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The keys to a successful filter, part 2: THE NARRATIVE

Posted by | May 18, 2021

In our previous article, we talked about the importance of the audience in the success of an augmented reality filter. However, identifying your audience alone does not guarantee that your effect will be a success, as there are two other essential keys to consider. In this second article of our series we will talk about narrative.

Is narrative necessary?

Storytelling, as the word suggests, is about telling a story. You may think that a nice filter is still very attractive and that it is enough to get a sufficient audience for your digital marketing campaign. However, something that has a story is always more interesting, more attractive... If we take the example of a painting, besides the artistic aspect, it is the story behind the painting that makes it unique.

Moreover, as we have seen in the article about the audience, it is necessary to provide content adapted to the chosen audience. A beautiful filter will attract a lot of people, but a beautiful filter with a story will keep the attention of your targets, as the narrative matches their characters. Therefore, your filter will be visible to a qualified and engaged audience, so why deprive yourself of having a good narrative? We can take the example of the Get in the Ring filter we made. If at first glance the filter seems to be about boxing (boxing helmet), it attracts a completely different audience when you know that it refers to a meeting of start-ups facing each other in a ring.

Your story and your audience's story

You're probably wondering, how do you add a story to an Instagram Filter? That's pretty hard to answer, because you're asking the wrong question, you should be asking yourself how to use your filter to assist your story. Indeed, the story comes first, it's because you or your organisation have a story that you will create a filter and not the other way around. A made-up story will have little to no effect on your brand image. Moreover, the narrative linked to a filter is very diverse, it can be about the history of the company, its product, its values, its objectives...

However, as in movies, a long monologue always precedes the villain's downfall, so you have to be aware of this. Indeed, an effective experience is not one that revolves solely around you, but one that is user-oriented. It's important that you integrate the user into the experience and make your story, theirs. All this to allow users to tell their stories through a filter that fits them , and they will then generate content for you (UGC).

What does it mean in practice?

In order to sum up all this, there is nothing like good practical examples. Everything we said before can be summarized as follows: tell your story, spice it up with a filter and integrate the user into your narrative through this filter. An important step in this process is to define the filter that will meet all your needs. With this in mind, you need to know what the most common types of filters are and their use cases.

  • Mini-game: this type of filter is very common (gamification), it involves asking the user to interact with the game without touching the screen, either by nodding, blinking, etc. It allows you to immerse the user in your narrative, like the Star Wars filter that lets you relive one of the cult episodes of the saga.
  • Virtual try-ons: Filters that allow users to have a virtual try-on are very popular with fashion brands. They can give the opportunity to test a product before buying it (the case of Lacoste's Lens), as well as the different past models that existed in the history of the brand.
  • Beauty: beauty filters are very similar to virtual try-on experiences with a few differences, because while the latter is about items, beauty filters are usually about body parts. Brands mostly use this kind of filter to sell skincare products or makeup, but we can see a rather innovative use by the rock band Shaka Ponk. The Monkey Me filter tells the story of the band's attachment to Goz, their monkey mascot.
  • Portals: AR portals allow the user to visit a completely different world. This type of experience is very appropriate if you want your users to discover a particular place or space. The AR portal is a great solution if you want to show an old historical site, a fictional place or the company's studios.
  • Question-answer: surely one of the most popular filter formats for social network users. It can be declined in challenge filters, identifications in relation to famous/fictional characters, or random answers/questions, serious (the dictionary filter of the Ministry of Culture) or funny.
  • World effects: this other filter format is a bit the opposite of the portal, because if the portal takes you to another world, this one makes one appear in ours. One of the simplest examples is scanning a greeting card to make a whole new world appear.

Good storytelling is an important factor if you want a filter that reaches your audience. However, it's important to remember that it's the story that comes first and the filter is there to help bring the audience into it. The more they can identify with your story, the more they can immerse themselves in your filter, and the greater your success will be.

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