The Effectiveness of Social AR Filters

Augmented reality (AR) is helping companies forge deeper connections and experiences with target consumers. Social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat have large, engaging audiences that respond well to brand messaging. These channels have been the leading form of consumer-based AR usage with 40% of Generation Z (born 1996–2005) using social AR filters regularly.

Pittsburgh Steelers 360 stadium experience and face mask. Try it on Instagram.

The filters have benefits for the brand and the consumer. They (1) create unique experiences; (2) elevate the sales process; and (3) generate results.

Creating a unique experience

Social filters complement current social media trends by allowing users to post about day-to-day activities in more engaging ways. AR filters create personalized experiences that use augmented reality to visually stimulate and elevate content. As platforms make AR effects more ubiquitous by infusing them into content, brands are presented with a dynamic new way to engage with audiences.

Snapchat stories have seen the most usage since January 2015, however, they were eclipsed by Instagram in early 2017. Instagram recently confirmed that over 500 million users post stories daily.

AR filters captivate the customer’s attention and provide a new dimension of interactivity. Paid endorsement over Instagram stories is considered the most effective form of social media advertising by 73% of marketers. For every $1 they invest in social media marketing, their ROI is $5.20.

Face melting AR effect prototype in development for an Instagram-first fashion company.

Additionally, content with logos and messaging for direct promotion (e.g. putting a logo on a mask) provides a new channel for brand awareness. It immerses consumers in a memorable sponsored experience and empowers audiences to self-express. This offers a unique layer of personalization that effectively resonates with consumers.

Elevating the Sales Process

As analog brick and mortar experiences shift to eCommerce, AR filters enable brand awareness, gamification, product visualization, and organic reach. 3D/AR product preview filters optimize a company’s ability to make incremental conversions and reduce purchase returns by allowing consumers to digitally try before they buy. This exudes a level of reliability that adds stickiness to the customer experience.

AR plant preview available through social filters, web, and programmatic channels.

An added positive externality of AR filters is that they carry a built-in network effect with the social platforms. Users like and share posts, especially if the content is engaging. With a large percentage of younger generations using filters, brands have the opportunity to lock in long-term customers.

In physical, socially distanced destinations, these experiences are also available through QR and shortcode activations.

Positive results and future opportunities

As brands further explore social AR filters for marketing purposes, early campaign results are promising. A few highlights:

  • Sessions lengths for AR filters average 75 seconds
  • Compared to static experiences, AR generate a 70% higher memory response
  • Purchase conversion rates increase 250%
  • Snapchat AR usage increasing 37% year over year with 163M daily active AR users

While metrics are strong and brands are interested, resources remain limited and expensive for testing social AR filters. Most basic solutions require brands to shell out thousands of dollars or outsource work in exchange for limited revisions, black-box pricing, and sparse support.

Arlene recognizes the value of social AR filters and has created a platform to further democratize the experiences for brands. Through templates, verticalization beyond walled gardens, and new forms of data, Arlene has simplified creating and pushing filters to social, programmatic, and eCommerce channels. Furthermore, Arlene has lowered the barrier of entry by enabling this technology affordably at scale.

Example of Arlene’s self-service social template.

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