Getting Started: Facebook, Spark AR, and Augmented Reality (The Interactive Marketing Agency’s Perspective)

Want to increase audience engagement by more than 10x with your mobile marketing? Learn how an interactive marketing agency helps clients handle Facebook’s interactive storytelling tools.

Read on to learn more about getting interactive with augmented reality & other media on Facebook.


Right now, Facebook’s augmented reality features should have storytellers salivating.

Facebook is making huge investments into advanced media formats for their platform (like augmented reality / AR, virtual reality / VR, three-dimensional / 3D content and more.)

This means you have unprecedented opportunities to engage your customers 1-on-1 with personalized, interactive experiences like this one. (Try it on mobile!)

We’ve published numerous case studies showcasing the impact of interactive media on important marketing metrics like CTR, ROI, and engagement rate.

Platforms like Facebook are making it easier than ever to create real growth using interactive content marketing.

While Facebook’s native AR advertising platform (via Spark AR) is still working its way through closed beta, there are a few other great ways (organic and paid) you can start using Facebook’s AR and interactive tools to tell your story.

This blog begins with an overview of augmented reality, explains common problems you’re likely to run into when working with an AR development studio, and then jumps into the specific tools you can start using to get interactive on Facebook.


What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality (also known as AR) is a powerful new media format that let’s users interact in more personal ways with stories.

The most prominent use of AR that you’re probably familiar with has been the ubiquitous face filters we all know and use, (which originally emerged as a defining feature on Snapchat some time in 2015).

This content is easy to access and has become a crowd favorite around the entire world, clearly demonstrating the power and prevalence of interactive media in our daily lives.

(Thanks smartphones.)

Augmented reality concepts have been rapidly adapted directly into user behavior on mobile phones, especially across Millenial & Gen Z demographics.

The first thing many users do after taking a selfie on their favorite platforms is apply face filters.

Even international representatives are broadcasting live to the globe with kitty cat face filters.

Now almost every major social media platform has added some support for augmented reality content as they try to keep up with the demand for fresh media experiences.

Some use cases include:

  • Product demos: place interactive 3D models or product experiences in the real world around you that can be spun, flipped, and demo’d.

    • Learn more: Michael Kors AR Sunglasses is 2018 Ad Campaign of the Year. From the article: “While the results of the Michael Kors campaign are unknown, other AR ads, like Saban's 25th anniversary of "Power Rangers" campaign, produced a click-through-rate (CTR) of 2.1%, outpacing the industry benchmark of 0.08%.”

  • Gamified experiences: launches a 3D game that users can interact with via their smartphone.

  • Advanced face filters: uniquely alters the user’s facial appearance

Companies like Apple, Google, and Samsung all have their own augmented reality platforms baked into new smartphones.

Apple originally made waves in 2017 with the launch of its ARKit, becoming responsible for bringing augmented reality accessibility to huge amount of users worldwide.

With the launch of Apple’s latest ARKit 3.0, the ceiling has been removed in terms of creative & artistic applications for AR. Some weird & artistic ideas that have inspired us recently include:

AR leverages smartphone technology to do insane things.

But with that being said… even though your options are infinite, you need a clear plan as you start transitioning your storytelling into interactive mediums.

MVP: SKateboard > Sports Car

With so much opportunity and potential in this emerging space, we all want to jump in and start capitalizing TODAY.

Interactive marketing blogs like ours help you triangulate what you really need to metaphorically “crack this walnut” and get started.

However, when tackling this task and starting your journey into the world of interactive & experiential digital marketing, it’s important to pace your adoption and have a plan for adding interactive elements into your brand storytelling.

In the current landscape of AR projects, businesses are usually limited to working with an AR consultant or an AR studio who specializes in development.

(This post explains how important an interactive marketing agency is when it comes to launching a new marketing strategy).

The problem is that many AR development studios want to sell you a jackhammer to crack a nut instead of a nutcracker.

Why does this happen and how can you avoid it? Here are the common reasons.

1. AR studios want to push the envelope.

An augmented reality developer wants to continue pushing the envelope and create AR projects that are ground-breaking and ripe for publicity.

The problem with this is that when you break new ground, there are rarely any precedents for measuring results & optimizing your AR project for the KPIs that actually drive business growth.

To be successful, you need strategy. You need measurements and insights that inform strategic growth. That’s why you should work with our interactive marketing agency. Beaumonde is a unicorn/boutique agency that specifically bridges the gap between B2C revenue generation and augmented reality concepts.

2. Unbalanced Expertise. “AR + ROI = ???”

The two parties who are negotiating the project & contract are almost always lacking in strategic expertise for advanced media projects.

The AR studio has a specific set of skills they offer. Meanwhile, your business has specific marketing goals you’re hoping to achieve with an AR project.

The problem is that neither party has a deep understanding how to connect a new media projects into revenue-driving processes.

Choosing Beaumonde as your partner in creating & executing an interactive marketing strategy means our expertise is your expertise.

3. Marketers don’t speak like AR developers / immersive content creators, and vice versa.

There’s a new shared language emerging between these two disciplines, and unless you work with a team like Beaumonde it can be hard to find alignment and set the stage for ROI.

We speak everyone’s language, and the ROI certainly talks too. A team like ours gives you fluency in the future of marketing.

Here’s a solution for ROI with AR:

Brands and marketing innovators need to work with a team like ours to understand how augmented reality and revenue work together in B2C channels.

There is a wide range of winning solutions that your brand can choose that won’t involve a massive AR development plan.

Instead, you can start moving tactfully into the space of interactive marketing with higher impact projects powered by Beaumonde’s expertise.


Facebook AR & interactive ideas you can use today

  • Full, robust Augmented Reality

    • Spark AR

    • QReal / Kabaq.io

  • Interactive options with either partial AR or some active elements

    • Facebook 3D Posts

    • Facebook Frame Studio

Far from being an exhaustive list, this simply presents you with a handful of resources you can start exploring today to make meaningful progress towards building your interactive marketing mix.

Spark AR

One way to use it today: sharing organic & high-engagement AR content for fans and supporters.

Partner with an Instagram influencer to reach their followers with a creative, interactive filter.

Spark AR is Facebook’s 3D/Augmented Reality platform. If you’re unfamiliar, then this article is a great primer.

Facebook’s augmented reality tool empowers designers to get creative in new ways.

It’s a relatively new tool, still being developed & improved every day by Facebook.

Currently, there are many talented creators on the platform, which presents a big opportunity for brands to speak to fans in new ways.

Spark AR creations can be activated organically through direct links from Instagram/Facebook. (Open this link on mobile to see an example - Beauty3000 Instagram filter by Johwska)

This is a great way to work user-generated content (UGC) into your mix. User-generated content is some of the most powerful for marketing purposes.

Brands are using these tools in a variety of ways. The simplest options include basic lenses which may add a pair of glasses to someone’s face.

Open the camera inside Instagram/Facebook to see endless AR options!

More advanced filters include interactive overlays, social AR games for multiplayer, and intricate layered environments that transport users to new dimensions.

Instagram and AR are already a logical pairing. There is a lot of potential for Spark AR on Instagram, but the community is currently in closed beta.

This means most marketers will need to wait a little bit before they can put Spark AR to full use in campaigns.

Reach for Spark AR creations is primarily driven through organic invites or Spark featured content.

On Instagram, followers can access the AR filters that are made by the person they’re following.

This presents a powerful new opportunity to leverage influencer partnerships to engage followers in more robust experiences.

Instead of creating your own filter and launching it, you might consider finding a SparkAR influencer and collaborating with them - since they already have user engagement for AR!

Kabaq / QReal

(Note: Kabaq was recently rebranded to QReal)

This an option you may not be aware of. It’s designed with food & restaurants in mind, but what they’ve launched is a very robust AR content delivery network.

With platforms like Kabaq we can share interactive 3D content through platforms like Messenger.

If you have a strong Messenger list, this could set the stage for your best campaign yet. With content this engaging, your conversion rates can go through the roof.

Apple’s ARKit 3.0 (just launched) makes so many things possible. We are barely scratching the surface right now.

Kabaq is a platform that is designed to host 3D food models as an interactive experience for restaurant goers. Their platform will likely expand in the future to accommodate other 3D content

This particular platform was designed to serve just-in-time marketing that helps customers make decisions (and create UGC that your brand can share & utilize).

Facebook 3D posts

This is an interactive marketing format that is still in its infancy. 3D Facebook posts give customers a 3D interactive experience that responds to their mobile gyroscope.

Here are some of our favorite gamified 3D Photos. (Better Call Saul | Venom)

And these are some of our favorite interactive 3D models, which Facebook JUST announced they’re deprecating. Sadface. (Chris Tucker 3D Meme | Stranger Things 3D Fireworks)

It’s not fully interactive or responsive, but still a worthwhile middle step towards more interactive storytelling.

Example: Dimemetional creates 3D meme posts. Followers love it, and offer new ideas. New formats are being born. This is truly the crucible of memes.

How does it work?

Facebook let’s you post 3D content to the platform, and given the developing nature of the platform there are lots of unique tweaks and twists you can include to give 3D content a stand-out appeal.

Examples include gamified 3D photos… these interactions are the caveman writing precursors to the intuitive gamified experiences of our future that will feature content like all of these things bundled into a unified platform.

Facebook Frame Studio

Alright so this last one is a hidden Facebook gem. FB has added and moved so many different features over the last couple years.

Frame Studio sprang up presumably in response to Snapchat’s geofilters platform as a simplistic overlay tool for the Facebook Camera.

Many things are similar between the two, but Frame Studio is simply less robust in scope and utility.

With Facebook Frame Studio you can create and share picture frames for Facebook users that overlay either a profile picture or the photos taken with Facebook’s in-app camera.

Don’t knock it till you try it.

This simple tool creates very basic interactive content that at first glance seems dinky, but can prove to be a low effort, high return option.

Combine a Facebook Frame with a strong community and, let’s say, a live event, and you’ve got a recipe for serious UGC (as long as your audience is in on it).

Although this is not really augmented reality, it’s still a slightly more interactive content option that is offered by Facebook. It’s worth noting because it could be a unique piece to add into a campaign.

additional options

  • Lens Studio (Snapchat)

  • SketchFab (Leverage 3D models into ad campaigns on social & web)

  • App-based platforms like Zappar, Blippar

  • AR-enabled activations (ex: have your followers record themselves doing something in AR and share it on social to win)

Conclusion:

It’s the perfect time for you to start bringing more interactivity into your storytelling.

You’re probably already spending money on Facebook with their high-competition / low-ROI ad formats.

Consider how using a portion of your marketing budget on interactive Facebook marketing could create significant lift in your ROI, brand perception, and brand awareness.

If you want to start telling your story in a different way, then we’d love to help you.

Contact us today.