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Instagram Stories AR Filters: What Are They and How Are Brands Using Them?

If you’ve been on Snapchat or Instagram Stories lately, you’ve probably used an augmented reality (AR) filter. These filters were once used ‘just for fun’, but over the years there has been a rise in the number of brands who are jumping on the AR bandwagon. However, many brands struggle to come up with a relevant idea or create a filter – read on to find out more.


Instagram filters are a type of Augmented Reality (AR) application that allows Instagram users to augment their surroundings or interact with virtual objects in real-time. This could be something as simple as adding a hat, or as awe-inspiring as creating a museum experience.

Since Instagram opened up for brands to use filters for marketing in 2019 August, it has gained the attention of many brands worldwide as an innovative way to engage their audiences without making them feel bored.


People use AR filters because they are fun – it’s as simple as that. Think about some of the most famous AR filters – from the traditional dog face filter (giving you dogs ears and nose) and the floral crown – they’re all fun to use, and for selfies tend to be quite flattering. The fun aspect is what makes them sharable.

The key benefits of using an AR filter are:

  1. Increase awareness of a brand or product – it is a great way to showcase a new beauty line by telling people ‘test’ how a lipstick looks on them

  2. Increase engagement – AR filters are a good way to interact with your audience and boost engagement – you could encourage people to tag you in their Stories when they use the filter to enter a competition, for example

  3. Help you stand out – there are so many brands on Instagram right now, adding an AR filter can help showcase just what makes you special

The possibility for AR filters are endless, but we’ve broken it down into four categories of how AR filters can be used for marketing.


These are the filters where you add a decoration: whether it’s adding a beard, sunglasses or an animal nose. This is fantastic for brands that have key characteristics or features.

Gucci Beauty recently launched its Instagram account and unlike most makeup and cosmetic brands wherein you see flatlays, selfies, or product shots, its initial posts are art pieces featuring women of different ethnicities from different time periods. A full week after, Gucci Beauty rolled out its filters where you can choose from three portrait looks that take after the renaissance and baroque era.

Source: Gadget Match


This type of filter became more popular in 2019: with brands heavily jumping on the ‘what XXX are you’ bandwagon, which was originally made famous by a ‘which Disney character are you?’ filter. Starbucks, McDonalds and Burger King all invited the public to find out their order, while sports brands said what player you were, or suggested work outs.

However, don’t feel you have to go down this route: back in 2017 Ben & Jerry’s created a highly interactive Facebook AR filter game to launch a new ice-cream flavour. The game encouraged people to ‘catch’ marshmallows in their mouth, ending when five marshmallows were missed. These types of filters are endlessly entertaining and sharable.

Source: We Are Social


You can also add virtual objects to your filter to appear in your landscape. One brand which used this well was Coca-Cola Poland, who used its AR filter to superimpose its brand mascot, the polar bear, on top of the surroundings. This use of the AR filter to create market awareness about its brand helped Coca Cola to reach millions of users who enjoyed using the filter.


We think that AR will continue to grow for fashion and beauty brands, and this type of filter will certainly help. Whether it is seeing how a t-shirt, a pair of shoes, or sunglasses look on you, there are a lot of opportunities.

Make-up brands are also jumping on this trend to showcase how lipstick, mascara or even just different ‘looks’ appear on you. Kylie Jenner, Dior and Nars are among the brands who have encouraged the public to test out make-up.

Source: Gadget Match


With the improvements in AR technology and growth of social media, there is no doubt that AR will play a big role in the future of marketing. Get an early head start and learn more about AR filters today by heading over to Spark AR.

If you want to keep learning about current marketing trends and tips for your brand, stay tune for more of our posts and follow us on Instagram.


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