Creativity

Creating Standout AR Effects on Instagram

By: Spark AR Team
November 12, 2019
Creativity

Creating Standout AR Effects on Instagram

By: Spark AR Team
November 12, 2019

Augmented reality is an exciting new medium. But when you take AR and combine it with Instagram and its growing community of artists and creators, the breadth of what you can make and the potential for who you can reach quickly expands. This is why we recently opened up our beta program, enabling anyone to create Spark AR effects and publish them to Instagram.

We’ve learned a lot about what makes an AR effect resonate with Instagram’s community based on our own in-house work and observations from the most successful effects to date. If you want to make standout AR effects on Instagram, here are five tips to consider:

Creating Standout Spark AR Effects on Instagram
Creating Standout Spark AR Effects on Instagram

Let’s dig into each tip:

TIP #1

SERVE A REAL NEED

Successful AR effects serve specific needs, try to help people better express themselves and feel more comfortable sharing.

Instagram's mission is to bring you closer to the people and things you love. Targeting one or more of the following needs in your effect will ensure it delivers clear value:

Express My Aesthetic

Augmented reality allows people to express themselves visually. In this way, it sits in the same category as fashion, tattoos and makeup. AR effects that help users to express themselves and their aesthetic typically do well.

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Beauty3000 by @johwska and Piercing by @nelzster01

Capture What I’m Thinking, Feeling or Doing

Moving beyond simply taking a selfie, an AR effect can enable users to capture an actual experience or share how they’re feeling with their friends.

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Cry Me a River by @mate_steinforth and Fire Emoji by @chrispelk

Get Inspired and Have Fun

Sometimes users want to reach out to their friends but don’t have anything specific they want to talk about. In these instances, AR effects that are visually interesting or thematically stimulating are popular to share.

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Revolution by @chrispelk and Monologue by @exitsimulation

Make My Friends Laugh

One thing we often hear from users is that they want to lighten the mood and not always be so serious when sharing. AR effects can be a great way to add a little humor to your day.

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Pickle Cat by @lukehurd and Googly Eyes by @albestio

Be Part of Something Bigger Than Myself

Users love sharing on Instagram during culturally significant days. Whether that’s a festival, holiday or a day celebrating a cause.

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Neon Valentine by @instagram and Dia De Los Muertos by @runente

TIP #2

GET OUT OF THE WAY

Most of the successful Instagram AR effects make a star of the user, not the effect. In order for this to happen, the effect needs to get out of the way.

It’s a very counterintuitive thing, as most people’s instinct will be to make the effect the centerpiece, but ultimately, this will limit the creativity of the user. If an effect is very prescriptive about how it works and what it looks like, it becomes a one-use effect. If it’s flexible enough to accommodate the creativity of the user, it’s more likely to be used repeatedly.

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Left to right: TK2 by @tokyyto; Chromatic Pulse by @instagram; Butterfly by @amberarcadia

TIP #3

GIFTS, NOT ADS

Try and make your effect feel like a cool gift for the user. As long as the brand is recognizable from the effect, it doesn’t need to look like an ad to be good marketing.

When making branded content, it’s vital that the effect feels valuable to the user. Everyone wants to be transported into the world of their favourite shows; no one wants to share a picture of themselves with a logo floating above their head. We recently shared some good examples of branded effects as part of the Spark AR and HBO Mask Off contest for the new "Watchmen" series.

TIP #4

MAKE IT EASY & FUN

One of the great things about AR effects on Instagram is how easy it is to scroll through hundreds of options to find the one you like. Consider this behavior, and make something that’s fun and attention-worthy.

This doesn’t mean you can only make simple effects, but think about how to integrate a simple element that grabs a user instantly.

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Pucky by @tokyyto and Laser Focused by @afrosquared

TIP #5

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

Occasionally we see effects that go viral simply because they’re fresh and novel. Many of these effects target the use case of having fun and being entertained.

This one’s a bit of a curveball in that it’s basically a tip that says it’s OK to create outside these guidelines. Augmented reality is an entirely new creative medium that will inspire new forms of creative expression on Instagram. Don’t hesitate to test and try new ideas!

Get started

If this has inspired you to start creating your own AR effects, head over to the Spark AR Learning Center for our latest tutorials and guides. Or join the Spark AR Community where you can listen and talk to creators who are already making effects for Instagram and Facebook.

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