Interactive content is not a new concept in the marketing industry. Still, social media and the rise of new technologies have made it possible for us to interact with consumers in a very creative manner. Shoppable posts, 360-degree videos, quizzes, and polls are some of the examples of interactive content, but one particular interactive content trend is here to stay. In August 2019, Facebook launched Spark AR Studio. This platform allows users to create customized augmented reality (AR) filters for Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories, Messenger and Portal. The 3D AR effects have taken over the world by storm and provides an excellent opportunity for marketers.

What makes the AR filters intriguing?

Have you seen your friends use a filter in their stories that guesses their heritage, and then suddenly, their face turns into a platypus or a sloth? Of course, you’ve seen it and instantly wanted to try it just to make yourself die of laughter and share with your family and friends how ridiculous you look. This is precisely what makes AR filters so intriguing. It is an innovative concept that is instantly sharable. An AR experience is more engaging and fun than a still image on a story. It is even more interesting to watch others play with an AR filter since it looks so different on each person. This is why AR filters gained popularity among generations, and surely, we will keep using them for creative and fun content purposes.

How can brands benefit from creating an AR filter?

Brands have the opportunity to create AR filters of their own to add creativity and innovation to their digital strategies. Snapchat was the first to introduce the concept of “My Story,” then most social media platforms followed. Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, TikTok all presented stories to their app. Even YouTube unveiled its own story format called Reels. More than 500 million accounts use Stories every day, and if your brand wants awareness, then AR filters can be a great way to make your content stand out from the crowd. Using AR filters in stories can leverage your digital strategy and it can be shared on multiple platforms to gain an integrated approach to digital marketing. Anyone can go to your brand’s social media page, click the new face icon and see the AR filter you’ve created. When someone uses your filter, their followers will be exposed to your brand. If that person’s followers decide to try the filter out for themselves, it generates even more awareness.

As you can see, it creates a snowball effect of engagement and sharability. The key is to develop an AR filter that accurately depicts your brand’s personality. Showcasing your brand’s personality through an AR Filter is critical to building sustainable relationships with current and potential consumers.

Example of an AR filter in action

Last year Slim Jim celebrated their WWE spokesperson, the legendary Randy “Macho Man” Savage. Slim Jim had the idea to release a new action figure at Comic-con San Diego 2019, but the company needed to gain more exposure. The brand partnered with a technology company, Groove Jones, to create an AR Snapchat Filter honoring the Macho Man character. Slim Jim launched a competition where WWE fans could post a video of themselves as the Macho Man on Twitter with the #savagesweepstakes to win an epic prize pack. After the first day of the Comic-con show, Slim Jim’s twitter feed was filled with videos of fans doing their best to imitate Randy Savage. The campaign caused a buzz which led the action figure to become one of the most sought after collectibles at Comic-con. The action figure sold out.

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This campaign showcases how a brand used an AR filter in an integrated marketing campaign. Not only did the campaign increase brand exposure for Slim Jim, the WWE enterprise and Comic-Con, but the campaign also connected fans with the brands. The AR filter also reflected Slim Jim’s brand personality and lured in customers to get excited about Comic-Con. It was an excellent way of generating leads and converting it into sales though an innovative digital marketing campaign using an AR filter.

How can AR Filters affect a COVID-19 world?

Brands are reliant on their digital strategies to stay relevant and in business. Why not make it an interactive fun experience for your customer? Our usage of social media has risen ever since the pandemic started. Instagram Stories usage is up 15% since the outbreak. Using AR effects in your current digital campaign can be a great way to connect with your customers during difficult times. Consumers will be able to engage with and have fun with your brand. It is creative, sets your brand apart from competitors and can immensely increase your brand awareness. AR filters are something different from the usual and now is a great opportunity to use them, but they can also be a fantastic tactic for even when we go back to our normal routines. It just all about how you use it strategically.

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AR You Ready For This Trend? was originally published in AR/VR Journey: Augmented & Virtual Reality Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.