How to Publish an AR Effect to Instagram (2020 Update)

Instagram AR Effects combine the power of augmented reality with the viral nature of Instagram. They enable your customers to explore your products through the Instagram camera and share their experiences with their followers.

This post covers the step-by-step instructions needed to publish an AR Effect to Instagram. Use this guide to make the most of AR Effects purchased from Switch 3D.

Looking for custom AR Effects for your products? Learn how to order yours today!

Before we get started, let's make sure you have what you need to publish an AR Effect to Instagram. You will need the following:

  1. AR Effect (.arexport file)
  2. Icon (.png of your brand icon)
  3. Demo video (see below for details)

Let's get started!

1) Select "Manage Effects" from the Spark AR Studio website

"Manage Effects" will take you to your Spark AR Hub, where you can publish and manage AR Effects.

Select "Manage Effects" from the Spark AR Studio website

2) Log in using the Facebook account linked to your business

Log in using the Facebook account linked to your business

3) Select "Publish an Effect" from the bottom left corner

Before clicking, make sure you check that your business page is selected in the drop-down menu below the "Publish an Effect" button. If you don't see your business page in the menu, you either logged in using the wrong Facebook account, or your Facebook account isn't linked to your business page.

Select "Publish an Effect" from the bottom left corner

4) Name your Effect and upload your .arexport file

An .arexport file is included when you purchase an AR Effect from Switch 3D.

Name your Effect and upload your .arexport file

5) Ensure your .arexport file meets size requirements

All AR Effects purchased from Switch 3D are optimized to meet size requirements. If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to contact us at support@switch3d.co.

Ensure your .arexport file meets size requirements

6) Select Instagram as your target platform

Select Instagram as your target platform

7) Make sure your Owner and Instagram account settings are correct. Assign your AR managers.

Your Owner and Instagram account settings should be linked to your business Facebook page and Instagram account respectively.

AR managers can publish and manage AR Effects on your behalf. To add AR managers:

  1. From your Spark AR Hub, go to Settings > Permissions.
  2. In the Page drop-down menu, select your business.
  3. Under Permissions Groups, click Add Group.
  4. Name your group and select AR managers using their Facebook accounts.
Make sure your Owner and Instagram account settings are correct. Assign your AR managers.

8) Categorize your AR Effect

Categories are used to organize AR Effects when they appear in the Effect Gallery on Instagram. All AR Effects purchased from Switch 3D align with the "World AR" category.
Categorize your AR Effect

9) Add keywords that describe your AR Effect

Make sure you hit Enter after each keyword.

Add keywords that describe your AR Effect

10) Save your AR Effect

Save your AR Effect

11) Click "Open in App" to capture your demo video

Note: the "Open in App" button will be greyed out if you do not save your AR Effect first.

Click "Open in App" to capture your demo video

12) Send a test notification to your phone

The test notification will be sent to the owner of your Instagram business account. If you want someone else to capture the demo video, you can send the test link to them directly.

Send a test notification to your phone

13) Open the test notification on your phone

Open the test notification on your phone

14) Select "Continue" to test your AR Effect

Select "Continue" to test your AR Effect

15) Capture your demo video

Your demo video will showcase your AR Effect to your Instagram followers. Make sure you capture a demo video that both highlights the features of your product and has a background/scene that aligns with your brand.

Capture your demo video

16) Save your demo video to your phone

Save your demo video to your phone

17) Upload your demo video to your Spark AR Hub

To continue the submission process, return to Spark AR Hub and upload the demo video you saved on your phone. 

Upload your demo video to your Spark AR Hub

18) Choose a thumbnail for your demo video

Choose a thumbnail for your demo video

19) Upload an icon for your AR Effect

Feel free to create a custom icon to represent your AR Effect on Instagram. Otherwise, you can simply use a .png of your brand icon.

Upload an icon for your AR Effect

20) Crop your icon and confirm

Crop your icon and confirm

21) Choose a publication date

Choosing a publication date allows you to decide when your AR Effect becomes visible on your Instagram account. In most cases, "As soon as possible" is the ideal choice, however you may want to delay publication to align with a marketing campaign or your content calendar. You have to option to set a Start Date as well as an End Date.

Note: once you submit, your AR Effect needs to be reviewed and accepted. Choosing a publication date will not impact when your AR Effect is reviewed.

Choose a publication date

22) Explain to your reviewer how your AR Effect works

Your reviewer needs to know what your AR Effect does and how to use it.

AR Effects purchased from Switch 3D place your product in the real world so your Instagram followers can explore its details using their camera. To use these AR Effects, followers simply need to tap their screen to place your product on a flat surface.

Explain to your reviewer how your AR Effect works

23) Review and submit

Double check the information you provided to make sure it's accurate. After your review, click "Submit" in the top right corner.
Review and submit

24) Wait for your AR Effect to be reviewed

Once you submit, your AR Effect will go into queue to be reviewed. Facebook currently estimates that effects will take up to 10 days to be reviewed after they have been submitted. In our experience however, the review can be much faster if you provide detailed instructions for the reviewer.
Wait for your AR Effect to be reviewed

25) Periodically check Instagram for your new Effects tab

Once your AR Effect has been reviewed and accepted, you will see a new Effects tab on your Instagram profile. 
Periodically check Instagram for your new Effects tab

26) Find your published AR Effect 🎉

Find your published AR Effect

Congratulations! At this stage, you should have an AR Effect published to your Instagram account.

Your Instagram followers will now be able to discover your AR Effect by visiting your profile and checking out your Effects tab. They'll also be able to find your AR Effect directly from their Instagram camera.

If you use your AR Effect as part of an Instagram Story or Reel, viewers will be able to access your AR Effect directly from your Story or Reel. Learn more about where AR Effects appear in Instagram.

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