How To Promote Your Filter & Lens on Instagram

September 20, 2019 • Written by Camera IQ

Congratulations! You’ve designed a new AR lens for Instagram. Now, you’re ready to showcase your brand’s creativity and thrill audiences. But when, where, and how should you share your effect to optimize discovery and engagement? Use this step-by-step guide to ensure your activities align with Instagram lens promotion best practices, and drive adoption of your experience.  

Step 1: Get Familiar With Effects Folders and Effect Links

To successfully promote an Instagram lens, it’s important to understand the platform’s basic architecture for storing and sharing AR effects. Once your experience is live, users can discover it through two primary channels:

  • Effects folder: When you launch an AR effect, Instagram automatically opens an Effects folder on your profile. All lenses published by your account will be stored in this folder. Instagram users visiting your profile from a mobile device can preview, try, and share your AR effects via the Effects folder. 
  • Effect link: When an Instagram user shares content incorporating an AR lens, an effect link appears in the upper left hand corner of the video. Viewers can tap the link to try and share the experience.

Instagram lens promotion


Step 2: Create a Promotional Video

Before you share your effect with the world, you’ll need to film a “preview” video that shows it in action. This video will live in the Effects folder on your profile, so it will be many users’ first touchpoint with your lens. Consider using talent, and ensure that the storyline of your video demonstrates the full capabilities of your effect. The primary objective of this content is to generate excitement about your experience, and encourage viewers to try it themselves.

Instagram lens promotion

Step 3: Share Your Instagram Lens to Stories

Once your lens is live in the Effects folder on your profile, it’s time to show it off to your followers! Post an Instagram Story featuring your lens to drive awareness among your audience. You can accomplish this in one of two ways:

1) Share Content From Your Camera Roll 

Many brands promote new lenses on Stories by uploading pre-existing content, such as the effect’s official preview video, from the camera roll. One advantage of this approach is that you can incorporate a CTA encouraging viewers to try your effect into the post by taking the steps below.

How to promote a filter on Instagram

2) Share Content Immediately

If you’d prefer to share your effect immediately, you can simply record a video with your lens directly in Stories. While your post will include the Effect link, be mindful that you cannot add a CTA which may result in fewer users trying your experience.

Step 4: Educate Your Audience on How to Use Your Effect

If this is the first time you’re learning about Instagram’s Effects folder, chances are, your audience will need some help finding it, too. Don’t assume your followers are AR experts—instead, use your Story to educate them on how to navigate to your Effects folder and use the Effect link to create their own content with your lens.

Promote an AR lens on Instagram

Step 5: Showcase Your Lens on Your Instagram Profile

To make your effect easily discoverable, consider posting a video incorporating your lens to your Instagram profile, or creating a dedicated highlight reel. If you’re concerned about curation, remember that you can always archive the post or delete the reel once your campaign is finished.

Promote an Instagram AR filter

Step 6: Take Promotion Off-Platform via the Instagram Sharing URL

When your effect is live, Camera IQ will generate a unique url which, when clicked on a mobile phone, will open the lens in Instagram. Add this to your bio on all social media platforms and promote it across consumer touchpoints, such as emails, video descriptions, pinned tweets, and podcasts.

Instagram filter promotion best practices

Step 7: Encourage Co-Creation and Engage With UGC

User-generated content is your biggest asset in lens promotion. As more Instagram users share your effect, your reach snowballs, and adoption grows exponentially. To incentivize UGC creation, many brands invite their audiences to share effects as part of hashtag challenges or other contests. If you have the resources, tapping relevant influencers to promote your effect can also help inspire UGC from users outside of your own following. Highlight and reward your community’s creativity by engaging with posts that include your lens and featuring them in your Story.

Instagram UGC promotion

When it comes to launching impactful AR campaigns on Instagram, designing compelling effects is only half the battle. It’s equally important that you facilitate organic discovery of your lens to give your experience the platform it deserves. By following the best practices covered in this post, you can be sure that audiences can easily find and interact with your experience, enabling your brand to connect with and engage fans at scale. 

For a complete roadmap to designing and promoting winning AR effects across social media platforms, check out our 2022 AR Marketing Playbook

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