Reality can be bleak sometimes and we long for something extra ordinary to perk up our mundane existence. Looking at the world with rose tinted glasses does help in boosting our spirits. Thats where AR filters come in.
Unless you live under a digital rock, you have most likely seen or been someone who has done one of these things in their social media posts in recent times: an eye patch à la the pirates, swapped their face with a teddy bear or simply teleported themselves to the Swiss Alps while sitting at home counting the unending days of this pandemic.
What are AR Filters All About?
Augmented Reality is where objects that appear in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated images. AR filters are the exact same: you enhance what your camera sees with computer-generated graphics or noises.
Augmented reality filters superimpose graphics and virtual effects onto a live video. They can give you puppy ears, draw rainbows on your forehead, give you sunglasses, add balloons or hearts in the background — and that’s just the beginning.
The idea is to create an interactive experience for your followers that they can then record and post to their Stories.
What Makes AR Filters a Necessity In Marketing?
AR filters are a fun way to increase brand awareness and engage with your audience. They can introduce new followers to your business and help existing followers get to know you better and interact with you more. Filters aren’t reserved for silly photos or special occasions, but they are surprisingly powerful for brands.
When you create a custom AR filter on social media like Instagram, you connect your brand’s name and account to the filter. Anyone who uses your filter will see your company information. Disney, Adidas, and Gucci are just some of the big names utilizing the power of AR filters for their brands.
These custom filters show the company’s logo, or put the brand’s characters directly into your photo. Filters effectively put a brand’s assets all over your photos.
When you share your picture AR filters, you are also sharing their brand.
Bringing In Organic Traffic
Adidas did not have to target you or pay for your click. They simply put up a free AR filter on Instagram and let it do the heavy lifting. Someone who follows Adidas may find the filter through their account, or someone unconnected with the brand could discover it while scrolling through available filters. Either way, once a picture is taken and shared using the filter, Adidas has effectively expanded their reach.
The power of AR filters rests in its ability to exponentially increase a brand’s exposure in a short period of time. One follower shares the filter and their followers share the filter with their followers. The pattern continues until countless people have seen or used the filter, plastering a brand’s name and social media account all over Instagram.
The exponential power of AR Filters in marketing
Filters Work Subtly – Don’t Have To Go Viral
Sharing an Instagram AR filter is free. If it is done well, it costs relatively little money to create and promote. You do not have to have a viral Instagram AR filter to be successful. With such a little investment in the tool, almost any payoff is profit. Micro or “nano” influencers are becoming increasingly popular and powerful because of their niche audiences.
If one of your current followers or customers uses your custom filter and shares it with a friend, you have effectively expanded your reach.
You won’t reach all 1 billion users on Instagram, but you can reach audiences that are interested in your brand and content. Over time, your filter has reached a targeted audience that is interested in your content.
Engaging Content Always Works!
The whole purpose of Instagram AR filters is to create something that people will want to interact with and share.
You want users to follow your brand or visit your Instagram profile once they find your custom filter. Your content has to be interesting enough to make them go through the extra step. Through engaging content, you can drive organic traffic back to your own social media channel and your website.
Create a Virtual Showroom
Virtual showrooms are another hidden AR utility—as most shoppers have become well-acquainted with them, as it is. The go-to example when identifying the modern digital showroom is Warby Parker, the glasses distributor.
It hands off its products to customers—allowing them to test out a number of sizes, colors, and frame measurements before any checkout lines make an appearance. This is possible, however, due to Warby Parker’s keen approach to digital show-rooming with its incredibly minimalist in design Home Try-On program, arguably, created an entirely new retail model within the showroom scene’s concept entirely.
Brands Having Success with AR Filters In Marketing Is Undeniable
Just think of all the branded filters you’ve seen recently. We’ve already mentioned Kylie Cosmetic’s lip kit try-on filters and Adidas’ nostalgic VHS-style filter, but there are countless others.
Kylie Cosmetics Instagram filter with branding information.
Gucci Beauty created a filter that turns you into a renaissance portrait. Off-White lets you try on their sunglasses through Instagram. The NBA launched a dunk cam filter that went viral.
All of these brands have greatly increased their organic traffic by harnessing the power of Instagram’s AR filters.
AR Filters in Instagram
In 2019, Instagram and Facebook launched their Spark AR studio letting anyone create and share their own filters. The filter game just got more exciting and bigger as more brands are trying to use these filters to not only engage and entertain their customers but to also deliver powerful brand messaging.
1. Make-Up Filters
We MakeUp, the Italian cosmetics brand was one of the first movers who started experimenting with the Facebook AR ads. Their goal was to find new prospective customers and generate sales. For this purpose, they created an AR filter that allowed users to ‘try-on’ different shades of its lipstick; find their perfect match and make the purchase right away. The ad-creative involved a video that demonstrated the filter’s use encouraging users to try the filter for themselves.
The campaign was a huge success with 53% higher CTR and a 28-point lift in sales when compared to video-only ads.
Similarly, Mac cosmetics recently launched their make-up filter where users can try-on different kinds of eyelashes and their shades.
Try now on Instagram here.
2. Festival-based Filters
Coca-Cola came up with a Christmas offering for its Instagram followers. The beverage brand used its brand mascot, a Polar bear, holding a Coke bottle and sporting a branded scarf – dancing in your living room. The campaign was a festival hit and users clicked pictures posing with the polar bear.
Taco Bell, America’s best know Mexican food chain was one of the first brands to experiment with AR filters. The filter replaced user’s heads with a giant Taco and had Taco Bell’s logo in the bottom corner. Even though available for just one day, Cinco de Mayo 5th May, the filter was used by more than 100 million users.
3. Gamified AR Filters
If you don’t recognize or trust a brand you may avoid using its branded filter in your photo frame. MIB, Sony pictures’ movie franchise, overcame this barrier by coming up an engaging game that asked the user to look for and shoot aliens in their surroundings. The game not only introduced the film’s characters and concept but also had a CTA, in the end, to allow users to engage with further movie-related content like its trailer and even book ticket.
Frooti, India’s favourite mango flavoured drink, created a game that tracked users’ head. Users can enable their camera and could catch falling mangoes when they opened their mouths.
4. Brand-based Photo Frame Filters
Purina, Nestle’s petcare company, created a photo frame based filter around a Dog show event that it sponsored. The filter featured paparazzi sound effects and promoted the petcare brand along with promoting its dog show event.
Headspace, popular guided meditation app, created its filter to introduce the elements of its app. The filter has calming music along with blue and orange brand colours – giving their customers a peek into how their app experiences will be.
5. Fashion & Lifestyle Brands
Fashion and lifestyle brands pay special attention to their social media handles and are always on the lookout for newer ways to engage with their customers online.
Ray-ban created a fun filter that added reindeer horns to people’s heads. The filter also had sound effects for users who chose to rec a video. The filter gave the audience a fun way to try-on and interact with Ray-ban sunglasses.
Similarly, Gucci created its jewellery-like headgear filter, ‘I see you’. The filter added beauty effects to user’s faces along with a quirky headgear.
Prada, on the other hand, utilised the trend around a popular question-Ans based filters doing the rounds over social media. Prada created a personality game suggesting personality types to its users.
Try-now on Instagram here.
6. Virtual Try-Ons
Adidas was the first brand who worked with Snapchat to allow users to preview and try-on its new product, the Ultraboost 2019 running shoe. Since then, Snapchat has worked with brands to merge AR with e-commerce. Snapchat now allows advertisers to add a ‘Shop Now’ button to AR filters lenses.
Price & Accessibility
What makes these tools appealing is that they are user-friendly and do not require any advanced technical skills. This means anyone can develop a frame, filter and/or lens. Just pick a subject of your choice and get started!
Another benefit is that it is cheap to create these filters & lenses. The price of a filter or lens on Snapchat is determined by your geofence and how long you want it to run for. For instance, a filter covering a single football match will be cheaper than a filter used for the World Cup.
Lastly, Facebook and Snapchat can be accessed across any iOS and Android smart device. This makes the created AR filters more accessible and shareable across diverse platforms.
Overall, these applications are giving individuals and businesses a voice, capturing user experiences in a fun and simple manner. It is a step in the right direction for AR to expand, and who wouldn’t want more entertaining selfies?
Augmented reality is more than just a novelty or a new frontier in gaming. It stands to be one of the driving forces behind sales and marketing innovations over the next decade. Using AR, forward-looking businesses will be able to upgrade the experience they offer their customers, leading to increased business opportunities and sales.