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November 24, 2023

| 5 mins read

Beyond the Feed: Unleashing the Power of Instagram AR Filters for Brand Ads

Beyond the Feed: Unleashing the Power of Instagram AR Filters for Brand Ads

1.35 billion – that is how many people use Instagram every month.

Such an enormous, highly engaged user base indicates cutthroat competition between brands. The magic often resides in small details, and Instagram augmented reality (AR) filters can be a game-changer for brands to succeed in their social media marketing strategies.

Imagine hundreds (or even thousands) of people stumbling onto an AR filter on Instagram that you built. The same filter can have your brand’s name and a website link that redirects users to your digital product catalogue.

As AR is easily sharable, the more people engage with your filter, the better the odds it gets shared around and goes “viral.” That said, you are only peeling the first layer of the onion. The benefits of Instagram filters in AR advertising go well beyond what you might anticipate.

So, are you looking to cash in on AR ads to optimise your brand’s Instagram presence? Thinking about how to build and use AR filters effectively?

Suggested Read : How Social AR Helps Brands Boost their Bottom-lines

You have come to the right place.

This article explains how brands can benefit from Instagram AR filters and how to develop Instagram AR ads.

Instagram AR Ads: A Brief Overview

Instagram AR ads are an immersive advertising format that empowers brands to develop interactive experiences for Instagram users. Also called Spark AR ads, these ads use AR to overlay virtual elements onto the user's real-world environment, creating a more engaging and memorable experience. Instagram AR ads take various forms, including effects, filters, and animations.

They primarily exist in two forms:

  • Stories ads: Appear in the user's Instagram Stories and can be interacted with by swiping up or down.
  • Feed ads: Appear in the user's Instagram feed and can be interacted with by tapping or holding the screen.

Instagram AR ads are more brand-oriented. They influence people to explore and try your brand’s products through immersive experiences, such as virtual try-ons and mini-games. For instance, a beauty brand can build an AR filter that lets users virtually try on an eyeshadow colour. AR advertising amplifies the result of those interactions with the potential for direct sales conversions.

The Rise of Instagram Ads in Social Media

"Camera marketing" is one of the next milestones in social media marketing. Smartphones and their in-built cameras have triggered a significant shift in customer behaviour: users increasingly engaging with the physical environment through a digital lens.

Instagram has become a one-stop platform for brands to thrive in the digital ecosystem. Online image and video sharing has already become a mainstay brand engagement strategy on the social media channel. AR filters signal similar potential.

If you ask a Gen Z-er if they have used an Instagram filter lately, the answer will be a big yes! Filters have become a ubiquitous AR feature that thousands of people use daily. While Gen Z is an ardent user of Instagram filters, the older generation is following closely.

However, with millions of daily active users (DAU), creating a marketing campaign that shines in the digital marketplace is daunting. Leveraging creative Instagram marketing ideas and infusing them with eye-catching AR filters will convey more about your brand to your target audience.

According to a report, the global market for AR advertising is currently valued at US$4.4 Bn.

Benefits of Using AR Filters in Ads

You can reap several wonderful rewards by adding AR filters to Instagram ads, some of which we have discussed below.

Higher Conversions

On average, brands using 3D AR ads see a 94% surge in conversion rates than their static 2D counterparts. The interactive nature of AR filters results in increased dwell time - users spend more time interacting with your ad content. This extended exposure helps boost conversion rates as users become more familiar with your brand and offerings.

Better Engagement

The entire point of Instagram AR filters is to build something that people will want to engage with and share. In general, videos are more captivating than images. However, AR outshines both as it replaces simple 2D content with immersive elements that attract lots of eyeballs.

You want people to follow your brand or visit your Instagram handle once they find your AR ad. By gamifying advertising through AR filters, you will likely win over your customer base. In fact, 3 out of 4 people report that AR ads are more likely to catch their interest better than traditional ads.

Free Brand Advocates

If you promote the traditional way, you can only have so many brand advocates before the ad completely loses its point. However, Instagram AR filters are a total game-changer.

If you launch an AR advertising campaign that is well-received by Instagram users, you will instantly receive somewhat of an endorsement whenever somebody engages with it. They spread the word about your brand and what it represents.

Limitless Reach at Reduced Costs

Unlike traditional advertising methods that only secure limited reach, the reach Instagram AR advertising campaigns deliver is near limitless. As such, you will expand your brand reach significantly, potentially even accessing accounts you would not have otherwise.

Besides, while creating high-quality AR filters might require some investment, the potential for user-generated content (UGC) and organic sharing offsets initial production costs.

Creating Instagram AR Filters for Ads

The following step-by-step guide will help you develop Instagram AR filters for advertising campaigns.

Install Meta Spark Studio

Meta Spark Studio is a desktop application that is 464 MB in size. While relatively small, it is a powerful tool that fast-tracks the development of Instagram AR filters. Currently, it is supported on both Mac and Windows systems.

Download Spark AR Studio on your desktop by heading to the Meta Spark Hub dashboard and clicking Get Meta Spark Studio. Follow the download and installation instructions as prompted.

Add an Object

Choose the type of AR filter you want to create. That includes 3D and 2D objects, body trackers, hand trackers, and face trackers. To kick-start, click on the project of your choice, which will redirect you to a canvas, called the Viewport. Here, you will find your object placeholder preloaded.

Add an object when in the Viewport. You can import your own object or pick from Meta Spark Studio’s library of objects.

Add Effects

Now, it is time to add effects. These have features to help you define how your object responds to user interactions and movements, especially when placed at different angles in the physical environment.

Meta Spark Studio effects comprise two main categories:

  • People effects: Respond to an individual’s movement and/or features like hand, face, and body trackers.
  • World effects: Add virtual elements to the real world using the back-facing camera.

These two further incorporate various sub-categories, such as games, selfies, and events.

Test the Final Filter

Once you are done with adding the desired effects, you will need to test them to ensure they work fine. So, send a test file to Instagram to preview how your AR filter works on the platform.

Launch the AR Filter

When you are confident about your AR filter, click the blue “upload” button located at the bottom left-hand corner of the Spark AR Hub. Your AR filter will undergo review by Meta to ensure it ticks all Spark’s policies and guidelines. After getting approval, your AR filter will be live and ready for use on Instagram.

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Tips to Consider When Designing Engaging AR Filters

Here are some valuable tips while designing AR filters for Instagram ad campaigns:

  • Define the objective: Think critically and determine whether the AR filter should boost engagement, create brand awareness, or drive conversions. This will help carve out a clear purpose and guide your creative team.
  • Do not ignore the audience: Your goal is for your target audience to try the AR filter. Ensure your audience can easily engage with your Instagram ads. Make their content the hero instead of making the filter the centre of attention. This will motivate users to use it again.
  • Avoid overstuffing elements: Do not oversell your brand while promoting it. Try to strike a balance. Use your brand logo and colours to create an AR filter, but do not overload brand elements all over it.
  • Play the long game: The best Instagram AR filters are those that are reusable all year round. Hence, ensure your AR ad’s contents are flexible, and users can use them across several contexts and seasons.  

Running AR Ads on Instagram

Read on the following 10-step guide to running AR ads on Instagram effectively:

  • Create an AR ad campaign: To get started, go to Meta Ads Manager and click “+Click.”
  • Select your objective: Choose from six campaign goals available for Instagram AR ads, including Engagement, Traffic, Leads, Awareness, Sales, and App Promotion.
  • Budgeting: Click “New [your ad goal here] Ad Set” from the left-side menu. Here, select how much you want to spend. You can either set a maximum daily expenditure or set a maximum expenditure for your entire campaign.
  • Scheduling: Within the same window box, choose to run AR ads continuously or only at specific time intervals under “Ad Scheduling.”
  • Identify target audience: You can either use a previously saved audience or build a new user base based on gender, demographics, behaviours, and age range.
  • Ad placement: You can decide where your AR ads will flash in the “Placements” section. You have two options. One is Advantage+ Placements, which will display ads to your audience wherever they will likely perform best. Another is Manual Placements, where you can choose specifically where your ad will flash.  
  • Customisation: Click “New [your goal here] Ad” from the left-side menu, which will take you to a screen filled with customisation options. Edit your AR ad’s name, pick from multiple ad types, and add creative elements like videos, images, headlines, website links, and CTAs.
  • Launch your AR ad: Once you have filled out all the necessary fields, click the “Publish” button in the bottom right corner of the device screen.
  • Analyse performance metrics: Monitor metrics like clicks, impressions, and engagement to measure the effectiveness of your AR advertising campaign.
  • Optimise and iterate: Based on the performance data, refine your AR filter or adjust your advertising strategy to improve results.

Successful Examples and Case Studies

We have snooped through the Internet to find brands using Instagram AR filters, and how you can use them for your brand.

mirrAR

mirrAR has developed Instagram AR filters combining the twin potential of industry-leading preview placement and face-tracking technologies. You can convert 2D and 3D renders of your products seamlessly, which you can add to your filters on your brand’s Instagram handle.

Once Instagram approves your AR filters, your customers are all set to see and test your products virtually on the platform. This boosts their purchase confidence and hence helps reduce product returns.

We have skilled and dedicated developers who devotedly listen to your brand requirements and build suitable AR filters. You can permanently upload and add these filters to your brand’s Instagram handles.

Multiple industries, including beauty, jewellery, skincare, and eyewear, are already seeing the results after using mirrAR’s Instagram AR filters.

Puma India

To promote their Rider franchise, Puma India rolled out an Instagram AR filter and Newsfeed SmartApp game. It was the country’s first AR filter for a sneaker brand, attracting over 4 lakh impressions.

Puma India partnered with creative tech studio AliveNow to create the digital campaign, which included the retro arcade swipe-up game – Rider Ball. The interactive game offers Puma fans a chance to win fresh merch from the sneaker brand. Users need to swing the Puma Rider paddles to hit all targets and finish the game as soon as possible.

Kylie Cosmetics

Kylie Cosmetics was among the first brands to hop on the Instagram AR filter bandwagon. The beauty brand created a “try-on” for the numerous lipsticks from Kylie’s Lip Kits. As such, users can see which shade best suits their skin tone before buying it.

Instagram users who follow Kylie Jenner must swipe over to their live camera on the social media platform. A carousel of filters pops up that lets users virtually wear Kylie Cosmetics’ most popular colours – Dolce, Shady, and Glitz. They can check how they appear when “Kylie-fied” with Kylie Cosmetics lipstick shades.

Suggested Read : How to Share Branded AR Content on Social Media

Challenges and Considerations

While AR is a promising advertising technology, you must consider and negotiate certain factors to reach its maximum potential.

Limitations of Existing Networks

AR filters on Instagram require a stable, high-speed Internet connection to function smoothly. 4G networks, the current norm, only handle data download speeds of around 100 Mbps. Anything beyond that overloads the network, hindering the experience and leading to technical lags and high bounce rates.

Fortunately, the rising prevalence of 5G will unlock the AR ads’ full potential. Given its ultra-low latency and lightning-speed data speed (of multiple gigabytes per second), 5G-enabled AR filters will render better than ever seen.

Nevertheless, some regions will experience sluggish 5G adoption than others. So, think carefully about your target audience and their access to technology while creating an Instagram AR ad campaign.

Inadequate Technical Skills

You need technically sound people to create AR ad campaigns on Instagram. Several organisations provide AR software development kits (SDK) to help you build these experiences. Still, strong programming skills are necessary to use SDKs.

However, various ad agencies lack the essential resources for using SDKs. In other words, they have to outsource these projects to companies or independent developers with the right expertise.

Finding the right match is critical here. So, ensure your AR advertising partner offers the required support to develop high-quality 3D assets that set your Instagram campaign a class apart.

Hardware Limitations

Augmented reality is a particularly demanding technology, as it requires smartphones to perform multiple functions simultaneously:

  • Activate the camera
  • Capture input from the camera feed
  • Process AR ad data using the Internet
  • Launch animations and graphics on the screen

Collectively, these actions consume tremendous power, and the experience can end prematurely if the smartphone’s battery runs out of juice.

Besides, most smartphones lag behind the processing power of PCs and gaming consoles. This makes it more challenging for Instagram users accustomed to 1080p resolution and advanced graphics to completely immerse in the AR ad.

Nevertheless, every new generation of smartphones is more AR-compatible than the last. As technology evolves, we will likely witness highly sophisticated Instagram AR filters becoming the mainstay.

Engage, Impress, Convert!

Instagram AR filters are among the best ways for brands to make captivating content for their target audience. They can range from virtual showrooming and real-time product try-ons to fully immersive experiences. Instagram users love anything fun and creative, and AR advertising brings that to the table.

With that said, building and launching your Instagram AR filter is only one aspect of a thriving social media campaign. Equally crucial is distributing your effect. Based on your objectives, target audience, and budget, you can create suitable strategies to run your Instagram AR ads effectively for optimal outcomes.

Your followers become your brand advocates by using your branded filter. This means infinite reach and a door wide open for engagement.

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