Published: 24 Sep, 2022
Immersive technologies like Augmented Reality blur the lines between physical reality and virtual by rendering novel and exciting experiences to humans – that too on the omnipresent mobile devices. Its application in creating AR filters has been an instant hit on social media. Creative marketers and innovative brands surfed on this growing trend and, as usual, benefited from being early adopters.
Presently there are three types of immersive technologies that are gradually transforming ‘our’ realities. These are:
Virtual Reality is a total simulated environment experienced through VR headsets and, more recently–eyeglasses. The (human) user enters a completely different reality. Augmented reality, on the other hand, creates digital augmentations on top of physical reality. Whereas Mixed Reality combines the two—enabling the users to interact with the virtual objects in physical reality.
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In this present world where the audience is heavily into social media, and marketers have too few seconds to grab the attention, commercial brands are using AR filters to engage, connect, and improve their conversion rates.
Augmented Reality has proven to be revolutionary in terms of how it is adapted and utilized by brands to enhance the interaction and experience of their customers. Augmented reality either renders visual alterations or gives additional information to the users by integrating digital objects into the physical environment.
In recent times, brands are actively implementing AR technology to render a hyper-immersive experience to the users by superimposing digital imagery in the background or foreground of the real-world image—adding to what the camera originally sees.
Some of the biggest examples of AR around us are social media networking platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, etc. These platforms offer multiple augmented reality filters and also allow users to develop their own custom filters to use on these platforms. Another reason which has made these AR filters so popular is that they are extremely cost-effective, customizable, and quick to develop.
Inevitably, due to these reasons, augmented reality filters gained a considerable amount of traction among users.
Snapchat was one of the first social media networking platforms to allow users to enable users to click pictures using AR Filters in 2015. Gradually, Instagram (stories) and Facebook also launched their own versions of AR filters in 2017. And now, all these platforms allow user (including brands) to develop their own customized AR Filters and offer them for public use on these platforms.
Brands realized this gaining popularity of AR filters for brand awareness and started launching brand-specific AR filters on social media networking sites—these filters could entail the brand’s logo or allow customers to digitally experience their products.
Augmented reality technology is relatively cheaper and more affordable than traditional advertising methods as they do not require much investment. The brand does not have to spend huge sums of money on video advertising for the advertisement to run often on big screens across various platforms; instead, a small investment in a creative custom AR filter can do wonders for a brand. Moreover, there are no licensing regulations when creating AR filters.
However, the brands have been extremely creative and offer a unique experience to the AR filter users—without losing the essence of the brand. Good branded filters will attract more customers to your other brand content on the networking platforms.
Millions of people are active on social media platforms. So, if they come across engaging branded AR filters, it is highly likely for them to share their AR filter experience on their stories or newsfeed, which will expose the branded content to other social media users who follow them and share similar interests, thereby increasing the brand reach quickly.
Also, social media users can stumble upon the branded AR filter by searching the effects gallery on Instagram and therefore get to know about the brand’s products and services even if they never heard about the brand before. In this way, the brand gets new customers as a result of showing up randomly on the search effects gallery.
There are various creative AR filters, like game filters which are super engaging, and users usually spend more time on them. The AR filters create interactive experiences for the users, contrary to the video advertisements where the viewer just has a passive experience by simply watching them. This also provides a big boost to the brand’s personality.
An engaging experience for one set of AR filter users will attract more users, and they might also get tempted to try the brand’s goods and services.
A good AR filter reflects the tone of the brand and shares the essence and the main message of the brand with its customers.
Brands can allow their target consumers to try their products digitally, aka product sampling, which will build confidence among the users regarding the quality of the product and whether it will suit them or not (makeup brands can hugely benefit from this). This helps brands to build a larger audience and increase brand loyalty.
Immersive Augmented reality can engage users in more insightful content regarding the brand ethos and principles. Brands can follow the latest AR filter trend and tweak it as per their business and brand identity. This type of approach will help brands to share the brand message.
Complement with: State-of-Art Augmented Reality in Fashion Retail
Beauty filters have been all vogue since AR filters were developed. In essence, these filters automatically edit the photo using facial recognition to enhance the facial features of the user. The computer detects the facial features and superimposes the AR filter template.
Another category of Beauty AR filters would be Make-up AR filters. These AR filters allow users to use virtual makeup using AR filter technology.
For example, in 2019, Christian Dior created a custom Instagram AR Filter make-up look to promote their holiday season collection. The AR filter, inspired by the collection, imposed a virtual sequin mask on the user’s face.
Fashion and Virtual Try-on AR Filters allow users to try wearables digitally. With the help of these AR filters, brands are allowing users to virtually try their products in split seconds. Brands may launch an AR filter for different products—make-up products, sunglasses, clothes, etc.
These AR filters enable users to try-on the fashion products virtually before buying them (or just have fun with them) from the comfort of their homes.
Lenskart uses this type of custom AR filter to enable its prospective customers to try eyeglasses in augmented reality. The AI detects and analyses the shape of the face and suggests eyeglasses that would best suit the face type. This feature was greatly appreciated by the customers when the pandemic was at surge.
In this type of Augmented Reality filter, the person can scan a physical object or image with the help of their phone camera—this will enable the user to access additional content in the form of video, animation, or 3D.
This physical object or image can be referred to as a trigger—which has to be unique.
QR codes are one of the most widely used marker-based AR filters. People use their smartphones to scan the QR code, after which 3D assets pop on their mobile screens to convey the brand’s message and start the interaction.
These AR filters allow the user to have an extremely advanced level of immersive experience. The filters can create environments such as a fantasy park or a movie scene as an overlay.
Brands use these types of immersive real World AR filters to allow users to interact with their product and/or brand.
NBA’s Basketball dunking custom Instagram AR filter is one such example, the filter was a hit among basketball fanatics. The promotional AR filter added a dunking basketball player to the users’ video. This filter worked on both the front and the back camera.
In addition to utility AR filters, social media is almost flooded with AR filters for the sake of fun only – celebrity look alike filter, Space face, 80s style, etc.
We at Netmaxims have first-hand experience in developing and building AR filters. We built a Virtual Try-on AR filter for a global organic hair color brand – Radico. The filter enables the users to visualize how a particular hair color would look on their hair. Thus, helping customers make confident decisions, accordingly reducing the abandonment rate.
Our developers ensured that there were little to no dissimilarities between color on AR filters and the actual effect of the product. Other than that, fine-tuning the UX of AR is always a challenge that our designers were excitedly waiting to overcome.
Besides the use of AR by fashion and lifestyle businesses, product designers are actively finding ways to enrich users’ experience in education and the much sensitive healthcare industry.
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