How Marketing Actually Comes to All Those Funny Faces

Comprehensive guide to AR filters in Facebook, Instagram and Messenger

Fast in development, easy in application, boundless in creative and crazy popular among users. It’s all about filters or lenses — basic augmented reality solutions accessible at most influential social media — Facebook and Instagram.

So there’s no secret on Instagram strong impact on peoples shopping journey. 83% of Instagrammers discover new products and services on Instagram and 80% decide whether to buy a product or service right in the app. And during past F8 conference, Mark Zuckerberg mentioned that more than a billion people had an augmented reality experience on Facebook and Instagram. The vast majority of those people tried it perhaps for the first time, or just the first few times, and it was for a more playful experience like face filters or lenses. And it works for billion people already, so if you still concerned about driving your business by augmented reality — why don’t just try Instagram and Facebook filters for your marketing?

So let’s see how to get it, how to make it and how to use it. 

How to get it?

There’s particular mechanics behind the filters. In terms of marketing it’s improve a few key metrics starting with the crazy boost of subscriptions. Because one of the ways to get a filter for user is to subscribe on the creator’s channel or in case of a brand — on brand’s channel. As long as your brand is really in such content and you providing this activation as a part of complex interaction with customers in digital media you’ll be fine.

Like Gucci does, with 35.2m followers:

Next huge boost could be made directly for sales. E.g. you’re descent FMCG brand and you could create packaging activations, using AR filters. And place QR-codes directly on bottles so customers need only to read them in order to get filter. 

Or hundreds of filters like Pepsi did:

As you can see, in each case it’s all about interaction with customers. Eventually, it is all their Stories. So as long as your marketing is about telling stories, you’ll be fine — AR just lets your customers tell stories for you. 

And here we have 3rd main boost — brand engagement and awareness.

And your brand engagement with a customers happens through the natural ambassadors of your brand. From brand awareness directly to interacting. Your brand is already into content of your customers and it will be spreading by them with thousands of different messages. And every message is eventually your promo that helps them recognize, discover and buy your product or service. This is the case of new emerging type of customer journey which is hugely being impacted by augmented reality from various angles.

So the first thing about AR filters that particular mechanic of getting them and their inclusion into Facebook, Instagram and Messenger apps is a huge advantage from the beginning. And of course AR works as a part of social media strategy but impact on audience reach, direct sales and engaging is significant.

How to make it?

The technology behind it is called Spark AR and now it is released for Facebook and works in beta for Instagram.

Face filters is possible because of machine learning algorithms based on Gaussian filters that divide image on particular segments.

Second part of technology is computer vision that can capture a key points (facial landmarks) and build a 3D mesh between them.

Finally the system can proceed image generation based on objects, materials and visual effects you’ve set up.

More robust developers information was presented at F8 conference this year:

How to use it?

To benefit from AR content you really need to accept it as a medium. It’s a tool that help people know and communicate, and it’s a core idea behind it. And as a part of social media platforms, AR filters are tools of digital marketing communication.

There are no limitations for creativity. Technology have reached the point when customers can easily mix themselves with a brand if they like to. There are so many ways to interact with customers in augmented reality and bring them a real value from communication with your brand at any step of new customer journey. Here how Instagram sees it’s users using AR filters:

And it’s a starting point for your creative ideation on face filter campaign. What can bring emotional and real value to customers? How to help them express themselves and their feelings? What would fun?

Today’s businesses are very keen to embrace their social media in any way possible. SMM breeds loyalty and interest to the brand, it’s life and development. Therefore, lots of businesses already have accomplished pages there, which creates perfect conditions for small steps in testing AR for your company. 

To learn more about using AR filters in marketing watch our video. It’s really helpful:

Augmented Reality technology is new but already impressive and face filters are just a small part of the whole amazing things that AR would do. So AR is a powerful marketing tool — and it seems to become more and more powerful tool in couple next years.

When we talk to advertisers and brands, they pretty consistently tell us the same thing. One, they’re looking for ways to increase the interaction and engagement and richness of their advertising experience with customers. They want them to spend more time thinking about their products, getting more nuance, more detail. Personalizing it to their needs, says Matt Roberts product manager for Spark AR — advertisers and brands also want to increase customer satisfaction, obviously. People want to have the product they think they’re buying and have it deliver on the expectations they had when they were buying it. We think that for a lot of verticals, especially personalized things, things you can wear, but also physical goods — will this fit in my space? What’s the color, the look, the texture? You can increase satisfaction by having that be more realistic and more interesting.

So here’s it — AR filters — a fun little step in social media to make a giant leap in business transformation. That’s how modern technology works.

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