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Instagram Launches Face Filters

May 26, 2017

What are Face Filters?

Instagram could be considered as one of those sneaky bully types – silently observing and absorbing ideas and information to store as ammunition for use when the time benefits them most. A sibling who has a better job than you or a deceptive work colleague who takes your idea to the MD and brands it as their own… OK, maybe a tad dramatic. But it seems there are no limits to Instagram duplicating ideas from other social media platforms, particularly Snapchat.

Snapchat acquired facial recognition company Looksery in 2015. It used the start-up’s augmented reality technology to incorporate selfie masks in their picture and video sharing platform. Snapchat refers to this feature as Lenses.

Instagram’s parent company Facebook bought Masquerade (MSQRD), a similar app that uses facial recognition to map the recipients face in order to layer on filters or masks. Looking to hook younger audiences and expand on its video features, MSQRD was a solid investment.

Now the same technology is being used on Facebook’s partner platform Instagram, which was launched on May 16th ,2017 as Face Filters. Allowing the user to take on 8 different guises from animals to crowns, glasses and even one where maths equations whiz around your head!

Instagram has said Face Filters are “an easy way to turn an ordinary selfie into something fun and entertaining. Whether you’re sitting on the couch at home or out and about, Face Filters help you express yourself and have playful conversations with friends.” Emphasis has been placed that the feature is not the same as Snapchat Lenses. New heights of visual realism have been aimed for, for example, the koala filter presents life-like ears which flick and move like a real bear’s ears would.

Instagram had already been seen to roll out expiring video and image messages like those which are a staple for Snapchat with its Stories feature last year. Not to mention their creative overlays and slideshow sharing format also similar to features on Snapchat.

How do I use Face Filters?

You’re sure to be keen to start using the new Face Filters feature as soon as possible. Firstly, download the update, 10.21 from the App store or Google Play Store. Open the Instagram app and tap the camera option. You will see a new button in the bottom right-hand corner that looks like a super clean and gleaming smiley face – touch this. You can then use one of the 8 face filters within both the front or rear facing camera mode as well as with the video and Boomerang features.

Instagram’s latest update includes hashtag stickers too where the user can add more context to their image or video. The hashtags are also clickable to the recipient, meaning they can explore more around the hashtag topic and see other content with that particular tag. Working similarly to their geotag sticker function which emerged a couple of months ago.

Rewind allows you to capture videos and then show them to your followers in reverse (think a mic-drop in reverse!) This works particularly well with action shots. The new eraser brush removes aspects of things you have drawn, colours from images or in fact allows you to create countless creative designs!

What do Face Filters mean for digital marketing?

As with all updates on features, it’s only a matter of time before advertisers are looking into how they will use it to their advantage. As with Snapchat, we can only predict (and actually hope) that marketers will hook onto Face Filters by customising overlays to promote their brand, products and services. We can only dream that Disney will do their own face filter! Facebook already allows developers to create personalised filters using AR Studio, so we know the technology is there.

We are struggling to think which social media features Instagram will be taking inspiration from next. Tell us your predictions below. One thing we know for sure is their copycat culture continues, much to our enjoyment.

If you would like any advice on how to use social media and any of the platform’s features to market your business, get in touch with one of the Fifteen team!




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