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Instagram's Story AR filters and Facebook Spark spell out unique oportunities, in upcoming years. Specifically, look towards seamless brand interactions, both newly powered by AR.

AR Filters for Digital Marketing: Why They Work

Phillip Reinhardt

At times, it feels like we’re right on the cusp of full-fledged AR campaigns—utilizing today’s leading real-time services, intuitive data tools, and immersive shopping experiences too, basically, redefine the world of consumerism.

If you’re one of the ones waiting for a safely blazed trail ahead of time, however, now might be a good time to carve out your own niche: AR has been here for some time, now—and it’s so customizable that digital marketers, sometimes, can be blind to its utility entirely.

Augmented Reality is Everywhere

AR is quickly becoming an excellent cross-channel utility, bridging the gaps between mobile customers and their desktop-based counterparts. Multi-faceted strategies are never a bad thing.

When we think of AR, a lot of us naturally tilt towards VR. As for those of us who really take the ‘augmented’ part to heart: More often than not, utilities like Instagram Stories are never mentioned. Instagram’s AR filter is a big hit, these days, among consumers. Even though one-third of Instagram’s most-viewed Stories come from businesses, though, AR-based app additions aren’t talked about enough. This isn’t to say Instagram’s digital marketing opportunities aren’t many in number. Today, over one billion people use the platform every day—and approximately have of this head straight for Instagram Stories as soon as they log in.

On Facebook’s end, there’s the Spark AR Studio Platform. It’s still growing, kicking off its first year with around 20,000 users. That said Facebook Spark is readily a utility for marketers and small business creators. By creating your own Spark AR effect, you’ll have instant access to The result, today, is about 400,000 creators across over 190 countries connecting with users via seamless, cross-channel campaigns designed around augmented reality experiences.

There are other great resources out there, too, Snapchat existing as only one of them. As with most big-hitter digital marketing strategies having recently grown of age—many of today’s AR ‘trends’ are anything but. So, to stay ahead of the curve—and to create a memorable AR strategy built to withstand the industry’s ever-growing adoption of it—we totally suggest keeping the following strategic tips in mind.

Tip One: Keep Things Simple

It’s all too easy to approach an AR campaign with great aspirations—as AR, itself, is pretty complex. This said, its complexity is best aired with easily digestible, straightforward, content. Even a single clever idea will do—just make sure it’s a memorable one.

A great example, here, is the WWF AR banking experience from Mandiri. The AR experience let show-viewers feed baby rhinos through their smartphones. It was simple enough—prioritizing WWF above all else. Because of this, the strategy was a stellar success.

Tip Two: Make the Experience Useful

As an important follow-up to our first tip, this one is focused on the actual utility of Augmented Reality. Being fun with your campaign approaches is important, no doubt. A major pitfall AR-centric marketers face today, however, one perceived to be ‘gimmicky.’

The Harvard Business Review has a good take on this—stating that the real mission of commercial AR, as it develops, is to fully integrate the cutting-edge technology in simple, fun, and convenient ways. Convenience, of course, is used to denote that very same ‘utility’ consideration: It’s one thing to create an AR app experience that gives mobile users a cool animation upon scanning their favorite brand items in the store. It’s another thing entirely, however, if the app gives shoppers the floor to input their preferred ad.

At times, it feels like we’re right on the cusp of full-fledged AR campaigns—utilizing today’s leading real-time services, intuitive data tools, and immersive shopping experiences too, basically, redefine the world of consumerism.

If you’re one of the ones waiting for a safely blazed trail ahead of time, however, now might be a good time to carve out your own niche: AR has been here for some time, now—and it’s so customizable that digital marketers, sometimes, can be blind to its utility entirely.

When we think of AR, a lot of us naturally tilt towards VR. As for those of us who really take the ‘augmented’ part to heart: More often than not, utilities like Instagram Stories are never mentioned. Instagram’s AR filter is a big hit, these days, among consumers. Even though one-third of Instagram’s most-viewed Stories come from businesses, though, AR-based app additions aren’t talked about enough. This isn’t to say Instagram’s digital marketing opportunities aren’t many in number. Today, over one billion people use the platform every day—and approximately have of this head straight for Instagram Stories as soon as they log in.

On Facebook’s end, there’s the Spark AR Studio Platform. It’s still growing, kicking off its first year with around 20,000 users. This said Facebook Spark is readily a utility for marketers and small business creators. By creating your own Spark AR effect, you’ll have instant access to The result, today, is about 400,000 creators across over 190 countries connecting with users via seamless, cross-channel campaigns designed around augmented reality experiences.

There are other great resources out there, too, Snapchat existing as only one of them. As with most big-hitter digital marketing strategies having recently grown of age—many of today’s AR ‘trends’ are anything but. So, to stay ahead of the curve—and to create a memorable AR strategy built to withstand the industry’s ever-growing adoption of it—we totally suggest keeping the following strategic tips in mind.

Tip Three: Don’t Forget the Instructions

Here’s another pitfall too few marketers prep for The fact that customers, even when outfitted with real-world ways of engaging digital platforms, still need guidance—and plenty of it.

AR can be pretty tough to comprehend, the first time someone experiences it. It’s adopted rapidly, of course, once they get the hang of it, but this natural platform literacy still needs to get out of the gate, you know? If you’re considering using Facebook or Instagram’s AR filters to create real-time digital product promotions, it’s incredibly important that you don’t forget to lead them beyond their app’s confines.

Remember, too, that any customer engaging your brand via social media—whether they encounter an AR campaign design or not—still interacts via social media. It’s a fast-paced environment, and you’ll need to be fast-paced to survive it as a marketer. It’s worthwhile, though, to boost your shoppers’ speed not by yanking them along—but by helping them understand every step they take. After all, AR marketing strategies, when done right, are shaping up to be superior marketing tools of sustainability.

Tip Four: Brand Image Consistency is Key

One should always make brand image consistency a priority-0-but this is especially important within the realm of AR displays. If there’s one major takeaway when exploring these AR-based tips, it should be this: AR seems like it’d practically create its own strategies, as nearly anyone engaging AR, for the first time, benefits from immediate familiarity due to real-world-based features.

The opposite is true, however: When it comes to AR strategy creation, many strategies that seem obvious, upfront, tend to be some of the most misleading. When considering brand image consistency? The same AR-newcomers, those needing a little help with directions, also need help when it comes to ‘snapping’ ‘back’ into purchasing mode. If an AR strategy doesn’t prioritize brand imaging specifically, a brand’s visual representation of itself can easily become lost among the sea of surrounding details.

To avoid this pitfall, some marketers are simply adopting the tools of ambiance, rather than actual design images. Any visual content should be persistent regardless, but focusing more on your brand’s general ‘vibe’ is how you can turn loss aversion into a quest for new opportunities.

Pepsi made a huge splash by doing just this—running a fun, ‘youthful’ marketing campaign situated in one of its sci-fi bus shelter renditions. It was about fostering new experiences, first and foremost, but it didn’t forget the value of a solid visual marketing game, either.

Tip Five: Create a Virtual Showroom

Virtual showrooms are another hidden AR utility—as most shoppers have become well-acquainted with them, as it is. The go-to example when identifying the modern digital showroom is Warby Parker: The glasses distributor that subverts its industry’s core rules of selling glasses.

It hands off its products to customers—allowing them to test out a number of sizes, colors, and frame measurements before any checkout lines make an appearance. This is possible, however, due to Warby Parker’s keen approach to digital show-rooming: It’s Home Try-On program, arguably, created an entirely new retail model within the showroom scene’s concept entirely. Even though Warby Parker does maintain a number of corner-shops throughout the country—they’re incredibly minimalist in design.

Warby Parker does this to create a sales model reversal—allowing customers to engage via brick-and-mortar, first, before diving into the augmented reality features online. If you’re new to AR-centric marketing in general, we can’t recommend this approach enough. It easily leaps any gaps inherent within a new AR strategy’s logic precision. Strategies that combine real-world shopping with digital resources are tough to balance, in general. If a customer is unfamiliar with either end—both ends suffer.

Today's emergent AR strategies will likely become tomorrow's most impactful. To get involved, start by refining your business's digital storefront. In doing so, you'll create a unique gap-closer between your brick-and-mortar and digital-only shoppers

Managing Your Micro-Routes: Cross-Channel AR

In Warby Parker’s case, giving shoppers an additional product reference point before going digital worked wonderfully. They’d sidestepped the physical needs inherent in glasses shopping, still reaching the same result with minimal expenses added. Let’s consider, too, that approximately 56 percent of shoppers visit physical shopping locations before continuing on a digital path to e-cart checkout lanes.

This statistic can be expected to increase further, too: Today’ about 71 percent of shoppers are spending more browsing hours inside brick-and-mortars again. The same group ultimately buys online, indeed, giving us rare snapshots into brick-and-mortar benefits to be prioritized and explored even further.