Instagram Filters: Why Are They So Popular?
Remember those Buzzfeed personality quizzes that you and your friends used to do on Facebook? Like the “What does your zodiac sign say about you?”, or the “Which Disney princess are you?”. Personality quizzes often tap into our curiosity on wanting to find out more about ourselves and with social media’s sharing functions, it’s so simple to share the results. With the influx of today’s randomizer Instagram filters, not only are such “quizzes” easier and faster to complete, but the results are just as easy to share with your friends.
Besides the quizzes, these Instagram filters can also spice up your selfie game. No, we’re not talking about generic filters like Clarendon, Gingham or X-Pro II, we’re talking about Instagram’s AR filters — first launched in 2017. AR filters, also known as augmented reality filters, are computer-generated effects layered over the real-life image your camera displays.
4 reasons why they are so popular
With social media platforms constantly introducing an endless stream of innovative features and updates, users are always kept excited and on their toes, raring for the next new thing to try. Furthermore, with these filters being integrated into the Instagram app itself, this makes for a more seamless and enjoyable user experience, especially for today’s selfie generation.
As mentioned earlier, filters like “What Should I Eat Today?” or “Which Disney Character Are You?” tend to invoke a sense of self discovery in an engaging and enjoyable way (Image: vice.com). Yes, the results aren’t always the most accurate, but people often try to relate or associate themselves with the results they got, which in turn makes them feel more engaged. Besides, using the effect isn’t rocket science — integrated into the instagram stories themselves, each effect usually takes less than 15 seconds (the length of a story) to play out. It’s easy, fun and shareable, no wonder they are gaining so much traction.
Easily accessible, these filters can be saved for later use upon seeing someone else using it in their stories. Alternative ways of discovering filters include clicking on the filter itself in Instagram Story, followed by “Browse effects”. This will give you access to the Effect Gallery — where you have the option to browse by category, and save as many effects as you like (Image: later.com).
A third way of discovering filters, is by checking our different creators’ accounts. Whether it be a friend, celebrity or just a creative guy who loves experimenting and creating such filters, these individuals’ accounts would have an additional page that you can find their filters under.
Another reason why people love to use Instagram’s AR filters is because of its variety. From photo effects and random quizzes, to face-recognition and beauty filters, there are literally hundreds upon hundreds of Instagram filters at present (Image: sparkar.facebook.com).
Apart from the unlimited choice of selfie filters for your front cam, the most common filters for the back cam are those that give photos a different color tone or effect. Users often use this to glam up and upkeep their Instagram stories’ aesthetics — such as color coding stories, adding a vintage or cool effect, or even making the Instagram stories look like it’s taken by a film camera (Image: later.com)!
In fact, this is also a great way for brands to ensure a consistent branding across their Instagram feeds and stories in terms of visual tone and the likes.
4. Creativity and personalisation
In August 2019, Instagram placed into the hands of its users — the power to create their own filters. Now with this, anyone can create their own AR filters on Spark AR Studio and share it with the world. The question is, why would people want to go through the trouble of doing so?
It all boils down to our love for customisation and personalisation. Often, we as people like things that are tailored specifically just for us as it makes us feel special. Furthermore, being able to create your own Instagram AR filter means getting to express and share your creativity by putting your work out there. Everytime someone saves and uses your filter, it gives you a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment because this means that someone out there actually likes it!
Take our Instagram account for instance! As a way of helping local businesses during the economically-challenging COVID season, we partnered with several F&B businesses and created our very first Instagram filter. This filter which features a total of 9 local F&B brands, helps users make the difficult decision of deciding what to eat/order by serving them a suggestion through a randomiser. In doing so, we encourage them to order from these small businesses so as to continue showing them our support.
Why should brands invest in their own AR filters?
Firstly, creating your own branded AR filters can help you increase brand awareness. By incorporating your brand’s logo, branding elements or mascot into the filter, this helps to increase your brand’s visibility. If your filter is not promotional, it will be in the Effects Gallery where millions of users will come across while browsing there. The more people use and share your filter with their followers, the more people get exposed to your brand! Furthermore, your brand’s name will be listed beside the filter’s name, so this can help secure even more visibility and awareness.
Disney did a pretty good job here with their Mickey and Minnie AR filter (Image: later.com).
This allowed users to join in the Disney magic by playing around with Mickey’s ears in different styles, as they took their Instagram selfies. Although more playful than promotional, this is great for sharing with friends and spreading brand awareness.
With its opportunity for creative expression, brands can also show off their tone and personality through these custom AR filters. For instance, if a brand is known for its fun or playful side, it can explore coming up with funny and goofy filters that users can have fun with. This helps brands to show off their creativity and uniqueness in new and engaging ways that allow it to stand out from competitors.
Lastly, brands can also use custom AR filters to connect with their audience. Connection breeds stronger relationships and building strong customer relationships is often the goal of many brands. This is often done by making use of interactive elements that encourage users to engage with the brand, especially on social media. In fact, 60% of businesses that use Instagram Stories incorporate an interactive element to help increase monthly engagement. Custom Instagram filters therefore provide new opportunities for interactivity on the platform (Source: blog.hootsuite.com). At the same time, Instagram filters can also help brands to generate user-generated content (UGCs) that they can curate and repost as part of their efforts to grow and build their brand community.
An example of a filter that helps promote the brand and simultaneously engage its audience, is Ray-Ban and its “Reinderize” filter.
As a sunglasses retailer, this filter is extremely useful because not only do users get to try on Ray-Ban’sproducts, but they can also have fun while doing so too. So if you are a fashion or make-up brand, featuring your products for users to try on virtually, can be a valuable opportunity for you to explore when creating AR filters.
Jump right to it now
There is no better time than now. Today, the whole world is spending increasingly more time on their phones and on social media — especially during these ‘socially distanced’ times. Why not use this as an opportunity to propel your brand forward? Especially online and on social media. The Instagram stories of brands have shown to achieve an 85% completion rate, and on top of that, brands that use interactive tools (like polling stickers and filters) have managed to increase the average viewing time of their videos by 3 seconds across 90% of their campaigns (Source: arvrjourney.com). Now is your chance to leave a deeper impression on your audience, rather than settling for a typical 15 seconds video that often goes ignored by users. Don’t know where to start, or what kind of filter fits your needs / target audience? Feel free to approach us, and we’ll be happy to help!