It’s hard to overlook the impact that social media can have on a business. Effective use of these online platforms can provide your company with a great boost while failing to connect with your followers might have a negative impact.
You may already be using Instagram for business, and if so, you are probably familiar with Instagram Stories as a great means of interacting with your audience, especially the younger members. During 2019, there were 500 million accounts—the majority belonging to those aged 18 to 29—using Instagram Stories on a daily basis. This offered brands the opportunity to engage users in a fun and interesting way, using questions, polls, and AR filters.
What are Instagram Stories AR Filters?
AR stands for Augmented Reality, which involves overlaying computer-generated images and effects over real-life images. Chances are pretty good that you are already familiar with Instagram’s face filters, such as having an animal’s ears and nose appear over your own when recorded by your device’s camera.
This technology has been around for several years, and Instagram put it to use in filters in 2017. More recently, in 2019, Spark AR Studio opened its platform to the public, allowing users to create their own AR filters for Instagram Stories. These filters differ from Instagram’s pre-set filters in that they are interactive elements used only in Instagram Stories, as opposed to single-click filters that enhance the quality of an image.
Why Should You Use AR Filters for Instagram Stories?
AR filters are a great tool, particularly if you are trying to reach a younger audience. They are versatile and can benefit your brand in a number of ways, such as:
- Audience Engagement. Businesses comprise one-third of the most viewed Instagram stories, and 60% of them make use of interactive elements to increase engagement. Custom-made AR filters are the newest interactive element for Instagram Stories.
- Highlighting Your Brand’s Personality. Your custom AR filter can show your brand’s personality and can range in tone from playful and silly to serious. This helps to differentiate you from your competition.
- Increase Brand Awareness. Not only do the filters demonstrate something about who you are as a company, they can increase your brand awareness when you incorporate your company mascot or logo. Users who then share selfies that use your filter will be exposing others to your brand.
How to Use Spark AR Studios to Create Your Custom Filter
Getting started is easy and takes only a handful of steps to get you making your own filter.
- Download. The first step will, of course, be to download Spark AR Studio. It is available for both Mac and Windows.
- Decide on a filter. Choose whether you want to create a filter from scratch or go with one of the existing templates. For our purposes here, we’ll look at the World Object template, which allows you to place a 3D object into a real-world image.
- Use Viewport. Upon opening the template, you will see a central panel with a placeholder image. This panel, called the Viewport, is where you will be creating. On the left, you will find the Scene panel which contains options for editing your filter. The iPhone in the corner can be used to preview your creation. You may change it to another device by using the dropdown menu.
- Upload a 3D asset. Next, you will want to upload a 3D asset of your own or choose one from the AR Library. The AR Library also contains audio files, animations, and more.
- Edit your graphic. Upon uploading your object, you now have the ability to edit it. Using the Scene panel, you can adjust the appearance of the object, how it moves, and how it interacts with real-world objects. These changes will result in your custom filter. You can change such things as ambient lighting, directional light, animation, and more. You can also choose whether the object is visible from the front camera, rear camera, or both.
- Test out your creation. You can download the Spark AR Player app to test your new custom filter in order to see how it responds. You may also send it to Instagram to see how it works in Instagram Stories.
- Publish your filter. Once you are satisfied with your work, hit the upload button in the bottom left corner. It is located beneath the “test on device” button. Your filter will be reviewed to ensure that it adheres to Spark AR’s guidelines. This process can take anywhere from a few days to a week. You can learn more about the submission process in Spark AR’s Learning Centre.
And that is about it. Of course, this is just a quick look at the basic means of creating your own filter. There is still plenty to learn before you master the process. The Learning Centre is a great resource where you can learn how to add audio or make your filter respond to touch.
It’s time to let your creativity flow! Start building your custom filters today, and see how it increases your customer engagement!
Christian is a British-born entrepreneur and founder of Marwick. For over 19 years, Christian has successfully helped businesses excel in digital marketing. Founded in 2012, Marwick has grown from a start-up to the 11th Fastest Growing Company in Canada in 2020 and expanded into the UK in 2019.