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New Spark AR Studio Features and AR Capabilities for Instagram
Expanded capabilities enable creators to make new types of AR experiences on Instagram. New features make it easier for creators at any level to jumpstart simple-to-complex AR projects.
AR (short for “augmented reality”) isn’t a new technology — in fact, it’s been around since the 1960s! But it’s only in the last few years that AR technology has accelerated and spread across dozens of industries; today it can be found everywhere from Pokémon GO to Google Maps.
Social media is clearly riding the AR wave too, and a big part of this success is because of how hugely popular Instagram Stories is.
With over 500 million daily active users, an extremely user-friendly UI, and the millennial human desire to share fun, filtered selfies, Instagram is the perfect medium to spread AR to the masses.
But equally important was Facebook’s decision in 2017 to launch its own software for brands and designers to create customized AR effects.
While the Spark AR Studio platform has been open to everyone, if you wanted your custom AR effects to go live on Instagram, you had to be accepted as part of the closed beta program.
But that’s all changed now!
According to a Facebook announcement, anyone can now create and publish their own Spark AR effects on Instagram Stories!
This is a huge deal and an exciting opportunity for artists, brands, influencers, and everyday people to get creative and learn how to make their imagination a reality using AR.
AR on Instagram has enormous potential as a marketing tool (something we’ll discuss in just a minute), but it’s still massively underused.
Because of this, businesses have a lot to gain from jumping in early, learning the ropes, and finding creative ways to build and share their own branded AR experiences on Instagram Stories.
How Businesses Can Use Spark AR Effects for Instagram
There are many reasons why AR can be a powerful marketing tool for businesses — but one of the biggest has to do with freedom of creativity.
When it comes to AR, the world really is your oyster!
There are countless applications for the technology: cosmetics brands can use AR to let their followers virtually “try on” makeup, furniture brands can use AR to show what their products would look like in people’s homes, and fashion brands can use AR to create virtual fitting rooms, allowing people to try on shirts, sunglasses, or entire outfits to see how it fits their shape and style.
There’s also something to be said about the emotional value of AR. By creating these kinds of AR experiences where people can “try” products, businesses might have an easier time building a personalized connection with customers — which could also help drive more purchases!
Plus, Instagram is now baking this feature into the app! The platform is beta testing a new feature that will allow brands to add AR effects to their product pages!
The feature is currently being tested with just a few brands, including Warby Parker and Ray-Bans, but we’re hoping they open it up to more brands in the near future!
Of course, your goal with AR doesn’t necessarily have to be about sales! Businesses also have a lot to gain from simply sharing creative and engaging AR effects that people like to use.
Take Adidas, for example. With vintage filters and retro-looking photos trending big this year, Adidas Originals decided to create a custom AR effect that adds a nostalgic VHS look to your stories, including a “glitch” effect.
This custom AR effect is super shareable and very on-trend, so it’s perfect for building brand awareness!
Instagram used to have a unique system for locking filters (you had to follow the creator first). As a result, many of the designers who were part of Spark AR’s beta program gained tens of thousands of followers after sharing their custom filters on Instagram Stories.
The process for unlocking custom AR effects is slightly different now — especially now that Instagram has introduced their new Effects Gallery, which makes it easier to discover unique filters from the creator community!
Now when you visit a creator’s profile, you’ll find a new effects tab above their feed where you can browse (and access) all of the AR effects they created. We’ll explain more about this below!
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