Experiencing business growth on Instagram is a massive benefit of undertaking Instagram marketing for your brand. One feature that stands out when it comes to engaging Instagram followers is Instagram Stories. As of 2019, 500 million accounts used Instagram Stories daily, with 67% of Instagram users being between the ages of 18 and 29. Instagram Stories allow for greater interaction through the use of polls, questions, filters, and a lot more. Instagram’s AR filters for Stories is an addition to the platform that businesses can make use of to gain more real Instagram followers and boost business growth. Here’s everything you need to know about creating and using Instagram AR filters for your business.
Instagram AR filters
AR (augmented reality) filters are effects generated by computers that are layered over the real-life image displayed by your camera. With Instagram Stories, AR filters alter the image displayed by a person’s front/back camera.
These AR filters for Instagram Stories differ from the pre-set filters on Instagram because they’re exclusively available on Stories while the pre-set filters help to enhance picture quality by making quick edits to pictures before they’re posted to Instagram.
Face filters were added to Instagram in 2017 and immediately became popular among Instagram users. At first, these were only made and controlled by Instagram, but in the month of May in 2018, Instagram created a closed beta of brands, celebrities, public figures, and popular creators to come up with face filters for their Instagram followers through the Spark AR Studio platform of Facebook.
Instagram followers of those who were part of Instagram’s closed beta program could easily make use of the filters created by visiting the business profile and selecting the new face icon. The introduction of the Effects Gallery also made it easy to discover and try out certain filters from the community of creators on Instagram.
As of May 2019, Facebook announced that custom building AR filters through the Spark AR Studio platform would be made possible for everyone. The platform made it possible for the public to come up with original AR effects for Instagram Stories, Portal, Facebook Stories, and Messenger.
How using AR filters for Instagram Stories can help your brand
If you’re a business that is specifically trying to grow by targeting younger people, using AR filters for Instagram is a great option. It’s trendy, interactive, and is a great way to capture and sustain the attention of your audience. It can even end up fetching you more Instagram likes for your feed posts by helping you build the number of real Instagram followers you have. Here are some ways that using AR filters for Instagram Stories can promote business growth.
Flaunt your brand’s personality
By creating the right AR filter for your brand, you can communicate your brand’s personality in a powerful way and draw in more Instagram followers, especially if it’s a fun or a playful AR filter. Such customization can help your audience get to know your brand’s personality more easily and set you apart from your competition.
Connect with your audience
Through customization of AR filters for use in Instagram Stories, you can help your Instagram followers feel more connected to your brand. Since over 500 million users engage with Stories on a daily basis, including an interactive feature in your Stories in the form of an AR filter can help to improve engagement of your audience with your brand.
Stay ahead of your competition
The use of custom AR filters in Instagram Stories is still in the nascent stage, which means that not a lot of brands are using them as yet. This gives you a massive opportunity to take advantage of the benefits the feature offers and stay ahead of your competition.
Promote awareness of your brand
Using custom AR filters, you can include the logo or mascot of your brand in the form of an AR filter. As long as it’s not a promotional AR filter, it’ll be displayed in the Effects Gallery of Instagram, which gives new users an opportunity to find it, thereby helping to grow the number of Instagram followers you have. When someone shares a selfie using your customized AR filter, you benefit from greater brand exposure through a wider reach with their Instagram followers. Users will be able to try out the AR filter by clicking the “try it” button on the bottom left of their screen.
Use it for online shopping
Using AR filters can be a great way to allow your Instagram followers to try on a product before deciding whether or not to buy it. While Instagram has made changes to the platform to give users smooth shopping experience, using AR filters helps to take it up a notch by allowing users to actually try on products and see whether or not they like how it looks. The possibilities with the use of AR filters for your brand are endless, and you have all the freedom to get creative with them.
If you’re a cosmetic brand, you can use AR filters to allow your Instagram followers to try on makeup. Virtual fitting rooms can be created with AR filters for fashion brands where people can try on outfits to determine how it will look and whether or not it compliments their shape and style. Even furniture businesses can make use of AR filters so that people can see what a particular piece of furniture would look like in their homes. The personalized experience made possible through the use of AR filters can help to establish stronger connections and boost engagement with your target audience. There’s also a new feature that’s currently being tested, which will enable brands to add AR filters to their product pages.
Use it to support causes
You can create a customized AR filter to shed light on a cause that’s important to your brand and its audience. By doing this, not only will you be creating an opportunity to have an interactive experience with your audience, but you’ll also be promoting brand image and credibility by aligning your brand with a worthy cause it supports. This can help your Instagram followers connect with you at a personal level and build brand loyalty.
Creating AR filters using Spark AR Studios
Download Spark AR Studio
This is currently available for Mac and Windows.
Make a decision about your effect
Once you’ve downloaded Spark AR Studio, you need to go through the tutorials of the interface of the program in the Learning Center and then make a decision about whether you want to choose from among eight templates or make a filter from scratch.
A placeholder object will appear in the central panel (viewport) if you choose a template. The Simulator where you can preview your work is the iPhone 8 that’s in the corner, but this can be changed to another device. The Scene panel to the left is what you’ll use to make edits to your Instagram Stories AR filters.
Upload a 3D asset
You will then have to select a 3D asset for your AR filter, which you can either import on your own or select from the AR Library which has animations, free audio files, and a lot more.
Make edits to the uploaded graphic
With the help of the Scene panel, you can make edits to your uploaded graphic. You can give your 3D object more depth by changing the directional light as well as alter its animation. You can even add more animations, materials, and textures to your object and decide on whether the AR effect is available for use with the front camera, back camera, or both.
Test your effect
Download the Spark AR Player app to test your effect or send it to Instagram to see how it works in Stories.
Publish your effect
Click on the upload button in the bottom left corner just below the “test on device” button to do this, but bear in mind that the effect you create won’t be published right away. It’ll be reviewed to ensure that it meets the policies and guidelines of Spark AR Studio. The review process can take up to 1 week or may just be a few days, but you’ll have to wait it out.
With more experimentation, you’ll learn how to use this platform like a pro to create AR filters that are sure to capture the attention of your Instagram followers.
Serve a need
Your filters are likely to be a lot more popular if they serve a need that people have, which may be to:
- Express themselves aesthetically
- Capture emotions/actions
- Add humor/get inspired
- Be part of a larger community
Let the person shine
If you want people to be using your AR filter often, you have to make it such that it adds an edge to people’s content without stealing the spotlight from their content.
Use minimal branding
Focus on aspects of your brand like color, design, mascots, or products and not on overt branding through logos because heavy branding won’t sit well even with your real Instagram followers.
There’s so much you can do with AR filters on Instagram that can promote business growth. Whether you create your own effects or incorporate existing ones, planning it well in your Instagram marketing strategy can yield several benefits for your business, so get started already with this cool new feature and see what’s in store for you.