AR on Instagram and Snapchat is now being used by some of the world’s biggest brands for both promotional purposes and to engage with their audience. Creating shareable, interactive, and engaging AR content is crucial to success, but how exactly do people find the filter to use it? Snapchat Lenses and Instagram Filters are very similar in nature, however, the way they’re used and accessed on the platforms is quite different.

Instagram Filters

As of February 2020, brands do not have the ability to sponsor AR filters on Instagram (this will likely change later in 2020 so stay tuned!). Instagram filters are accessed through a dedicated filter tab on your Instagram account. This feature was added in August, when AR creators and brands were given the opportunity to publish their own work on the platform. Given that this was a fairly recent addition, many users may not realize what this button is for.

Once a filter is approved and live on Instagram, a hyperlink is generated that can be shared, however, trying to distribute a hyperlink to promote a filter can be a challenge. Right now, the best way to promote a filter is through posting Stories using the filter. Anyone that watches the Story will be able to tap a button to either save the filter or to try it.

Larger brands with larger budgets are utilizing influencers to promote their filters, as this is one of the only ways to create visibility for their filter and brand. Unfortunately, without an influencer promoting a filter to their audience, running a successful Instagram AR campaign organically just isn’t possible.

Snap Community Lenses


here are quite a few different ways to promote your AR Lens on Snapchat with the most popular being a Community Lens. The Community Lens library allows creators and marketers to run organic campaigns on Snap (without any paid promotion). Within the Lens Library, users can easily search for lenses - if a trending keyword is tagged, it’ll be super easy for Snapchatters to find it when they’re looking for lenses to play with and share.

When a Lens is submitted to Snapchat, a Snapcode (unique QR code) is generated. These Snapcodes can be distributed through a variety of different ways - allowing for the Lenses to be accessed by anyone with the code. Our clients at EveryStudio have run extremely successful campaigns through the distribution of Snapcodes via social media, email, and even traditional marketing tactics (billboards, posters, coasters, etc.).

Which Platform Allows For Viral Potential?

In comparison, if an Instagram Filter is not promoted, it’s very unlikely it will reach many people, whereas the search feature on Snapchat combined with the Snapcode, allows for viral potential. Snapchat is the only platform that truly offers brand marketers the potential to run a viral organic marketing campaign.