Why you should create AR Filters to raise brand awareness

AR Filters are a brilliant way to reach people on social media and engage with them.
Having an Instagram filter can express a brands creativity, give you opportunities to let users ‘try on’ your product and in general inform people about what you do. Or they can just be a bit of fun.

What is an AR Filter?

Augmented Reality is an interactive experience that allows people to put digital objects, images and text into a real-world environment. AR filters are social medias interpretation of this and can be found across many apps like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat.
AR filters can be custom-made as much as you like to fit in with your brand.

Why AR?

AR content is way more interactive than pretty much every other form of digital content. It can allow people to interact with your product from their home which is something that can only be found in AR/VR technology.

AR Filters can also be a great way of promoting user generated content for your brand.

How AR Filters increase brand awareness

AR filters can grow on their own with very little input from the creator. When you create the filter and one person uses it and shares to their story they put your filter in front of potentially thousands of people who can then also use the filter and pass on to their following etc, etc.
Growth can be exponential if the filter is good enough and this is enough for me to say that it’s worth testing with your company or clients.

Interactive Facebook Ads

Not only do filters work very well organically but you can also use them in your Facebook ad campaigns. This can allow users to try on products before they buy or could just give them a really great experience interacting with your brand. On average it will cost you £0.03 per impression to run these AR ads.

Cheaper and easier to produce that you think

AR filters can be as simple or as wildly complex as you desire. In the next section you can read on how a filter I spent 3 hours making went on to achieve over 300,000 organic impressions.
You can also hire marketing agencies that specialise in filter development from as little as £500 depending on the filters complexity.

Pretty in-depth audience analysis for your filters

Unlike regular Instagram stories or reels with filters you get some really great demographic analytics and stats on how people are using your filter.

The range of analytics from SparkAR on an Instagram Filter

My experience with filters

I’ve now made a few filters for both myself and at my job all of which have returned pretty great results considering the little amount of time it took me to create them.

My Goose Filter

I made this filter as a bit of a joke and to see how long it would take to create a filter. I never thought it would really pick up much other than a few friends using it out of pity but it turns out I was wrong. In fact in the two weeks prior to writing this article my goose filter got over 300,000 impressions and it’s still getting more with no effort on my end. Bare in mind this filter probably took me 3 hours to make nearly 2.5 years ago.

The Stats for my Instagram Filter, 317.4k Impressions, 994 Captures

What is even more impressive is if you consider how much this would cost as a paid ad. Facebook charges on average £0.03 per impression on AR filters, which means that this organically has generated just shy of £10,000 worth of impressions.

If you want to preview the filter click here. Maybe drop a follow while you’re there ;)

Cons of creating AR Filters

  • Unpredictable
    • I’ve released a few filters now and while I believe they all returned way more than the effort put into them the results can vary massively and it really depends on the filter.
  • Can be difficult to link to your brand
    • Unless you are running ads that showcase a product it can be quite hard to link the filter to your brand.
  • Difficult to explain benefits
    • It can be very difficult to attribute conversions and/or page views/follows from a filter which I think makes this a hard upsell to clients.

Pros of creating AR Filters

  • Way more engaging than video content
  • Significantly improved memory recall
  • Users can ‘try out’ products before they buy
  • Can be cheap and easy to produce
  • Can be used as super interactive ads on Facebook for as little as £0.03 per impression.

How to create an Instagram Filter

Instagram and Facebook filters are made through a service called Spark AR this is where you’ll be able to submit filters and view your analytics online. You also download the creation program through this site.

Spark AR Studio

Spark AR is the tool used to create Instagram and Facebook filters. It uses spark AR uses a mix of animation, visual programming and javascript skills.

Spark AR Desktop App
  1. Viewport where you view/edit your filter aesthetically. You can drag and drop 3D/2D assets and move, scale and rotate them. You can also move your view around to see it at different angles.
  2. Preview which can be connected to a webcam or you can use the provided demo videos. This allows you to see what your filter will look like in real time.
  3. The Layers Panel allows you you to move assets and view which layer they are on.
  4. The Patch Editor is the visual programming aspect of the editor. It allows you to add drag and drop ‘code’ for interactivity.
  5. Asset panel where you store assets and can then drag onto the viewport

Using the Patch Editor

Patches in Spark AR Studio let you add interaction, animation and logic to your filter. You can also use them to create materials to apply to meshes. The editor works like a visual programming editor and gives you drag and drop blocks that you can connect together to build complex functions.

The Spark AR Patch Editor

Using Spark SL

Spark SL may not be something you ever need to use as it’s mainly used for very complex functions and custom shaders but it’s definitely worth mentioning.

Spark SL is Facebook's own shader programming language. Spark SL is a subset of GLSL 1.0.

Using Javascript in Spark AR

Spark AR Studio supports JavaScript for adding complex logic and interactivity to your effects.

Javascript side panel for Spark AR

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