To see a directory of existing Instagram effects go here.
In a previous article we went through why AR is having such a tremendous impact on how brands market themselves.
In a nutshell, augmented reality has absolutely exploded, with 3.5 billion AR users projected by 2022. It therefore comes as no surprise that nine out of ten brands are planning to use AR in their campaigns.
But the impact of AR is likely to skyrocket thanks to Instagram effects opening up to all users this summer. This means that Instagram’s user base of 1 billion monthly active users will all be able to build and publish their own AR effects.
It is not an understatement that the introduction of AR to all Instagram users might well mark a before and after when it comes to augmented reality in marketing. For this reason, those who become early adopters are best positioned to reap the tremendous benefits of Instagram AR, from massive spikes in followers to viral content.
Wait, but doesn’t Instagram already offer AR?
If you’re an Instagram user, you may have noticed that Instagram Stories currently offer a limited number of face filters to choose from. The truth is that Instagram AR is currently in closed beta stage. Only independent content creators have been given the ability to publish AR content on Instagram straight from Facebook’s Spark AR platform (plus a few select brands such as HBO and Netflix, but that’s another story).
The big difference is that this summer the platform will open up to literally everyone. That means not only all Instagram users, but also brands. Anyone who wishes to will be able to build and publish their own effects using the Spark AR Studio tool, which is free for Windows and Mac.
In a nutshell, prepare for your Instagram Stories to explode with AR effects from users, influencers, celebrities and, well, brands.
Why should I pay attention to Instagram effects?
The only way to truly understand the repercussions of Instagram AR for brands is to look at the numbers.
To start with, Instagram is the perfect platform for brands, as Instagram users are particularly eager to follow brands that they care about. In fact, an amazing 80% of users follow a business on Instagram.
Instagram Stories in particular are very effective ways for brands to promote themselves, and believe us when we say they are already doing so. Indeed, branded stories account for 1 out of 3 of the most viewed Stories on the social platform.
Thirdly, Instagram is the best platform to target the millennial demographic, 68% of whom consume Stories on Instagram versus Snapchat (49%) and Facebook (44%).
All of these elements to combine to create the perfect environment for brands to reach users, increase their following and have their content shared. Add AR to the mix, and Instagram becomes the most impactful and word of mouth-worthy social network.
Why Instagram effects and not just regular Stories?
There are many reasons why AR is so perfect for Instagram compared to other social platforms. The most compelling reason is that Instagram Stories so absolutely dominate social media at present. Moreover, Instagram Stories are, by their inherent nature, the best format to use and share face filters.
Because of how Instagram AR is built, there are also several side-effects that will benefit brands:
1. Increase in followers
Firstly, the only way to access branded filters on Instagram will be to follow the profile of the brand in question. This means that, if you can create a filter that is compelling enough, users will flock to your followers list in order to access it.
2. Word of mouth sharing
Face filters are inherently shareable pieces of branded content. The great thing about them, however, is that users mostly share them because they genuinely like them, rather than out of brand loyalty alone. This means that, if the filter is attractive enough, you will be generating word of mouth without lifting a finger.
3. Amazing brand engagement
Despite the uptake in AR by brands, we are still at a stage of early adoption, which means that getting in now will give you a massive advantage ahead of your competition.
What we know is that Instagram effects have been incredibly successful during the closed beta stage, and that Instagram AR is only going to keep growing. You might want to consider getting in as soon as possible and, trust us, your brand loyalty will increase more than you realise.
4. Lots and lots of revenue
AR advertising is the next iteration of social media advertising, and it is likely to dramatically change the industry, putting audience engagement at the forefront. Imagine that!
The numbers are already more than impressive. $2.4 billion is projected in ad spend exclusively for social lenses by 2022. Instagram no doubt will account for a large portion of that number. Revenues are also expected to be very high, with projections of $9.6 billion by 2020. Clearly, the opportunities of AR-based advertising are huge.
5. Hundreds of use cases
Finally, if you think Instagram effects are just flashy advertising, you’ve only begun to see the tip of the iceberg. One of the things that makes AR so versatile is that it can be applied to so many use cases. For example, Kylie Jenner has already been using AR to increase sales of her lipsticks by allowing followers to virtually “try them on” on social media. IKEA is using AR to help customers visualise products in their homes. And beyond sales, AR is bringing new and revolutionary tools to people across industries, including healthcare, education and travel.
How can I get started?
As mentioned, Spark AR will be opening up to Instagram this summer, although an exact date has not yet been revealed.
Users will be able to create AR content on the Spark AR platform, which is free for Windows and Mac.
As for the content itself, there are several options available at the moment: AR developers, an agency or a platform.
As we are still relatively early in the AR adoption process, AR development can still be expensive, which is putting off smaller brands from adoption. Agencies that specialise in AR might be the answer to this issue, although many are still charging pretty high rates for AR projects, and development is still often slow.
The business model we favour and offer ourselves is platform-based, allowing for faster and more affordable AR content creation. If you’re interested in finding out more about how you can develop AR content with us, feel free to drop us a line or sign up now to access the Poplar platform.