Augmented Reality conquers the world

Creative & Innovation Manager

Meinte Stinstra

29 Jan 2020

If you’re on Instagram, you’ve seen it… Which Disney character are you? Would you get into Berghain, the Berlin nightclub with a notoriously strict door policy, yes or no? Which of Lidl’s AquaMini’s are you? It couldn’t be any easier to find out the answer. Grab your Instagram selfie camera and a filter will automatically generate it for you. Share it with your friends and, eventually, you’ll see the filter pop up everywhere. Now the real question isn’t whether you are Elsa or rather Cruella - it’s figuring out how to put this new technology to good use.

AR right now

As of recently, you really don't have to be a technical wizkid to create the above. Facebook’s software used to create these filters, called Spark AR, has been made available for everyone since last summer. With just a 7-minute YouTube tutorial, you can start building your own filters in no time.

While Spark makes the process of creating an AR filter quite straightforward, it’s good to keep in mind that filters do represent a moderation challenge for Facebook and its Instagram product.

Right now, every filter is reviewed manually and, if a filter doesn’t make the cut, creators are given feedback on why it was rejected. When creating a filter for our own clients, we experienced exactly this. A filter with static text didn’t make it through moderation. However, after a lot of trial and error, we managed to link the text to the movement of the camera, making the text dynamic and thus getting our filter approved.

With the world of AR slowly unfolding in all its potential, we already have a few learnings to share with you:

1. Keeping it simple, fun and personalized is key. People want an AR experience that they can identify with and that they can share with their friends.

2. Trial and error is the way to go with this new technology! While Instagram warns that the manual review process mentioned above could take up to 10 days, our “100K followers” filter for Lidl got approved in less than 24 hours, meaning the more you try and learn, the smoother it goes.

Onto a rapidly changing world

So now you know that AR technology is within reach and you don’t need to fly all the way to Silicon Valley to get the scoop, I would like to take you through the opportunities it offers. Because, as I said, AR is not just about figuring out which Disney character you are. Right now, it’s about anticipating a rapidly changing online world and, with it, changing user behavior.

AR literally gives a new dimension to the online world. According to a study by JWT Intelligence, 40% of generation Z uses AR filters. This will only increase in the coming years amongst all social media users. We believe AR will become less of a gimmick in the coming years, as it will become more and more relevant for brands, with full integration in e-commerce and storytelling.

Besides the push towards AR by big players such as Apple, Facebook and Snapchat and the rapid development in hardware, the future holds another technological development that will change how we see our online world: the 5G cellular network… 5G will increase the capacity of the network tremendously and will enable extremely fast internet connections. In other words, making the internet bigger and faster.

But what does “bigger and faster internet” have to do with AR filters? Extremely fast download speeds and bigger capacities will enable us to create a new kind of user experience. We will be enabled to distribute more advanced content, which will take content creation to a whole new level. What we are doing right now, will only become smoother, faster and easier for the end-user. Content will become more dynamic and existing applications will become more advanced. There will be room for new innovative platforms and more complex AR experiences.

Showing us a great example of how AR will develop beyond a “yes or no” Instagram filter with 5G, is the US telecom company AT&T, which now uses this technique in the experience of a sports match. Just imagine what more possibilities are out there…

Towards the future

The key takeaway of all of the above? Marketers have been hearing for years that digital advertising makes experiments possible like no other medium. With new software, huge technological leaps and changing user behavior, we believe this to be true. CMO’s need to lead by example with a mentality of testing and learning, which might occasionally fail, but in the long run will lead to winning big. Only by taking risks and continuously improving will advertisers get the most out of a new marketing method like AR.

While we’ve been pioneering our way through the AR possibilities, 2020 will be the year in which AR marketing will truly reach maturity. It’s time to act on these developments and reach users in a new, exciting way that brings you closer to your audience!

Intrigued, but not sure where to begin? Join our free AR workshop by sending an email to meinte.stinstra@dorstenlesser.nl.

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