Instagram Filters – The Ultimate Brand Manager’s Guide
Instagram filters have become one of the primary tools for digital communication in 2020, but there are still a number of issues open for discussion:
What is an Instagram filter in terms of communication?
What tasks can it fulfill?
How can you get an Instagram filter to go viral?
In this article, the CEO of FFFACE.ME studio Dmytro Kornilov shares his experiences while developing more than 500 Instagram filters for top brands. We will consider all the primary issues with examples and include some Do’s and Don’ts.
Get branded content views – by mentioning the publishers brand in the watermark in the upper left corner of the story with an Instagram filter.
Generate custom content that can be used for a publisher’s brand story feed – thanks to the ability to repost a story with a filter from the brand.
Generate profile visits, and as a result – new subscriptions – if the content is relevant to a new visitor or by clicking on a link in their profile if the link contains a relevant offer.
Generate promo participants who will create branded content in exchange for the opportunity to receive a prize.
to note, a brand isn’t limited to just reposting stories with the branded Instagram filter, but can also independently find the content without marks. To do this you need to go to the filter, click on the three dots menu on the right and then click on the circle with the filter icon. This way you will see the most popular content created with your filter in the last 24 hours.
An excellent illustration of this funnel is our case for Luxoptica. Consumers received a free examination from an optometrist by playing an Instagram game and tagging the brand’s account. As a result of the campaign, 7000 promo participants were generated. After an eye test, they made purchases amounting to $17,500.
In other words, despite the fact that Instagram filters can be used as an image tool, they are a very specific tool for generating and activating a new audience.
FINALLY, INSTAGRAM FILTERS HELP ATTRACT NEW AUDIENCES BY USING THE REACH OF AN EXISTING AUDIENCE.
Facebook offers 5 types of metrics, Let’s take a look at each of them:
the total number of times users have seen content with your filter
the number of times users have opened your effect
the number of times the user added an effect to their gallery. Shows the effects potential for casual use, i.e. daily content creation
the number of times users have pressed the shutter after opening your effect*
the number of times the user has created and posted a story or post with a filter
it’s useful to compare the number of Impressions against the number of Opens a nd the number of Opens against the number of Captures. This helps to measure how attractive the effect is on first contact, as well as how good it looks on the average user’s face when opened.
IN TERMS OF METRICS FROM OUR EXPERIENCE, THE EFFECTS CAN BE DIVIDED INTO 4 CATEGORIES:
UP TO 5 THOUSAND IMPRESSIONS
Effects that are guaranteed to not take off
UP TO 50 THOUSAND IMPRESSIONS
Effects that take off as part of promotional activity, but don’t have viral potential
FROM 50 TO 500 THOUSAND IMPRESSIONS
Situationally viral effects
FROM 500 THOUSAND IMPRESSIONS
THERE IS ALSO DISTRIBUTION BY THE TYPE OF EFFECT IN TERMS OF METRICS:
THE MOST VIRAL EFFECTS
selfie effects and camera effects – those where the focus is the user’s content (their face or a picture from their camera)
world-camera effects that place an object on a flat surface and, as a result, require special working conditions (normal lighting, uniform surface without glare)
a use case that seems very attractive, in fact, rarely bring a reach of more than 100 thousand impressions. This is due to the fact that people usually come to Instagram to shoot content, and not to play. If an Instagram game does not *work* like a selfie filter, then most likely it will not get a wide coverage
effects with target trackers that require a special marker to activate. This means that their use requires special conditions, that not everyone has access to. These effects are not easily shared from the very start because users don’t have the right conditions to use them
HOW TO MAKE A FILTER TAKE OFF?
From the final definition in the previous section, it becomes obvious that Instagram filters are used by the audience of the brand’s Instagram page. For this reason, we create Instagram filters that should not be liked by the brand team, not by the creative director, but exclusively by your audience.
CRITERIA THAT CONTRIBUTES TO FILTER VIRALITY:
1. It makes the user more attractive. Thus, the user shares the content with a filter in order to receive compliments on their appearance and image
2. It makes the user smile. In this case, the user will share filtered content to showcase their sense of humour and get laughs from their audience
3. It makes the user feel better, in terms of your image. For example, by joining some relevant movement or expressing support for some position
4. It gives the user the chance to play or occupy yourself and win a prize
5. It helps the user feel nostalgic
6. It helps the user feel creative. For example, by creating stylish content
7. It helps the user become a part of the most relevant trend or meme
IN ALL CASES, THE MAIN DRIVER FOR USING THE FILTER IS THE ABILITY TO:
Build confidence (I look prettier / funnier / more unusual / fashionable / trendier)
WHICH FILTERS WON’T TAKE OFF?
INSTAGRAM FILTERS THAT ARE UNLIKELY TO TAKE OFF ARE:
With intrusive branding all over the face (especially if this brand is not a love mark and a sign of success, such as Supreme)
With complex, multi-step mechanics
Understandable to a very narrow audience
FOR MOST BRANDED FILTERS THE FIRST THREE POINTS ARE USUALLY TYPICAL DESIGN MISTAKES
The first mistake is related to the filter being perceived as another advertising tool that works by the principle of imposing content. In reality, the opposite is true, through unobtrusive distribution. Yes, if you add a logo to your face, then those who see it will probably remember your logo but, the amount of content with that kind of branding will be so scarce that the density of your content will be outweighed by the lack of numbers.
The second mistake is usually associated with the illusion that all filters are the same and are easy to make. Just like with landing page design or banners in digital advertising.
The third mistake is usually associated with underestimating the importance of creativity for this tool, as well as a simple lack of empathy. Brands often create Instagram effects that the brand team itself does not want to use. For some reason, it is believed that the audience is different. This usually does not happen.
Let’s consider the main criteria for a successful filter using contrasting examples.
NO – RED BULL
YES – GUCCI
1. The brand is integrated unobtrusively
2. Creative idea outplays product usage
3. Filter helps to receive wow-reactions
NO – BURGER KING
The idea seems cool from the point of view of the communication strategy as a whole, but it is completely misunderstood to a user outside the context.
YES – DANONE
1. Filter with a black-to-white transition outplays official advertising campaign visual
2. It helps user to create branded UGC without product placement
NO – RICHARD TEA
1. The logo lives a separate life from the whole filter
2. Filter makes the content overbranded
3. It’s flat, not interactive
YES – SAMSUNG
1. The product model is executed in 3D, taking into account all the material features, it looks realistic
2. The interface allows you to simultaneously see both the meaning of the joke and the reaction
NO – AUDI KZ
Despite a good idea, it’s complicated for the user to figure out what to do without a hint or video instruction
YES – LUXOPTICA
1. The name of the filter corresponds to its meaning
2. The design of the buttons corresponds to the functionality that is embedded in them
Custom filters for content creation are available on most major social networks including Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and TikTok. Filters have become a major marketing tool that continue to be developed and saturated with new features. Creators and brands are reporting millions of covers and thousands of User Generated Content every day. More brands are releasing their cases every day.
It is already clear that filters are not a one-day hype, but a necessary communication tool.
If we could summarize filters in one sentence, I would call them a media virus that allow users to access the communication potential of an existing audience to attract more.