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AR marketing is happening right now: three ways you can win over Gen Z

Augmented reality (AR) marketing is happening right now, and it’s being used by some of the world’s biggest brands.

The technology was once an expensive privilege for those who could afford to work directly with Snapchat, but the release of the company’s Lens Studio software has made it possible for anyone to create a so-called Snapchat lens – allowing companies like Fanbytes the ability to offer the creation and distribution of AR lenses without the huge price tag.

There are an increasing numbers of brands – both big and small – turning to AR as a way to appeal to the youngest generation of consumers, and many of these early-adopters are gaining a lot of attention as a result. We’ll look at three ways that we’ve helped brands get ahead of the curve, by using AR to win over Generation Z.

Flatter your audience

AR isn’t just about 3D objects. It can be used not only to morph users’ faces, but also to tint images with a certain colour and feel, similar to Instagram’s filters. Whatever the content of your AR lens, ensuring that users look their best when using the lens is a surefire way to make it spread, as exemplified by music streaming platform, Deezer.

Deezer’s brand identity revolves around their Deezer Flow feature, which uses an algorithm to create personalised playlists for consumers. We recently promoted this idea through an AR lens campaign based on Deezer’s slogan, “What’s Your Song”.

This AR lens had three different moods – happy, lit, and chill – which reflected three different genres of music. When users tapped on the lens, the lens and the mood changed, allowing users to create flattering videos of themselves for different moods.

The end result? Not only did the lens generate over 1 million views in just 24 hours, but it also became the second most popular lens on Snapchat. Such is the power of flattering your audience.

Interactivity wins

If your lens is nice to look at, chances are people will share it. But if it’s interactive? Each user is likely to spend more time using the lens, the videos they share will be longer, and overall more users will be experiencing your branded content for longer.

We helped Plato, a social gaming app, put this theory into practice with a lens for their murder-mystery game Werewolf. We built an immersive 3D haunted cabin, full of interactive elements. Users exploring the room can tap to open chests and cabinets, and – when they approach the window – a werewolf’s menacing silhouette is illuminated by a flash of lightning.

This lens reached almost 2.5 million people, thanks to users sharing the lens with their friends. Plato also released a 3D werewolf lens, which also went down a treat with Snapchat’s younger user base, making for a combined view count of over 5 million, with well over 360,000 teens scanning and using the lenses.

To top it off, each lens also spent several days as the highest trending lens on Snapchat, helping Plato reach secure a prominence across Snapchat, and proving that interactivity is a surefire way to win over Generation Z.

Keep it simple

You only have to look at Snapchat’s list of trending lenses to see that simple works. By far the most popular lens type are lenses which change the colour of users’ eyes. It’s a subtle effect, which is relatively easy for a designer to achieve, and users love it.

When condensing a brand message into an accessible, fun format, it often pays not to overthink it. Electronic music trio Above & Beyond wanted to incorporate a Snapchat lens into one of their live shows.

The design of their recent album cover made use of a confetti effect, and so our lens featured a 3D confetti cannon, as well as an interactive 3D Above & Beyond logo. It proved a hit at the live show, with attendees of the event inspired to broadcast it to all of their friends, with the 3D logo a prominent part of all their videos. It was an incredible way to build hype, and helped drive brand awareness in one of the most powerful, organic ways possible.

It’s clear from these examples that no matter the size of the brands, AR marketing provides an incredible opportunities to spread a branded message in as authentic a way as possible.

Bret Cameron is head of campaigns at Fanbytes