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17 September 2020

Creator Mate Steinforth reveals what brands need to know about AR on Instagram

BY: Instagram Business Team

London, UK

Growing up, Mate Steinforth used to spend his time experimenting with graphics and video game design. Now, with over twenty years of experience in the creative sector, he works with brands to creative innovative AR filters.

As part of Instagram Deconstructed, he explains what advertisers need to know about working with AR—and how to best work with a creative on a new campaign.

For brands which are used to TV advertising or even video ads, experimenting with AR requires a different mindset.

“With TV, you have a centralised media that spreads out the information to all viewers,” says Mate.

In the age of internet advertising, the viewer is able to click away if they don’t like something.

The challenge then, is to “create something so good that the viewer will embrace it, because they want to see it.”


AR as interaction

To achieve that, brands and creators can draw on one of the things that Mate sees as central to Instagram as a creative platform: interactivity.

“What really excites me about AR is that it has the potential to completely rethink the way we interact with information,” he says.

“It becomes an interactive experience, rather than something linear that a person is just looking at, like a movie.”

Watch Mate's creative journey with Instagram Deconstructed

Deconstructed is a series where creators and brands break down their work, step-by-step, to show us how it's done.

Each short video focusses on a single piece of work, with its creator walking us through the process of building it.

Watch now to discover Mate’s journey to create a special AR filter for musician FKA Twigs.

Mate discusses his creative process.Play Icon


Space to experiment

That presents brands with an opportunity to experiment.

Because AR “doesn’t cost that much money to make one compared to a whole campaign, or a commercial,” Mate sees it as “an opportunity for small-to-medium sized brands to try to approach the audience in different ways.”


A community of creators

That type of experimentation is aided by another facet of Instagram: “immediate feedback.”

On Instagram, Mate says, “you are connected to a thriving world of creators. You can put something out there, see how people read it and take this as feedback.”

But it’s not just creatives who should be using the platform to plug in to communities.

Online generally, and specifically on Instagram, “you can find the audience for anything you do, because everyone is involved.”

What brands should know

When asked the one thing he wishes brands knew about working with creatives like him, Mate emphasises communication.

“Successful projects require trust from all sides,” he explains.

Start of a quote icon

20% of the project is work, and 80% is communication

“I think the most successful strategy for a brand is to spend time curating the creators they want to work with, and look for someone who is a good fit for them.”

The same is true for the creator: “if you can, it’s smart and honest to say: ‘I’m going to pass on that project because I don’t feel it’s a good fit.’”


Center the user

Whatever approach the brand and creator take, their focus should always be on the audience.

That doesn’t just mean thinking about different technology—remember, ”not everyone has the latest iPhone”—but also remembering that AR is primarily a tool for the audience to express themselves.

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You can’t just slap a logo on your face and call it a day

Mate has one ultimate test to ensure his work meets that aim.

“If I saw this piece of work, and I didn’t know anything about it—who made it, how hard it was, how much money they had—am I going to go: ‘Wow, what’s this, this is amazing?’”

“If I pass someone’s computer with the project open and think, ‘Oh, that’s interesting, what’s that?’ And then I realise it’s the project we’re working on?”

“That’s a good sign.”

Spark AR

Learn how to create augmented reality experiences that reach the billions of people using the Facebook family of apps and devices.

Learn more with Deconstructed

Get inspired by finding out how creative studio Elmo used animation to make a simple idea innovative for Orangina.

BY: Instagram Business Team

London, UK