Nothing quite encapsulates influencer marketing gone wrong like the Fyre Festival scandal. Influencers posting about the festival not only neglected to disclose they were being paid, but ultimately misled their followers to believe the experience would be a celebrity infested, luxury drenched paradise.
The actions of these influencers serve to reveal deeper issues: our incredulity that so many Instagram users bought into this scheme, and their own outrage that they had been duped. While the Fyre Festival is emblematic of how celebrity influencers can misuse their reach and power over consumers, this type of social media marketing activity is widespread and incredibly difficult to regulate. The good thing is that social media users are now more savvy, and many influencers have realized that relying on a perfectly curated, manufactured existence to sell product doesn’t work as well as it once did.
The evolution of influencer culture can’t simply be a splinter culture that attempts to be “more real” but essentially functions the same way. Instead, Instagram users need to be able to position themselves within a brand narrative, instead of mindlessly scrolling past influencer-produced content. Now that Instagram and Facebook have joined Snapchat in opening up their AR capabilities, AR filters are now accessible to all brands and businesses. This alternative toolkit empowers branded feeds to let their audience become a part of a campaign narrative, offering a brands an opportunity to engage new and existing fans like never before.
There are two main components that show how effective Instagram AR filters and branding can be: Qualitative metrics and the elimination of the influencer as brand proxy.
Instagram AR filters are qualitative because brands can see how the filter is being shared, and how users are interacting with it. “Likes” or “vanity metrics” are being shown the door because as much as they are quantitative, they simply are not qualitative. There is nothing to show how users are actually engaged with the content when they tap “like”, but with Instagram AR filters, brands will see increased engagement with their message.
Still, influencer marketing is still the only way you will be able to let your audience know that your filter exists, so using the right brand ambassadors to help you spread the word is still necessary in order to launch a successful AR filter campaign.
Your brand influencers will need to capture Story content using your AR filter and share it with their audience, ideally multiple times over a period of weeks. A link to your AR filter will appear in the top of the frame in these stories, making easy for their followers to tap and try it for themselves.
However, as their audience will be able to create and share their own Story content using your branded AR filter, the reach of your message will be able to grow exponentially as it spreads from one user’s network of followers to the next.
With strategic creative design, an Instagram AR filter has the ability to light up our desire for digital interaction. The emotionless double-tap to “like” can evolve into a tool for self-expression that allows users to easily incorporate a branded narrative into their own Story content. This means that your audience now has the opportunity to become one of your brand influencers in their own right, helping to democratize influencer marketing on one of the world’s most popular visual platforms.
Looking to learn more about social media AR? Check out our full list of resources here.