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Are Instagram Effects and Filters Worth It?

In April 2020, I released an Instagram Effect during the initial hype of Money Heist Season 4. It is a simple Q & As effect that randomly chooses one of the characters from the series to seemingly answer the ‘Which character are you?’ question. 

As of today, it was able to garner 18.6+ million impressionsopened 5+ million times, captured 2.1+ million times, saved 101k+ times and shared 92k+ times. A pretty decent stats for something all organic.

There weren’t many IG effects themed after Money Heist at the time. So, the one I published did pretty well, getting over 15k+ impressions/day. As the hype of the series started to decline from June 2020, its usage did too. It was getting around 1000 impressions a day up until August 2021. That is when the news of Season 5 gained traction. The effect started to gain 20k+ impressions/day to over 800k+ impressions/day with 50k+ captures/day at its peak in September 2021.

Although those numbers are impressive, I only gained 40 followers on my Instagram page in its entirety. Yes, just 40. Of course, your Instagram page has to have a persona; my page didn’t even have double-digit followers to begin with, let alone many SMO factors that come into play. However, getting just 40 followers even though the effect was opened 4.4 million times and used 2 million times doesn’t seem to add up. 

“So how much money did you make?” is a common question I get asked. The answer is zero. Since Instagram hasn’t rolled out a monetization feature yet, creators aren’t getting paid directly by Instagram. However, it did work as a lead generating medium that got me a few paying clients. Working with clients is the only way Spark AR creators make money as of now.

It’s not like there isn’t a possibility for enabling monetization for the creators. Instagram shows us an ad after we view Stories of two people. Showing ads to people after they use IG effects two or three times wouldn’t be so bad. The reason Instagram seem sceptical about this idea of monetization could be because of the already existing user experience problems they have with IG effects.

Ads deteriorate user experience depending on their placement. The same ad could be annoying, tolerable, or something that we wouldn’t mind at all. If you’re are using a banking app that takes ages to load, takes you to multiple screens to fill out forms and right at the end of that little journey, just before verifying the transaction with your Face ID, you see a goddamn ad. The next thing you know, you have your head boiled, ready to evaporate an entire ocean.

But some ads can be tolerable. If you see three 5-seconds skippable ads on an hour-long YouTube video, you tolerate it. The ones you see just underneath a video on Facebook that doesn’t impact your viewing experience by much, you probably wouldn’t mind. 

Spark AR has been there in the market for a while now, and I believe Instagram will bring something to the table for creators. They may be dubious about the idea of introducing ads because it may boggle down the already problematic user experience they have with IG Effects.

To mention a few, navigating your way towards the IG Effects Gallery screen could easily be a two-click process. However, we currently need at least four interactions to get us to the Effects Gallery screen. Many people do not even know that Effects Gallery exists. Getting a shareable link of a particular IG effect takes unnecessary steps. The UI that is trying to show the relationship between an IG effect and its creator isn’t apparent either. That may be one of the reasons why the number of impressions, opens and captures do not reflect on creators’ followers count. 

The focus right now, I think, is loosely on the end-users despite having room for both the creators as well as the end-users to share it in tandem, which would make the overall experience better. Instagram likely understands this and are looking to solve these issues without compromising the UX of end-users before they implement ads monetization for Spark AR creators, or that is what I hope at least.

Last month, I published a 3D mask IG filter based on another popular series, “Squid Game”. There is a Front Man mask and three guard masks. You can check the demo video below:

To check the effects, click on the link below from your mobile device.

Money Heist Effect: https://www.instagram.com/ar/914330422343031

Squid Game Mask: https://www.instagram.com/ar/1003756040185206

If you like to get access to my “Money Heist” project file and recreate a similar IG effect on your own quickly and easily, go to the following link and use the discount code “ez57dgp” during checkout: https://anamol.gumroad.com/l/moneyheist