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Augmented Reality

Mastercard's Mobile AR App

Mastercard’s Mobile AR App Demonstrates Rewards To Their Cardholders

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Mastercard’s New Mobile AR App Will Virtually Demonstrate Rewards & Benefits To Their Cardholders

It’s always a fantastic sign for any new technology when a big household brand name adopts it for a big marketing push. It’s even better when the idea they are pushing is not just novel and gimmicky, but is genuinely interesting and also potentially solves a legitimate consumer problem.

So naturally when I saw that Mastercard, a brand so strong that they totally just dropped their name off their logo last year at CES, had decided to get in on AR with a mobile augmented reality app, you know that we are turning another corner with AR adoption. Don’t get me wrong there are still a shit load of turns in the road ahead but this is certainly a bit of a milestone for the industry.

At this year’s CES they dropped that they were going to be launching a new AR app that will give their cardholders the ability to experience and explore their rewards first hand through portal AR. Mastercard’s mobile AR app is just an inspired use of AR technology. I can only speak for myself on this, and to be fair the reward schemes on credit cards in Ireland tend to be pretty piss poor which may be skewing my judgement, but I never really even look at those rewards schemes anymore and if I do it’s a fleeting glance and I’m gone. I don’t feel a strong pull or a connection to them, certainly not enough for it to affect my purchasing decisions. And when so much effort goes into organising and distributing those offers and rewards, you really have to wonder is engaging in this type of marketing activity even worth it anymore?

This new AR application may just be the thing that was missing to bridge the gap, or else maybe it will just be another AR gimmick that doesn’t really solve any problem, but provides a novel experience for 5 seconds and a nice case study video for YouTube and online PR.

mastercard's Mobile AR app

Although they’ve said we aren’t going to have to wait too long to find out, as Mastercard’s mobile AR app is scheduled for launch in Q2 of this year. We probably are, as it’s only going to be released for iPhones in the US. I know, boo urns right. Well the good news at least is that they are planning to bring out an android version, and it will also be released at some stage this year. To add to all of this, Mastercard have actually opened up this AR experience as a white-label app for all of their various different partners.

mobile AR app

“At Mastercard, we’re using our technology and solutions to deliver multi-sensory experiences for consumers every day – whether they’re shopping, taking transit, or exploring the card benefits they care about,” highlighted Mastercard’s CMO, in a statement. The whole idea is to leverage intuitive AR design to allow cardholders to easily discover and also explore these benefits that are so often overlooked.

Mastercard's Mobile AR App

In order for a cardholder to try this AR experience, all they have to do is install the app and then scan their card using their smart phone camera. The AR app then creates 3 virtual portals within the user’s space. Every one of these portals will be linked to a specific benefit category and should instantly transport the users to a luxurious virtual scene that corresponds with the category. For instance, the Peace Of Mind portal transports users to a relaxing spa, the Every Day Value portal will take the user to a snazzy high end smart home and the Experiences portal will drop you right onto a private beach. See what I mean, the rewards on my card are an absolute flop in comparison.

MasterCard's mobile AR app

Once you have entered inside the VR environment, users can stroll around and can interact with different objects, these objects are meant to represent different card features.  Inside of the Experiences portal there is a set of golf clubs that when you interact with will provide more information on all the different golf related benefits that Mastercard offers their cardholders. Presumably they will have different offers squeezed into all their different portals. I just can’t help but wonder how you would represent a 3% cashback offer on your next online Swavorski purchase.

“Digital-first consumers are the first to explore and use technology-enabled touchpoints across the entire payments journey,” said Tim Sloane, VP of the Mercator Advisory Group. “With the new Mastercard benefits app, these cardholders will experience an immersive and truly unique environment where every tap delivers the value and benefits of their card in a fashion never experienced before.” I mean I’m sure we can all at the very least half agree with that.

mobile AR app

It’s worth mentioning that this isn’t Mastercard’s first AR rodeo. They were already dipping their toes in the waters as far back as 2017, when they partnered with Qualcomm to create an AR shopping idea that had iris authentication built in. Safe to say that didn’t really go anywhere, but they were way to early with it. It’s going to be a few years before we see an AR commerce concept that’s robust enough to be whole heartedly adopted by the market.

The world of banking is probably not the industry that I would be hanging my AR cap on, but they do have all the money, literally, that’s what they do, they “keep out money safe”. But this tech is going from strength to strength and is certainly proving its ability to solve long standing communication issues in a new and highly engaging way.

Just take a look at ABN AMRO, a Dutch bank who developed a full-on AR escape room game with the sole purpose of attracting new IT security nerds to apply for their new job openings. It’s no different to Mastercard’s consumer focused AR play. Both are founded upon the communication of company benefits to the user. It’s by taking these more every day and dare I say boring areas of a business, and jazzing them up, making them more interesting, interactive and immersive. This is really how AR is going to be able to carve a strong foothold in not just the banking industry, but in all of them.

Instagram AR Virtual Makeup Experience

Dior’s Instagram AR Virtual Makeup Experience

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Dior’s Instagram AR Virtual Makeup Experience

It is not surprising that cosmetic brands were among the first to really get behind augmented reality technology. This AR technology has provided a digital alternative that solves a problem that has plagued the industry for many years. By utilising AR, users can virtually try on different shades of various makeup products before making a purchase using an Instagram AR virtual make up experience. This approach has become the go to when creating AR experiences for cosmetics brands, to be fair it works.

However, Christian Dior took a rather different approach with this creative Instagram AR virtual makeup experience. The AR filter they created for Instagram using Facebook’s Spark AR, was less sales focused despite still promoting their holiday collection. It was more about harnessing AR to augment reality one step further, to create something fun, engaging and shareable. A level up from the virtual try on AR filters that are typically created to drive sales.

Known as the 3Dior Makeup, this AR experience was designed by Peter Phillips, Dior’s Creative Director and by Ines Alpha who is a digital artist. When users run the AR filter, it positions a virtual face mask of sequins on to the user’s face. There is tap function that triggers an animation where the sequins float upwards with light ways illuminating the camera scene.

Instagram AR Virtual Makeup Experience

It’s quite a well-produced example and was certainly effective. If you want to check it out open the link on your mobile – Dior AR Instagram Camera Effect

The thing that really stands out with this Instagram AR virtual makeup experience is that unlink the others, there is no big push to sell product. It’s much more of a pull tactic they are deploying. And people tend to respond better to this pull approach, especially online when they are getting spammed out of it the whole time with ads to buy stuff. If you are looking to capture attention online, one of the most effective and proven methods it’s through producing useful, interesting and meaningful content that genuinely brings some value to the person who’s engaging with it. If you do a good job that person will want to engage with more of your content and sooner or later, they will convert into a customer. Or at least a brand advocate who will then tell another person who may then become your customer.

Dior clearly have the right approach when it comes to using AR, even their last Instagram AR camera effect that featured Dior sunglasses virtual try on also wasn’t sales based either, opting more for a brand centric sharing experience. Apparently, it has been reported that during Paris Fashion Week that AR Instagram camera effect got Dior 2.6 million impressions. So, they pretty much nailed that one.

The field is getting even more and more crowded when it comes to AR-capable platforms that can offer cosmetic brands virtual try on technology. Facebook isn’t just going on to join Snapchat and even now YouTube. Even online retailers are getting in on AR. Amazon is currently using L’Oreal’s ModiFace to add an AR offering and also Target has been using YouCam’s platforms to try and include something similar.

Despite all the different platforms and players in the market Spark AR for Facebook and Instagram has definitely opened AR up to everyone and at a much more cost-effective budget. Not to mention the distribution element is already there. Previously you had to create an app, probably host it, get people to download it, keep it on their phone. Unless you were creating any real value, it was an absolute nightmare. Whereas now that is just not the case, you already have the audience sitting there waiting, and actively waiting to consume them. It’s no wonder that it has swayed so many large high-profile brands to get involved with these AR camera effects. One this is for sure; it will be interesting to see how far we can push this technology to create even more engaging AR camera effects for Facebook and Instagram moving further into 2020.

Augmented Reality Windows

Augmented Reality Windows: The Retail Display Of The Future

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Augmented Reality Windows: The Retail Display Of The Future

AR windows are interactive displays that have shown to increase engagement, footfall and sales.

There has always been one issue that has plagued out of home media like billboards, bus shelter and other static advertising media and that is that there’s no real way to measure the effectiveness of the ad and if it actually worked. It just isn’t possible to work out specifically how many people have seen a piece of OOH and how many of those people went in store or online to make a purchase. Well now with the advent of AR windows this may no longer be such an issue for brands. These augmented reality displays are able to track analytical data completely in real time.

What Are Augmented Reality Windows?

Augmented reality windows, just like the ones that are being offered by Ads Reality, look as though they are just a normal advertising video display. However, they are a lot more than just that. These AR displays use augmented reality to provide passers by with an interactive experience that can also then encourage them to enter a store or else visit an online shop.

The AR window works very simply. It doesn’t require any special apps for it to work. A good move as people are always going to be less likely to go installing apps from agencies they’ve never heard of. AR windows function solely though the WIFI. And it doesn’t need that much. It can literally just run off a free public connection.

augmented reality window

How Does An AR Window Work?

There is 3 different interactive experiences that can be programmed in to be offers to anyone who passes by:

Character Engagement

In this AR experience known characters such as cartoons, superheroes or even public figures appear in the display and appear to be moving around as if they were one of the passer’s by. People can step into the view of the AR window and snap some shots of them with the AR characters.

Interactive Games

These interactive AR games are excellent for attracting foot fall towards shop windows, events and other public venues. They really can garner a lot of attention and their very nature ensures engagement with a high shareability. These AR games are fully customised to mirror on going branded promotional campaigns and usually involve some sort of call to action and sign up.

Enhanced Product Engagement

This type of thing is just absolutely perfect for our modern age were people are simply too busy to be flicking through leaflets or browsing a catalogue. These AR windows can offer up helpful information or technical details about products in an interesting and engaging way. Video tutorials, special offers and promotions can all be included into these AR experiences. All with the aim of increasing conversions.

These new forms of interactive digital media are going to pave the way that retail marketing will need to tread in this ever-changing digital world, where mobile devices are king and attention spans are shortening. At the end of the day the mobile has been the primary device for shopping and browsing for many years now.

Main Benefits and Features of these New Augmented Reality Displays

These AR displays are not your average AR displays either. These are truly unique and totally different to the other ones that you may have already seen being used in different in store promotional activities. The key difference with these AR displays is that they are able to transmit analytical data completely in real time. What this means is that it can allow a campaign manager to observe the successfulness of the ad and make tweaks as they go if certain ads are not performing.

AR Window Specific Features:

  • app-less interaction. This enables a higher potential reach among passers by the augmented reality window.
  • shop-on-screen technology built in for people who are swayed to make purchases there and then.
  • Ads Reality provide an end-to-end service for all of their AR Windows

This AR display has already been shown at this year’s NFR Retail Show in New York, as well as being exhibited at the Las Vegas Digital Signage Expo. Some of the main benefits shown from using these AR Displays are:

  • Increase in store visitors
  • Deeper interactions with potential customers
  • Increase in sales
  • Increase in brand reach
  • Increased shareability and awareness
  • Increase in brand sentiment

This newly released augmented reality display is going to soon become the new reality for retail brands who understand the future and are looking to advertise retail through a more interactive and personal experience, with the ability to build in touch points along every step of the conversion journey.

target tracking ar

Target Tracking AR Using Instagram

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Target Tracking AR Using Instagram

About 4 weeks ago thanks to Spark AR’s new release it has now made target tracking AR, sometimes known as image tracking, fully possible on the Instagram platform. What this now means is that we can trigger AR effects when the camera is pointed at an image that we set as the trigger, e.g. a logo, film poster or even product packaging. In this article we will look at some of the first AR effect filters to take advantage of this new functionality as well as discuss some different tips as to how you can use target tracking in your next promotional AR effect.

So, What’s The Big Deal With Target Tracking?

The whole point of augmented reality is to mix what is real with the different things that we have created and inserted into the real world. The target tracking helps to blend the AR effects together with different objects and imagery. This target tracking has been available in Snapchat lens studio for quite a while, so it was only a matter of time before it was released for Instagram AR. It is a very useful trigger to have when looking to create more convincing AR experiences. It allows for AR effects to be created that can interact and play with art and other iconic imagery. It also gives brands the ability to design and create digital campaigns that can interact with existing or newly created promotional materials. AR camera effects can be used to bring some life back into or draw some additional attention to a static hero shot or even printed packaging. AR effects can interact directly with the packaging or else occupy the surrounding space.

Matisse Deconstruct by Pablo Tajer

This Instagram effect created by Pablo Tajer uses target tracking and is designed to enhance Matisse’s piece hanging in the Tate Modern London. If you want to try it out yourself, you’ll need to google the painting yourself to trigger the effect. This is definitely one of the more impressive uses of target tracking and a famous art piece.

Try On Mobile
target tracking AR

Target Tracking AR Tips

When it comes to utilising target tracking to create immersive experiences for your users there are a few things that you need to keep in mind:

Use A Good Quality Image As A Tracker

Unfortunately, not all images were created equally, and just as there are some images that make for great trackers, there are also images that simply just will not work as effectively as others. You could probably do a quick Google, I’m sure someone has created a guide for this. Try Best Practices for Target Tracking Spark AR or something like that. Ultimately there are two things that you need to remember. Check the rules before agreeing anything with a client and test out the exact same image that the client wants to use before agreeing to take on the project. This will definitely help to mitigate any unfortunate surprises. No one likes them, they take years of your life expectancy.

Use A Product or Product Packaging As An Image Tracker

So, you can nearly use just about anything these days, as long as it has clearly defined edges and has decent contrast. It could be anything from a coke can to a cereal box and even an event invite… the world is your literal oyster. Starbucks Christmas Instagram AR effect was triggered using their new Christmas cups. Every cup design unlocked a different AR effect. Chipicao which is a croissant brand, just released their AR effect which used tokens found on their packaging to trigger special Justice League AR effects. They ran it as part of a promotion where every week a new mask would be released.

Target Tracking AR
target tracking ar

Help Users To Find The Tracker Image More Easily

There’s nothing worse than sitting there with your camera open wondering whether or not an effect is about to start or not. Make sure to let users know what they have to do or at least what image tracker they are looking for so just make sure that you add in appropriate  or else an outline of the image tracker in the middle of the device’s screen. Tinstructions. Another handy trick that you can use is to position a semi opaque imagehat way the user has a pretty good idea that they are looking for an image tracker to initiate the AR camera effect.

target tracking ar
target tracking ar

QR Codes. Should You Use Them As An Alternative Or Complementary?

So, the simple answer is that you can use them for both, although it really won’t look that cool at all and honestly younger generations might not even know what they are anymore. You might as well be showing them a floppy disk. I don’t know what happened to QR codes, I personally thought they were useful, but no one ever really seemed to care about them. I blame apple mostly for not building neo reader into their phones. It just made QR codes feel a bit unnatural to any Apple users. But hey Android is definitely leading the pack globally these days anyway and I doubt that’s going to change anytime soon. As it stands you can use QR codes to send people to the Facebook or Instagram link for your AR camera effect. When scanned it opens the link just like it would open any other link. Then you can also use the QR code as the actual tracker image that is triggering the AR effect. Again, it has clear edges, enough detail and enough contrast but again I would probably advise away from it due to just how boring they are. People just really seem to disengage with them. And when you consider that you can just use a poster or packaging as the tracker image, I really just don’t get why you would use a QR code instead. But if you really wanted too, you could.

AR Game

This new target tracking feature is working pretty well on the Instagram platform, so you have no reason not to give it a go. The simplest application would be to do something quirky with a business card or else just go all in with your product packaging. It is definitely capable of creating fun and immersive AR experiences for your users and take something ordinary and makes it extraordinary. Get in touch today and we can help you come up with the perfect AR concept for your brand.

Examples of AR

10 Examples Of Augmented Reality In Action

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10 Examples Of Augmented Reality In Action

Hands up if you remember Google Glass? Unfortunately, the super hyped up augmented reality product that was prophesised to revolutionise the way in which we interacted with the real world just didn’t really work out. Despite the majority of the tech world writing this off as a whopper failure, the technology that really highlights the serious potential that is augmented reality.

For the most part, many real applications of augmented reality (AR) are still mostly for fun or for some gimmicky marketing. Although the technologies newness is enough to allow the media to surpass print, television and online advertisements in shock factor. The Drum states that AR has the ability to capture attention for over 85 seconds, it can increase interaction by 20% and can improve click through to conversion by 33%. Presently people have no problem stopping what they are doing to engage with an inspired AR experience no matter the overall quality of the campaign. However this will not last for long, as more brands begin to use AR in their marketing campaigns and the new technology becomes more and more common, it will take a lot more creativity and production quality than what’s required now to truly impress the same audience. With the rise of Facebook and Instagram AR camera effects AR is becoming much more mainstream and it’s going to become much harder to stand out.

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, has noted that someday AR will be as integral to our everyday lives as “eating three meals a day.” So, the real question here is, how would you use your marketing strategy to gain audience attention, once AR is commonplace?

What is Augmented Reality?

We’ve discussed it in previous articles but hey one more time can’t hurt. Essentially AR technology superimposes computer generated imagery onto the user’s real-world view. This is different to virtual reality that is totally generated by a computer with the user interacting fully from within the virtual environment, augmented reality maintains the real world, but just uses the addition of elements that aren’t actually there, ultimately enhancing the user’s experience of the real world. There are tons of different applications for this technology and it is currently being used anywhere from medical and healthcare to retail and manufacturing.

One of the simplest ways to use augmented reality for your brand is to use your business card as an AR activation target. You can either create something standalone or do it simply with layer AR but that still would require users to download something. These days the best way to execute this would be as a Facebook or Instagram AR camera effect since most people already have this app and are pretty familiar with using these camera effects now. Let’s take a look at some of the best examples of augmented reality.

Some Of The Best Examples of Augmented Reality

The potential for this new augmented technology is truly endless. It really is just a matter of time when it comes to this tech becoming a main part of our day to day lives. Whilst we are not quite there, a few organisations are creating some pretty big waves with this technology. So, here are some of the best examples of augmented reality that we have seen.

IKEA Mobile App

One of the first companies in the world to find a genuinely useful application for AR was IKEA, it’s genuinely one of the better examples of Augmented Reality. I’m not surprised really, because of them I’ve put an entire kitchen together with nothing but an Allen key. They probably started dabbling in a bit of augmented reality as far back as 2012, users could use their special app to see how certain tables and shelves would look in different places around their houses. The latest edition, IKEA Place app has taken it all one step further allowing the user to choose any item from the entire IKEA catalogue and check it out in your house for size, as its actually to scale.

This is an incredibly useful application of AR, there is just something about the giant proportions of that IKEA showroom that makes it practically impossible to in anyway correctly eye up the size of a coffee table in relation to your living room. Being able to quickly check whether a certain piece of furniture will fit into a specific spot or whether that particular shade of white will look right with the rest of your room décor just couldn’t be handier.

examples of augmented reality

Nintendo’s Pokémon Go App

We couldn’t really have a discussion about great examples of augmented reality and not bring up *que the music* Pokémon Go. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have 146 out of 150 right now, but I’m not playing anymore I gave up after the second batch.

If you don’t know what I’m going on about Pokémon Go was pretty big, it was a large free roam game that turned the world around you into the gameboard, and you with geo location was the player moving around. Using your phone, you could catch Pokémon and battle in gyms and collect stuff, it was all very impressive. So impressive that the app actually had 65 million users at its peak of popularity and to be fair to them they had all sorts of problems rolling it out, so if they could have released worldwide at the same time and released new in game features faster they would have probably doubled that number It was also responsible for the hordes of young adults lurking around the place just starring at their phones, although what’s new these days anyway.

examples of augmented reality

Home Depot Project Color

Right so we’ve got another home based example of augmented reality for you. This one is actually pretty brilliant because it really helps to solve a problem and helps to speed up the entire consumer purchasing decision process. So, choosing a paint colour is a nightmare, and looking at those little swatches or worse yet a backlit computer screen is never going to give you a true feel for what a particular colour will look like once you’ve blasted it all over the walls. Maybe that mellow yellow will burn your retinas out once you see it on a sunny day in your south facing kitchen. Or what about that gold lamp of yours?

Home Depot released their first Project Color app in 2012 that used patented tech to let users see what a particular paint colour would look like on their walls. The AR app took lighting, objects and shadows into consideration when applying the colour to your walls. They took this even further in 2017 allowing users to change the colour of objects like patio furniture, and other stuff like taps. This is a very handy AR app for any DIYer.

examples of augmented reality

Sephora Virtual Artist App

I couldn’t imagine there being many women who would risk buying make up products online if they had not used them before. It would be impossible to know what a colour would look like on you without actually being able to test it out first.

Sephora really understood this problem, and their solution was a highly effective augmented reality experience Virtual Artist App, using ModiFace. It allowed users to try out different make up products virtually, for instance users could see what each different colour of lipstick looked like on their face using the camera in their phone. It also gave additional information on other products that would be useful when paired with selected options. There was even an additional option that showed users what their skin would look like after a few months of one of their skin care routines.

Bridget Dolan, head of innovation @ Sephora, can see the potential for a long-term AR strategy. “When it comes to augmented and virtual reality, it can only be successful if it’s truly useful,” Bridget said to Glossy. “We weren’t interested in just buzzy. A lot of things like technical accuracy and timing had to come together, and there was a time last year when, during testing, we hit a tipping point.”

examples of augmented reality

This use of augmented reality isn’t just a gimmicky attention ploy, this application is genuinely helpful, addressing a widely held ecommerce problem around selling make up products online, and as a result it drove an increase in conversions. It also drove a lot of awareness for the brand online as the AR experience was also highly shareable.

Timberland AR Mirror

Now I don’t know about you but I am certainly not always in the mood to be trying on clothes, I wouldn’t say it’s close to putting me off all together or anything like that but there have definitely been a few occasions that I’ve bought something to try it on later at home, with the intention of returning it afterwards if I didn’t like it.

So all in the name of convenience and being sound, this example of augmented reality was brought to us by Timberland who created a virtual fitting room in Moktow Gallery. It was created using Kinnect motion capture and it allowed the user to see their head paired onto a similarly sized model body with a bunch of different outfits that you could try on virtually. Ultimately if you want to use AR, its best to do it in a unique way that actually addresses a genuine problem for the consumer. Okay maybe fitting rooms aren’t the worst of all problems but non the less the Timberland brand was able to stand out as a more helpful brand that is happy to offer a fun alternative.

examples of augmented reality

Disney Coloring Book

A couple of years back now Disney launched a unique way for kids to see all of their favourite characters in the real world using augmented reality. The Disney research team built an AR application that would project the coloured in images from a colouring book into 3D renders using only a mobile phone or tablet. This sort of tech is really not that mainstream and is really in its infancy, however it has the potential to usher in an entirely new way for kids to play with their imagination.

L’Oréal Makeup App

This example of augmented reality is actually pretty similar to the concept behind IKEA app or even the home depot paint changing app. The cosmetics company L’Oréal created a mobile app that allowed its users to try different types of their makeup products. It worked pretty much like an Instagram or Facebook AR camera effect, except it was released a few years before Spark AR studio was even hinted at.

AMC Theatres

Being able to deliver your message when and where your audience is looking to receive it is very much a critical part of any successful marketing strategy. This is even more true when we are talking about it in relation to AR.  AMC Theatre implemented AR technology into their AMC app because they knew that their audience was going to be most interested in viewing additional movie related content whilst waiting at the cinema. When a user saw a movie poster in the lobby, they could use the app to scan the poster which would give them access to more information as well as the trailer. It also had an ecommerce functionality built in that allowed the user to buy a ticket immediately if they liked the look of the film after watching the trailer. Again, like all effective AR apps this one is providing convenience by bringing the ecommerce element right to the same place that the user is watching the trailer and it is getting their attention in the first place through AR.

AR examples

Weather Channel Studio Effects

Television news has used special effects in its programming on a daily basis for years now. For instance, the weatherman segment has been using green screens for years to give that map overlay effect. The Weather Channel is after taking this up a notch as they are now using AR to illustrate some of the even more extreme weather and its effect. Over the past few years they have been using examples of augmented reality to show a 3D tornado live on set, highlighting the height of flooding that is likely to occur during storm surges and hurricanes. They even recently drove a virtual car through the studio to demonstrate how easy it is for vehicles to lose control on icy roads. We can imagine that news, weather and sports broadcasters will continue to champion AR as a way to improve the television experience for their viewers.

U.S. Army

Here’s some examples of augmented reality that isn’t just for fun and games. The US Military has been experimenting with augmented reality programs that have been designed to be used during combat. These programs would help soldiers in the field to identify and distinguish enemies from friendly comrade. They also have an enhanced night vision that looks pretty bad ass. This system is still under development and it could be a few years yet before it sees any real action, but its pretty easy to see how innovations of this nature would certainly improve efficiency and would surely save lives.

Christmas AR

The Best Christmas Instagram AR Effects

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The Best Christmas Instagram AR Effects

It’s pretty commonly accepted at this stage that Christmas, just like the Super Bowl, is a rather momentous occasion in the world of advertising. Everyone waiting to see what the big brand advertising agencies have been working on for the last year in an attempt to reduce us to warm nostalgic tears. Que some shit from the 90’s.  Well I for one am glad we are bombarded with all the ads and not just because I make them. This year we have seen a big push in augmented reality largely through the official release of Facebook and Instagram AR camera effects and I for one have been both looking forward to and planning the AR possibilities for this Christmas.

During this time of the year people tend to be actively searching for more ways to create deeper connections with others, and let’s face it, AR filters have certainly already proven their effectiveness at bringing people together with the touch of a mobile device. Christmas is also quite a busy time for charities and other non-profits. Something about the flashing lights and extra pints that gets everybody’s hands in their pockets. AR filters can be a seriously great tool to leverage an awareness campaign through Instagram and Facebook due to the increased shareability of the content they produce. There are so many different reasons to consider AR effects the perfect promotional tool for boosting any Christmas campaign this year.

It doesn’t matter if you are using Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat as your main social channel, all of these platforms are now facilitating AR camera effects and it’s clear they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Which is great news for any brands looking to add some smiles to the faces of their followers. And not just because the AR filter are that good, but because with AR you could literally add smiles onto their faces.

If you want to find out more about using AR effects, you can check out our last posting on publishing Instagram AR effects. In this article, we will look at some different Christmas campaigns that utilised social AR to help increase their campaign uptake. Hopefully this gives you some ideas of your own Christmas AR campaign. 🎄

Starbucks

Back in November at what I can only presume was the very second that Halloween ended, Starbucks released four Christmas Instagram effects which were activated when you scanned any of their limited edition Christmas cups. The aim was to bring their customers attention to their reusable cups and to promote a more eco-friendly lifestyle. This is not Starbucks first time venturing into the AR waters for a little Christmas dip. They released a Snapchat filter during the Christmas of 2016 that turned you into a load of carol singers.

Christmas Instagram AR Effects
Christmas Instagram AR Effects

M&M’s

Definitely a go to concept for a Christmas AR effect, M&M’s created a lens that turned the user into Santa, whilst also managing to included their product quite nicely. Cleverly the fairy lights are made out of M&M’s that light up when activated! This lens was actually created to allow to people to use it at the same time. In the case of this Snapchat lens the second user became a reindeer.

Christmas Instagram AR Effects
Christmas Instagram AR Effects

McDONALD’s

It isn’t just face filters that are dominating the AR filter game! There was a Snapchat lens that you could unlock only if you scanned McDonald’s Christmas packaging. When open a cute reindeer appeared that was dancing. This AR filter effect was linked with that popular TV spot where Santa went to Maccies to get some carrots for his reindeer. The real key to any successful campaign is the combination of AR with other forms of advertising media. It builds on and enhances any previously created connections points and ultimately it helps you to ideate an AR filter that won’t need to rely heavily on branded assets but will still generate some good marketing ROI.

FOOT LOCKER

An Instagram unboxing experience! This AR activation lets all you sneaker heads virtually unbox the new Gatorade AJ1’s that were released for Christmas.

The lens was pretty innovative at the time and it allowed used to check out the sneakers in a 3D virtual experience, try them on, take them for a walk, maybe even a dance as well as tons of other fun hidden extra functionalities to increase engagement like a basketball hoop. By hijacking the online unboxing phenomenon, Foot Locker made a virtual product demo a seriously shareable experience that was founded upon actual sneaker culture.

Read more at thedrum.com

COCA COLA

When it comes to creating some hard hitting Christmas nostalgia no brand has really come close to that of Coca-Cola. And luckily for us all they have decided to include AR into these Christmas marketing efforts! A great example of this was a Facebook AR Camera effect made by Coca Cola Kenya that allowed the user to become Santa #besanta. As Santa you were now free to send personalised holiday messages to all your friends and family.

Read case study

As you well know this time of year gives marketers a host of opportunities when it comes to producing fun branded Christmas Instagram AR Effects and filters that are likely to be shared even more than other times of the year, as friends and families look for ways to share some laughs and some festive spirit. So if your agency, brand, business, organisation, charity or non-profit have never attempted to utilise AR in one of your campaigns, tis the season to do it

 

If you have any questions or would like us to tell you how you could use AR to grow your online presence just get in touch!

Branded AR Effects

Instagram AR Effects. How To Publish Branded AR Effects?

By | Augmented Reality, Digital | No Comments

A few months ago, Instagram AR beta was officially opened. What that means is from that very moment, everyone, including brands, could publish their own AR camera effects directly onto the Instagram platform. It’s certainly been enormously popular and has only added to the engagement with the mobile app. In fact, an AR camera effect created using Spark AR can be distributed quite easily to almost anyone, anywhere, making it a truly powerful promotional tactic. What’s more, it is really effortless to publish them and to share them with all of your Instagram or Facebook followers. And if you have any trouble we would be more than happy to help assist you with everything from the creation to the publishing or distribution of a Facebook or Instagram camera effect.

Promotional Instagram AR Effects

There is a bit of a difference when it comes to branded AR effects made for the purposes of promotional activity versus the all the other kinds of effects. For pretty obvious reasons we will only really address branded AR effects. Firstly, it is important to determine what would be deemed a promotional AR effect. There is ultimately two main things that will determine whether an AR effect is promoting a brand under the judging eyes of the Instagram platform: is the account that the effect is being published to belonging to a brand (business pages are probably a bit of a give-away), or else could the content within the effect itself be construed as promotional. Instagram is with doubt the strictest platform when it comes to branded AR camera effects. It is nearly always seen as a promotional AR effect when it included either a brand name, logo, product name or product image. Of course, sometimes you can get lucky with the approval but more often than not it’s going to be tagged as a promotional AR effect on the Instagram platform.

So Where Are Promotional AR Effects Displayed

1. Instagram Profile

Whenever any user visits your profile on the Instagram platform, they should be able to see all of your different AR effect in the Effects tab. You can simply go there when you click the icon below your Story Highlights.

2. In A Story

When flicking through stories, if you come across any using an AR effect it will highlight the creator/publishers name at the top. You can click on them to yourself to try out the effect.

3. The Effect Gallery

This option only relates to those users who are already following your Instagram account. When they open their Instagram camera and scroll right through their effects tray they should be able to come across your effect. Promotional effects will only ever be shown to users who are following your profile.

5. Links To Effects

Lastly every single AR effect will have its very own unique URL. With this link you can essentially post it, publish it or share a link just about anywhere to promote it further, When somebody clicks the link it will go ahead and open the AR effect in the Instagram platform, unless they don’t have the app in which case they will be prompted to download and install the Instagram app. Its one of the simplest ways to share an Instagram effect.

Promotional Instagram AR Effects

It really couldn’t be simpler to publish your branded AR effects through the Spark AR Hub. That’s the place that allows you to upload and manage any of your FB and Instagram AR effects. You sign in using your Facebook account logins, this means that any effect uploaded through that account will be the publisher of the effect even if you did not actually create it yourself. This means branded AR filters will be shown as belonging to the brand account that uploaded them. When uploading your effect you will need to also upload an icon for the effect, you can then wait to see if it has been approved which usually takes about a day and then finally you can upload a demo video of your effect. It is really important that this demo video is of a decent standard and is in some way appealing as this will show up on your public profile and the Instagram Effect Gallery. You can also see how well your effects have been received using Spark AR Hub.

Checking Out The Results

The data that is ready available to you, we mean the actual information that you can get access to really isn’t that detailed at all but at least it’s something to go by. The insights include Impressions, Captures and Shares. Impressions are pretty much what they say on the tin, this is the number of times that the AR effect has been displayed on a screen. Captures is the number of photos or videos that have been taken using the AR camera effect. Shares show how many of those photos were used in an Instagram story.

Name And Icon

So when it comes to creating an icon for your Instagram AR effect there are some specific guidelines that you need to ensure you adhere to if you wish to get your AR effect approved. The most important of all these guidelines is that the icon needs to clearly represent the camera effect. Another important guideline relates to the name of your AR camera effect, which is unable to include any names of businesses or people and, also, cannot be more than 20 characters in length. If you want to see the full list of rules and regulations, along with a template and some general best practices then feel free to click here.

This post should hopefully have covered some of the more important information that you may find yourself needing if you were ever considering beginning the production of an Instagram AR camera effect for your own brand. If you’re interested in finding out some more information, you could check out Spark AR website as there is quite a bit detailed out there or as an alternative you can head on over to our blog, as this a topic which we often cover. Or if there are any specific questions that you may have or if you are looking for someone to create an AR camera effect for you or your brand then please do feel free to get in touch with us!

Instagram AR filters

Instagram AR Filters. Using Spark AR Studio | The Definitive Guide

By | Augmented Reality, Digital | No Comments

A key element for sustaining Instagram’s future and securing a stronger competitive advantage over other platforms such as Snapchat is going to be through the release of their new Instagram AR filters, providing users with new filtered experiences. These Instagram AR filterss mix the real world with the virtual world through the combination of technology and visual art. Spark AR Studio is the open source tool that we use to create them.

Spark AR Studio by Facebook allows any user to create their very own augmented reality filters and effects which they can then distribute through the Instagram platform for their followers to use and share.

Maybe the term “augmented reality” (AR) seems like something from the future, something that you probably aren’t going to be using in your daily life anytime soon. However last year, around 1 billion people had some sort of experience using creations made using Spark AR. That’s quite an impressive number of people getting on board with augmented reality and these Facebook/Instagram filters.

The custom Instagram Stories are no longer limited to the really famous people and brands of the world like Travis Scott or Nike. Now every artist and brand of any size is able to create a viral moment on Instagram though their individual Stories.

In the following we will discuss the future of Instagram, the best practices for creating your own Spark AR effects and finally how you can use AR filters to get more follows.

Table of Contents:

  1. What is Spark AR Studio?
  2. How businesses can use Spark AR Studio
  3. How to access custom Instagram AR filters
  4. How to create your own Instagram AR filters
  5. Best practices for Instagram AR filters

What is Spark AR Studio?

Spark AR Studio is an open source augmented reality platform for Mac & Windows. It allows you to create AR effects for Instagram and Facebook. You can think of it like Photoshop or Sketch, but for AR.

 

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Augmented reality (AR) has been around since the 1960s – despite what you might think it really is not a new technology. However, over the last few years its growth has been exponential, and it has spread across dozens of industries. Today it can be found simply everywhere from Pokémon GO to Google Maps.

AR has blown up quite a lot because of social media too and a big part of this success is because of the recently released Instagram and Facebook camera effects.

Instagram and Facebook is the perfect medium to spread augmented reality to the masses. It has an extremely user-friendly UI and people are constantly searching for new ways to share their fun and increase their engagement. With over 500 million users active daily, we’re not surprised that their growth has been so rapid.

Previously these AR camera effect we’re only available on the SnapChat platform, but in 2017 Facebook decided to launch its own software that brands, and designers could use to create customized AR effects. This was a very key strategic decision as this was one functionality that SnapChat had held over the Instagram platform.

Upon initial release if you wanted your custom AR effects for Instagram you had to be accepted as part of their closed beta program. It just wasn’t open to everyone. Luckily for us and everyone involved it is now completely open and anyone or any brand can now create their own Spark AR effects and publish them to both Facebook and Instagram.

This is a fantastic opportunity for artists, brands, influencers and everyday people to get creative, learn how to bring their imagination into reality through AR and share it with the world. Despite its enormous potential and also its speedy growth, AR on Instagram is still massively underused as a marketing tool.

Because of this it’s a huge opportunity for businesses to get involved ahead of the curve and to find cool ways of using the technology to build and share their own branded AR experiences.

How businesses can use Spark AR Studio

There are many reasons why AR should be viewed as a genuinely powerful marketing tool and one of the biggest has to do with the freedom of creativity.

There are a lot of applications out there for this technology: cosmetics brand for example can use AR to let their followers and potential customers “try on” their products virtually. Furniture brands can use AR to show the followers how their products would look like at home. Fashion brands can create a virtual fitting room and let their followers try on shirts or sunglasses for example, to see how they fit.

There’s also an emotional value that comes with AR experiences. Businesses can build a personalized connection with their customers by creating different kinds of AR effects that give a firsthand experience of the brand or product. This helps to increase brand recall and loyalty, but it also is going to help drive more conversions!

instagram AR filter

Currently Instagram is baking this try on feature into the platform too. Instagram is beta testing a new feature right now that will allow brands to add AR effects to their product pages! Users will soon be able to virtually “try” products before making a purchase directly through the app.

Right now this feature has only been tested with a few brands like Ray-Bans, but this is certainly a feature that they will be opening up to more brands in the very near future.

Ar filters
Instagram AR filter

It’s not just about ecommerce and virtual try on functionalities, businesses also have a lot to gain from simply sharing these AR effects, as they are highly popular amongst users and have considerable viral potential themselves.

Adidas for example decided to create a custom AR effect that added a nostalgic VHS look to your IG stories, including a “glitch” effect. There was no real sell here, vintage filters and retro looking photos were trending on Instagram, so Adidas thought it would be a clever way to engage their audience with something that would be both appreciated and well received. All this sentiment just adds to the brand and the virality increases awareness.

AR filters are a clever tactic that can be deployed for building brand awareness and increasing social engagement. The effects Adidas created were super shareable and very on trend.

Instagram AR filter

Instagram has a system by which the filters and effects are locked unless the user is following the account. So as a result any creators of these AR effects have gained thousands of followers after sharing them on the Instagram platform.

This process of finding those exclusive filters on Instagram is slightly different now. Instagram has introduced their new gallery of effects, which makes it way easier to discover unique effects from the community! When you visit a creator’s profile, you can browse and access all of their custom effects by clicking the new effects tab over their feed. We’ll explain more about this later!

 

Here are some examples of how you can use Spar AR Studios to create branded experiences using Instagram camera effects:

#1: Instagram AR filters for online shopping

Instagram has created a new shopping environment which includes various new shopping features, pretty successfully. Some products just can’t be described that well with photos or video and now we have a new tool for allowing the consumer to experience a product online.

Kylie Cosmetics is a great example that most people have heard of to some capacity. When you select the AR effect by Kylie Cosmetics you can “try on” different lipsticks from the Lip Kits like Candy K or Glitz. This way you can see if the shade suits your skin tone before you buy it.

This is a perfect example of how you can use custom AR effects on Instagram. It’s not only fun to use these kinds of filters, but it helps potential customers to decide whether or not to purchase an item.

The streetwear label Off-White made a decent amount of noise using AR when they rolled out an effect that allowed users to “try on” sunglasses from their collection as well as adding other effects like their famous quotation marks. This all happened ahead of last year’s Paris Fashion Week

instagram filter

#2: Instagram AR filters for publishers

Publishers have a lot to gain from creating their own AR effects too and they are already doing it.

Buzzfeed Tasty is an ultra-popular food channel that jumped into the AR arena last year. When you select the effect the slogan “Oh Yes!” floats and twirls on the screen.

This effect can be used in so many different contexts. For example, when you are sharing pics or vids of the meal you just made you can make your friends think that you are an absolute culinary pro.

But the best thing is that you don’t have to use it for food only. It’s generic and fits many different usage cases. The only thing limiting the humor factor is your creativity.

Tasty Filter

#3: Instagram AR filters for causes

Rihanna took advantage of the AR effects last year and created her own effect to promote the Diamond Ball and Clara Lionel Foundation. The effect adds a diamond headpiece to your selfie. This way businesses can use AR effects to raise awareness for causes they and their audience care about.

An eco-friendly cleaning supply company for example could create an effect for Earth Day or any other environmental holiday. So different companies could use AR effects to raise awareness for various different issues.

So, are you ready to jump in and create your own AR camera effects for your brand using tSpark AR Studio? Go check out our guide to help you get started with Spark AR Studio!

AR camera effect

How to access custom AR filters on Instagram

There is a new way to find, try and explore new AR filters and effects on Instagram.

So, as we mentioned above you could only use the custom AR filters by following the creators on Instagram. Once you did that their filters would appear in your Instagram Stories camera.

But now the new profile layout simplifies the whole process a lot more! If you visit a creator’s profile, you will find a new effects tab above their feed. You can browse these effects and filters they created and use them by yourself.

When you tap on an effect, you can click on the option “Try It”.

This will open your Instagram Stories camera where you can try the effect right away.

By tapping the “save” icon in the lower right hand corner you can save the effect if you like it.

The effect will then appear in your own effects tray in the Instagram Stories camera. You can add it to any future stories from now on! By tapping the “Browse More Effects” button you can open the effects gallery and browse many different other effects created by the Instagram community.

You will find thousands of different AR effects and you can sort through them by category or topic! If you open the “Moods” channel for example, you can browse all the different effects that fall under that category. You can open the “Color & Lights” channel to browse effects that play with lighting. There is also a feed of selected effects from the creator community. It’s a bit like the explore page.

AR effects are still a really great way to gain more followers and advertise your brand even if you don’t necessarily need to follow a creator to get access to their effects anymore. Every time someone uses one of your AR camera effects, they are ultimately promoting it to all of their followers. So, it’s possible to create a snowball effect and go viral.

How to create your own Instagram Stories filters with Spark AR Studio

Spark AR Studio is now in open to everyone, so really anyone (e.g. brand, creator, influencers) can start creating their own AR effects for their Instagram Stories. It’s designed for anyone of any skill level regardless of your technical background or existing knowledge.

All you have to do is download the Spark AR Studio program and you can start building your own AR effects immediately. You don’t even really need any knowledge of coding to get started. Although some previous experience with unity or C# is definitely going to speed up the process, as well as providing more scope for more complex AR effects.

Spark AR Studio

There are quite a few tutorials on the Spark AR resources page if you are completely new to the design process. You can start to learn the program from there and get creative with trial and error! Facebook also provides documentation and guides that explain the approval process and how to get your effects published.

If you’re interested in producing one of these effects but don’t have the time to learn how to create your own effect, we would be more than happy to assist you. We have created a number of AR effects for various different brands and have developed a deep understanding of how to push this new technology to achieve something truly immersive for your user.

After creating an AR effect, you can then publish it to your Instagram profile or share it on an Instagram Story. Followers who see it can select it and use it for themselves too. The effect always credits the uploader as the creator, we always supply the project files so that you can upload the effect yourself. We can also take care of this for you. It’s a very simple process and the approval is a lot quicker than it was originally.

If you want to learn some more about creating your own Instagram Stories filter or effect with Spark AR Studio you can check out some more of our blog posts!

Best practices for Instagram AR Filters

As powerful as AR effects can be, they do also require a fair bit of thought and planning.

We are showing you some of the very best practices to follow when creating these effects, according to the product manager of Instagram’s camera team, Cemre Gungor:

#1: Serve a real need

AR effects can be used to serve a variety of different needs. They can be designed to help people with a specific problem or to make a decision, and other times they are just for a bit of fun. Here are a few key ones:

Help people to express their aesthetic: Instagram is all about visuals and people want to share their personal aesthetic. Many effects help people to improve their photos or videos with elements of color, light or visual design.

Help people to capture what they are feeling, thinking or doing: Effects can often help to amplify someone’s emotions and perspectives. People on Instagram love to share what they are into and express themselves. Effects that “facilitate expressions” tend to do really well.

Help people to get inspired or to have a bit of fun: Sometimes people don’t really know what to share. In this case these effects can assist with this. People get a bit of inspiration and are given an easy way to create something interesting that they can share, even when nothing particularly interesting is happening.

Help people to make their friends laugh: Effects can help to add humor to completely everyday situations. Humorous content has a much greater chance of being shared.

Help people to be part of something bigger: Many people celebrate cultural movements or support different causes on Instagram. Creating effects that are fitting for those movements or causes, is a great way to build a larger more engaged audience!

#2: Get out of the way

AR effects that are re-usable are often the most successful camera effects on Instagram. People can continue to use them over and over again. An AR effect is meant to complement the users creativity and helps to make that the center of attention. When you do this well, people will use your effect over and over again and create something entirely new every single time!

#3: Keep branding to a minimum

Branded effects feel more like a “gift” if they resonate with the community. It’s really important to pick and choose which brand elements you want to include in your AR effects. You shouldn’t really include your logo as this may prevent approval, but you can definitley use branded colors or a visual design instead for example.

Facebook research has shown that users are not big fans of heavily branded elements in these effects, so that’s the main reason why it’s best to think of your effect as more of a gift.

#5: Think outside the box

There are some effects out there which are extremely shareable even though they haven’t really been made with repeat use in mind. They are usually very novel and fun.

 

 

Using Spark AR Studio for business communication purposes can be a really effective way of connecting with your audience and followers, building awareness and even going viral!

It’s also a great way to grow your account whether you decide to create some of your own effects or you use already existing AR effects in your Instagram Stories.

Now is the time to jump on board the AR train!

#4: Make it easy and fun

It only takes a couple of seconds for someone to decide if they are going to use your effect. So you have to get to the point right away!

Make the effects work with the front-facing and back-facing camera.

You can also make the effect work when there’s more than one person on the screen! SnapChat even have animal face recognition so we can imagine this will be part of Instagram’s next update.

AR headset

Is There A New Samsung AR Headset In The Making?

By | Augmented Reality | No Comments

Latest AR Headset In The Making

Samsung seems to be the latest tech company to be dabbling in a bit of augmented reality if recent patent application is anything to go by.

There have been recent rumours circulating online of a patent application that was made by Samsung and seems to be alluding to them getting involved in the AR headset game. It was a Dutch publication that discovered the patent application. It seems that the AR headset has a screen in each of its lenses. It has a cable coming down and along the right arm of the glasses. It isn’t clear from the application if that cable is meant for charging the device or if they plan for this device to be wired. To be fair in some regards it’s a bit easier and allows more flexibility by tethering the glasses to a proper gaming machine that’s jammed full of dedicated graphics cards. There is something to be said though for a completely wireless experience. The difference between the Oculus Quest and the Rift S in terms of being wired is definitely noticeable. However, for development purposes I went with the Rift S myself as you can always upgrade the hardware in your PC, where as the snapdragon chipsets used in the Quest are finite. That’s it. And let’s face it they will be bringing new ones out at the end of the year I’m sure.

AR Headset

This would be Samsung’s first time dipping their toes into those new refreshing augmented reality waters. Previously they had got involved in the virtual reality market, releasing their Gear VR headsets that had some affiliation with Oculus. To be fair to them, if you already owned a Samsung phone it was definitely one of the most cost-effective ways of getting into VR and it also really wasn’t all that bad of a VR experience either. Not like that Google Cardboard crap. I mean fair play for bringing AR to the masses, but the experience is generally pretty poor and relatively headache inducing. But at the price of some cardboard and some cheap lenses, I don’t know what you would really be expecting.

AR Headset

I should probably point out that this really is only a patent application, so like no one should be getting their hopes up at all. This design could just be some sort of internal creation or it might just be some prototype that will never see the light of day or ever be released to the public. Supposedly it’s not just Samsung that have been toying with the augmented reality headset market. According to Bloomberg Apple has been getting involved with a bit of AR and more rumours have it that they will be dropping their own augmented reality headset sometime in 2020. Whilst it’s not clear what major player is going to crack the AR game wide open; it is pretty clear that AR is going from strength to strength and we are likely to see some pretty big advancements in the technology this 2020.