you should start using them. ASAP, EOD and high-priority. 

What are AR filters?

Generically speaking, AR designates any virtual content that can be morphed with real life images through photo or video manipulation. In the universe of social media, AR filters are augmented reality effects that act as layers. 

AR filters by danmollervfx

Instagram Stories have been strongly connected to AR filters since their beginnings. Nobody can forget the cute-sie face filters, head arrow and puppy eyes that made even the most plain selfie worth posting as a Story. Admit it, in your moments of boredom, you’ve tried them all. Times have changed, but AR filters seem here to stay, with a few small improvements. At the F8 Conference in 2019, Facebook announced they will be giving a few select users the opportunity to create their own AR filters. Fast-forward to August and, well, you know what happened.

AR filters on Instagram range from face-overlapping effects to randomized quizes that answer questions such as “what type of [insert idea] are you?” or “which character from [insert highly-popular movie/TV series] are you?” and the sort.

AR filters by natali.zmi

How to use AR filters created by others

If you’re a novice at using AR filters, the best way to get started is by playing around with a few already existing effects. You won’t find any preloaded AR filters in your Instagram Stories editor, but there are several ways in which you can begin to upload and use them.

  1. When you stumble upon a friend’s story that incorporates an AR filter, check out the upper left corner of the story. There you’ll find listed the name of the filter, as well as the user who created it. Tap on the name and you’ll be able to use the AR filter and also save it.
  2. If you saw a cool AR filter, but the story is no longer available, you can always ask the friend who used it to share it with you. In they have the AR effect saved, all they have to do is open their Instagram Camera, select the filter and opt for “Send to”. 
  3. Check-out the profiles of already-famous AR filter creators. On their profiles, you’ll see a new tab where all their AR filters are stored. Simple tap your favorite effect to use it. Since the world of Instagram moves so fast, certain AR-influencers have already emerged. Take for example @filippo.soccini, @natali.zmi, @anton.alpen, @juliataskaeva and @arnopartissimo. Their filters have made it big in 2020. But more on that later. 
AR filters creator Filippo Soccini

Why create your own AR filters?

AR filters are perfect for marketing managers and who want to promote branded content in an attractive, authentic way. When done right, AR filters have high chances of adoption and promise to magnify awareness. Leveraging exponential spread and reach, AR filters are creative tools that can be used strategically or purely for fun. We prefer both. Always!

AR filters are also a great way to start collaborations with influencers out of your domain area. Since effects’ creators don’t take into consideration specific industries, you can expand your audience by working with new influencers. Creating your own filters in collaboration with already established creators will not only extend your reach, but it will also help you refresh your content strategy with new ideas. 

So, if you’re hooked on the idea of AR filters (Instagram users worldwide surely are), download Spark AR Studio to get started. Wait, what’s Spark AR Studio?

Get creative with Spark AR Studio

Spark AR Studio is the creative platform that enables creators of all experience levels to create advanced effects. The Facebook team boasts about the platform’s easy-to-use templates and advanced customization features. There’s already a well knit community built around the platform and that’s a great place to start if you want to dive into creating AR filters. 

AR filters Spark AR Studio Dashboard

So, how do you begin the AR journey? There are a bunch of Facebook free assets compiled in a library you can use: sound files, 3D objects, high-fidelity models, animated objects and much more. You can begin to mix and match or, if you’re feeling frisky, you can experiment with creating your own effects from scratch: texture, materials, shapes, they are all under your control. 

To use Spark AR Studio, you don’t have to be a 3D expert or have any coding experience. You can start whipping creative AR effects in just a few simple steps. And we’ll certainly be coming up with a Spark AR Studio tutorial shortly. However, if you want to go all out, you can hire a team of JavaScript devs and 3D modelers to work their magic.

To publish and manage your effects you’ll need to use Spark AR hub. This is also the place where you’ll be able to analyse insights to plan your next move. 

Examples of AR filters campaigns

Now for the fun part: a run through some of the most hillarious and ingenious filters we’ve stumbled upon. In no particular order, here goes:

Chipotle gives a great example of how to use augmented reality filters to promote customer affinity. Leveraging a fun strategic marketing approach, the “What type of Chipotle customer are you?” filter and its witty answers hits it out of the ballpark. 

Chipotle's AR Filter

Taco Bell discovered how to promote their products while delivering the kind of silly-fun visuals Instagram users love. By using the Taco Bell filter, Instagramers can find out if their personality resembles a burrito (filled with all the yummy stuff) or a taco (hard shell to break?). Who here wants to be a quesadilla instead (cheesy and proud!).

@filippo.soccini hit the AR jackpot with his witty “2020 predictions” filter. Chances are you’ve seen it around your Instagram Stories quite often, since everybody is dying to know what the new decade has in store. Good catch, good catch. If you’re in for some innocent (or not that innocent — see the “am I GOOD or EVIL” effect) fun, Filippo has other filters worth checking out.

Not all AR filters have to be silly. @basphi‘s collection is augmented proof. This Instagram creator goes for minimalist B&W filters that are elegant and classy.

Surreal, but with a message — that’s how we’d describe @ineslongevial‘s filters. From her meaningful “Save the Planet Mask” to her pure-fun “Color Mask”, her creations are vibrant, genuine, fun and highly sharable.

Ready to get creative?

Don’t let all this inspiration go to waste. There’s no better time than “now” to create your own AR filters. Can’t wait to see what you put out there. Make sure you share with us in the comments’ section below.

Ilona Iftode is a copywriter with a taste for adventure. She lives to write, travel and explore new concepts in the realms of advertising, marketing, SEO and beyond.

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