Camera marketing is unquestionably one of the next waves of digital marketing, as smartphones with built-in cameras have ushered in a new era of consumer behavior, with users increasingly interacting with the physical world through a digital lens. By 2021, according to the Boston Consulting Group, 120 million Americans will engage with Augmented Reality material monthly, thus companies that don’t employ immersive technologies may find out themselves unable to compete with other companies.
Although the emergence of social media AR appears to have happened overnight, the technology has been around for quite some time. Let us take a look at the history of Augmented Reality face filters.
Snapchat, formerly known as Picaboo, is using AR on social media for the first time. It was first distributed in the App Store in July 2011 by CEO Evan Spiegel’s father’s living room. It was designed to make “Snaps,” which are multimedia messages made up of photos or videos that may be edited with filters, effects, descriptions, and little doodles. They could be sent privately or to a so-called “Story” that will disappear after a single viewing, but the app’s fleeting nature appealed to younger consumers.
Although Snapchat is commonly referred to as the first social media AR platform, the technology was developed by Looksery, a Ukrainian startup that specialized in facial tracking, face modification, and bandwidth optimization technologies for real-time films. Snapchat purchased Looksery for a whopping US$150 million in 2015 and then created Lenses, which uses AR technology to merge 3D rendered components into the camera picture.
Snapchat Lenses were a huge hit with users right away. After their in-house team created over 3000 AR filters, they released Lens Studio, a free desktop app in December 2017 that may assist both ordinary users and advertisers in bringing their ideas to reality. Two years later, they’ve released the 2.0 version, which uses augmented reality to alter pets, hands, bodies, and iconic landmarks all around the world. Although Snapchat had a hard year in 2018 when many users abandoned the app following a redesign, it is now more popular than ever, which the Daily Active Users (DAU) grew 8% year over year to 203 million daily active users in Q2 2019.
Spark AR (Facebook AR filters)
When it came to “self-destructing” messaging and AR filters, Facebook had a lot of catching up to do with Snapchat. After Snapchat declined Mark Zuckerberg’s offer at least twice, Facebook chose to launch Slingshot, a comparable app that was discontinued and deleted from the app store and Google Play store in less than two years.
Instagram introduced a new feature called Stories in 2016, which is similar to Snapchat Stories. Content shared to Stories is only available for 24 hours after it is posted. A year later, they launched Facebook Stories, which allowed users to publish several photos and videos as part of a visual collection at the top of their News Feed.
In April 2017, just a few hours after Snapchat revealed their World Lenses, Facebook introduced Camera Effects, which was eventually renamed Spark AR and extended to Instagram as well. Spark AR Studio allowed beta testers to create immersive, interactive experiences and share face filter Spark AR with their followers. Users had to follow creators to unlock their filters, thus they could easily gain thousands of followers during the program.
In August 2019, Facebook announced that everyone may use Spark AR face filters to bring their brand assets to life, allowing them to create a viral moment on Instagram or Facebook. Each brand can now start an effective campaign and track its ROI by following a few simple steps.
AR face filters are no longer limited to Instagram Stories. Since their announcement in 2018, a selected group of advertisers has been allowed to test AR advertisements, and they will open up a global beta this fall, making the advertisement format available to all advertisers
Feel free to contact us if you are interested in our Augmented Reality filters.