Facebook has announced a private beta program for the rollout of AR filters on Instagram. Following trial launches with global influencers including Kylie Jenner, Virgil Abloh, and Lisa and Lena (in partnership with Stink Studios, below), Instagram is now enabling selected brands to get involved by creating anything from simple custom filters through to fully interactive augmented experiences.
Agencieos is one of the few partners chosen to build Instagram AR filters using Spark AR as part of the private beta program. We are working in close partnership with Instagram developing concepts for clients that are highly targeted across a number of audiences and industry sectors.
We're really excited to be part of the beta program. The opportunity to bring AR to such a huge and engaged audience on Instagram should be a gateway to much wider uptake of the technology with our clients.
Of course, AR has suffered its own challenges. The late-noughties webcam incarnation was a clunky experience, requiring java plugins, ugly tracking markers and providing a single-digit framerate for many experiences. With the advent of powerful GPUs in smartphones, there’s been a land grab for the second wave of powerful, stable AR experiences that could be accessed directly through a phone. Apple brought a world of markerless tracking with their own ARKit, and Google quickly followed suit with ARCore, both of which require dedicated app installs for users to access content. WebAR is seeing developments in the form of the open-source AR.js, but at the time of writing is still tied to marker-based tracking. Google’s WebARonArCore browser-based solution also shows a lot of promise, but remains a developer-only experience for the time being. That leaves creators and brands clamouring for easy to develop, high-quality AR, accessible to anyone, with minimal access requirements.
To date, Spark AR has excelled at creating the kind of fun face adornments that will be familiar to any user of Snapchat lenses. But Facebook’s platform scale represents a more enticing proposition to brands. Can it offer the kind of strides in development potential that will see brands join the AR revolution wholesale? We’re here at F8 to find out.