Instagram Filters for Killer Campaigns.
Posted on February 9, 2021
Instagram filters are all the rage and have been for a long time (at least on social media timescales). In fact, they were one of the major original attractions of the platform. But now things have gone a step further and we’re seeing AR (Augmented Reality) filters on Instagram. Since 2019, these AR filters have been open for brands to use as part of their marketing efforts, which opens up a world of possibilities.
Let’s take a quick look at what they are, why brands should use them, potential uses and why now is the right time for an Instagram AR filter campaign for your brand.
AR Filters: What’s the Deal?
It’s simply a matter of incorporating AR technology with the idea of Instagram filters. Basically, using an AR filter, you enhance what your camera sees. Think of those selfies with bunny ears included on top. That’s an AR filter at work. But Instagram AR filters can be applied on top of faces and other objects and the possibilities for creative marketing are endless.
What’s in it for Brands?
People love AR filters because they’re great fun. Who doesn’t like to goof around and share with their followers? And guess what, fun=sharable! So, brands that use AR filter marketing campaigns can increase brand awareness, without being in your face. For some products, such as beauty products or home décor, this can even be a tool to help consumers “try” before they buy.
Apart from increased awareness, the shareability factor of this medium serves to increase engagement and help you stand out as a brand. Remember, it’s easy and affordable to let creativity run wild with tools like this. Plus, an AR filter campaign can be standalone or included as part of a wider marketing effort. You’re only limited by creativity.
Possible Marketing Use Cases
Facial Augmentation – This is the very familiar addition of stuff like rabbit ears or a hat to your selfie. This can be expanded to include other items, such as those with your branding on them or objects as part of some kind of competition. A great example is the filter we did for DFCC Bank during the cricket world cup.
Games – AR filter powered games are a thing too. You can create simple games around your brand, which require users to interact with AR objects to play. One of the most popular and well-known examples globally is the Ben & Jerry’s (ice cream) catch the falling marshmallow game.
Virtual Objects – This is the addition of virtual objects to the frame, usually using facial or other cues to trigger them. We did a really cool one of these for SriLankan Airlines; smiling added a two flight attendant characters to the frame and looking up made a UL aircraft flyby with the celebratory message for 40 years of UL.
Virtual Try-Ons – For relevant brands such as cosmetics, clothes, furniture and others, this opens up amazing avenues for product promotion and customer experience enhancements. Using AR filters, customers can virtually try on or try out your stuff and share with their friends.
Why Now’s the Right Time for AR Filters
Everyone’s on Their Phone – Especially with lockdowns and people staying in due to the pandemic, this is a great time to launch entertaining campaigns using techniques such as AR filters. It’s a great way to promote good safety practices as well on behalf of your brand.
Organic Sharing – Instagrammers are very much more likely to share AR filters on their feeds vs. other content, because guess what… it features them! Effectively encouraging your filter to go viral can have a huge snowball effect. Filters can also be shared as story advertisements to your target audience.
User Generated Content – Why do the work when you can get others to do it for you Instagram AR filters provide virtually unlimited potential for user generated content, which means more sharing and more talk and time devoted to your brand. Plus, users are 2.4 times more likely to view and share user generated content.
Tracking Performance – Using Facebook’s Spark AR Hub, you can monitor metrics such as impressions, captures and shares to track the performance of your campaign. Cool that Facebook owns Instagram, no?
Customize & Showcase – Instagram AR filters are fully customizable and allow you to design them exactly as you like to showcase your brand’s personality.
Jump Aboard ARight Now!
Have you used Instagram AR filters? Would you like to? Let us know in the comments below. And, if you’re serious, speak to us ARight away and we’ll fix you up with an AR filter to set your Instagram on fire!
Apps That Rocked During Lockdown
Posted on February 9, 2021
As the world locked-down to battle the COVID-19 global pandemic, many online apps were busy
in touch and entertaining ourselves suddenly gone in a poof of corona, people were forced to turn to
their smart devices for everything from communication to news and entertainment.
As a result, while it was all doom and gloom outside, the sun was shining bright in the world of
mobile apps; with many achieving record levels of downloads and activity. So much so that, with all
the corona-crazy going around at the time, many feared even the internet would go up in a cloud of
smoke due to everyone watching Netflix and other… Ahem… on-demand video service “hubs”.
So, who were the winners? Let’s take a look some of the top apps of 2020 so far in-terms of
downloads. (Source: sensortower.com)
Top Apps So Far
TikTok – The lockdown was an ideal opportunity for mindless entertainment and so it’s no doubt
that TikTok in all its mindless (but fun and creative) glory took the world by storm. The platform has
emerged as a popular social network and is now also emerging as an effective digital marketing tool,
particularly amongst younger demographics.
WhatsApp – No surprise here… People need to stay in touch and with encrypted one-to-one chats,
voice and video calling and group chat features along with its massive popularity, downloading
WhatsApp was a no brainer.
Zoom – Before the lockdowns, few people had even heard of Zoom. But now, Zoom is everywhere.
In fact, if you’ve not used Zoom at least once, please check, because you may be living under a rock!
The excellent video conferencing features of this app, along with its excellent UI and quality of
service made it a rocking star in terms of collaboration and keeping in touch during the lockdown.
It’s also been an excellent tool for learning and has gained a lot of traction, despite initial issues with
data security and privacy.
Facebook & Messenger – Clearly, the last few people who’ve been avoiding getting on the
platform have been sent over the edge by the pandemic. However, Facebook is consistently
amongst the world’s top downloaded apps, so this is nothing remarkable.
Instagram – Lockdown was a great time to scroll through endless feeds of images showcasing other
people’s lives and there’s no better platform for this than Instagram.
SHAREit – Cross-platform and cross-device file sharing became a suddenly critical need during the
lockdown and SHAREit enabled that. The platform also offered other features for entertainment and
communication. The standout feature of the app is filesharing between nearby devices without the
need for an internet connection, thus saving data. No wonder it’s made the list!
Netflix – A no-brainer. Netflix probably saved many from full-scale mental breakdown during
lockdown, so its comforting even to see it on this list.
Snapchat – Another social platform that’s been growing in popularity that got a nice leg-up from
Google Classroom – Everyone’s been talking about online learning for a long time but there was
never a critical need to implement it till recent events unfolded. This need for online learning has
seen Google Classroom, an excellent tool for creating, distributing and grading assignments, blow up
in terms of popularity during lockdown.
Other Notable Mentions
Other apps too gained in popularity such as Microsoft Teams, House Party, YouTube and Ding Talk
amongst others. Basically, apps that provided communication, collaboration and entertainment
grew in popularity during the period.
Even though games were not included in this list, they were some of the hottest downloads during
the lockdown and included titles such as ASMR Slicing, PUBG Mobile, Save the Girl and Call of Duty
Mobile. The popularity of online gaming on mobile and PC has skyrocketed during lockdown and will
likely continue to do so as people look to avoid unnecessary public exposure.
It’s reasonable to question whether the surges in usage of these apps and services during the
lockdown will last long-term. Life will eventually return to “normal” and, when people are able to go
about freely and do what they used to, will they still choose to spend so much time on their devices?
While it’s left to be seen, some of the growth will likely be sustained, particularly for apps that
provide useful services. Online gaming is also likely to see its lockdown-growth last, as many new
online gamers will likely remain online gamers for years to come.
However, as life returns to a state of “normalcy”, whenever and whatever that may be, some of this
growth in users and activity will likely reverse itself to the median. But the great news is that the
present increased popularity and usage will see better services, more competition and thus more
innovation in the near term; giving users the best experience possible.
What do you think? What apps did you download? Which of them will you keep using? Tell us in the
Learn! Even Under a Rock.
Posted on February 9, 2021
The Rise of Online Learning Platforms & Our Top Picks
The COVID-19 global pandemic has turned the world upside down. And when you turn something upside down, good things can often fall out. One of these has definitely been the true widespread adoption of online learning and online learning platforms.
The technology and the platforms have been available for quite some time. However, with easy access to in-person learning experiences, there was never really a major compulsion to adopt online learning on a grand scale, except in certain circumstances. But now, with the pandemic having its way with the world, nearly everyone has opened their eyes to the possibilities of online learning platforms and technologies.
The potential is truly massive! And that’s why we’ve decided to list some of our top favourite online learning platforms. But before that, let’s look at some of the major advantages of online learning.
Why It’s Awesome
- Accessibility – These platforms and resources, many of which are free, can be accessed by anyone, anywhere as long as they have access to at least a smartphone. There’s also no logistics involved in accessing these platforms such as travel/accommodation, making them more affordable. Also, online learning is not limited to large platforms; any organization or individual teacher can use tools like Google Classroom, Zoom and others to facilitate online learning for students and employees.
- Special Pandemic Benefits – Many online learning platforms and traditional educational facilities are offering their courses and resources free of charge or at significantly discounted rates at present.
- Flexibility – Unlike traditional learning methods, each individual can choose when, where and how to learn. Of course, there are some exceptions such as with live streams, but otherwise, it’s really up to the individual how they approach their learning.
- Affordability – Online learning platforms are almost always more affordable, with many even being totally free to use. Yes, there is the cost of data, but this is truly negligible when compared with the costs of travel/accommodation and incidental expenses when considering traditional options. Basic but capable smartphones are also now more affordable than ever.
- Efficiency – Online learning is often more time efficient. Plus, it is possible to access a variety of resources rather quickly so your options are unlimited.
- Certification – Obtaining certification in many areas of study is also possible online.
Our Top Picks
Remember that some of these options may not be applicable to you depending on your level/area of study. We have listed these on an overall basis and in no particular order.
DP Education – This Sri Lankan YouTube channel is focused on mathematics for middle and upper school. The videos are available in all three languages and the instructor goes through syllabus material with visual aids and clear explanations. It’s a great local initiative with plans to expand.
Khan Academy – An American non-profit organization created by Salman Khan (Sorry, not the Bollywood guy, this one’s an American educator), whose passion for teaching and learning inspired him to create an online platform with now over 6,500 video lessons covering a wide variety of subjects and with everything accessible for free.
Coursera – They offer a wide variety of courses from universities and companies around the world. Courses include Google’s Python Crash Course and other popular courses from Stanford University, Imperial College London, Duke University and others. Of course, these are not free but are still easy to access and often very affordable. Everything from one-time workshops, professional courses and even master’s degrees are available from online universities through Coursera.
Skillshare – If you’re a YouTube watcher, you’ve probably already heard of Skillshare with their widespread advertising on the platform. This is an online learning platform for artists and creative people with courses on drawing, illustration, photography, design, writing and others. Many lessons are free, but for a small subscription fee you can access top-notch courses and learning material.
Codeacademy – This is a platform dedicated to teaching people to code. Students at any experience level can join and follow the courses to become proficient in any of the major coding languages today. You can access a lot of the content for free but you will need to pay for members-only content and more advanced features.
Udemy – A platform providing plenty of options for online classes in business, marketing, IT, design and much more. You need to pay for the courses but you can preview them before you commit. There are plenty of options to choose from here and many areas of study, but it is a paid service.
edX – Another online learning platform that provides university level courses in various fields such as the sciences, business, technology and the humanities. They offer courses from top universities such as MIT, Harvard, Berkley and companies like IBM with professional certificates and “micro” degrees available online. Many of the courses are even free, though you’ll have to pay if you want certification.
Have you been using online learning platforms during or before the pandemic? What do you think about online learning? Tell us in the comments below!
COVID-19 Marketing Campaigns That Rocked!
Posted on February 9, 2021
In the face of the global pandemic, there was an immediate need for innovative and relatable marketing communications; to address customer concerns, to move towards solutions and to bring people together (while they stayed safely apart). This resulted in amazing marketing efforts on the part of many brands, which we would never have seen if not for the global crisis we are facing.
Here are our top 10 favourites (in no particular order):
Guinness’s St. Patricks Day Video
St. Patrick’s Day is a big day for Ireland and Guinness. But this year, they knew things would have to be different. The result was an inspiring video that encouraged the safe celebration of the occasion (with a pint of Guinness of course). The central idea being that “we will all march again if we stand together now”.
YouTube’s #StayHome and help save lives #WithMe Video
YouTube put out an amazing video during the lockdowns to encourage people to stay home and save lives. The video is unique as it brings together some of the world’s most popular YouTubers in a single video, with a single unified message; stay home and do stuff #WithMe (i.e. with your favourite YouTube personalities).
Apple’s Creativity Goes On Video
This video starts out rather hauntingly with scenes from places that would usually be crowded and lively, like cinemas, being deserted. But then it moves on to take a more inspiring tone of how, through technology, people are still communicating, creating and inspiring each other. How, no matter what, creativity goes on.
For a company that is heavily vested in the outdoors, Nike’s message on Instagram was truly inspirational and definitely showed consumers that they genuinely care (and that their marketing team are geniuses). It was a simple text post, but it’s effect and idea were incredible. A great lesson on how simple things can provide amazing results when well-executed.
Honda’s #StayHome Video
A witty, cleverly written and executed video that shows how the world has changed and expresses hope for the future, without even a hint of negativity, fear or panic. Now this is an inspiring video!
Cargills Food City’s Online Shopping Video
A great example from Sri Lanka, this vibrant and lively video serves to address customer concerns, move towards a solution and help bring people together (while they stay safely apart), all at the same time. Its hopeful tone helps to inspire confidence in the chain for the future.
The effects of the global pandemic mean that brands now need to address it with their marketing whenever possible. By creating marketing campaigns that are sensitive to the pandemic and prevailing restrictions worldwide, the benefits to brands are two-fold. On the one hand, by including the appropriate messaging, brands can have a direct positive impact on communities, helping to reduce the spread of the disease. On the other hand, brands will be able to better position themselves as responsible and proactive in the minds of consumers through such marketing campaigns.
What do you think of these videos and posts? What was your favourite COVID-19 marketing campaign? Have we missed it? Let us know in the comments below!