- Facebook renamed its Camera Effects Platform to Spark AR and expanded the program to Instagram, the company announced in a blog post. The platform provides software tools to help creators more easily develop augmented reality (AR) features on mobile devices.
- Kylie Jenner, the National Basketball Association, Ariana Grande and Gucci were among the first participants in an early pilot of the AR software tools for Instagram.
- Spark AR Studio for Mac OS is now available at a new website, where creators and developers can sign up to join the Spark AR community. Facebook is accepting applications for an expanded test of the platform on Instagram that will allow beta-testers use the platform to design immersive, interactive experiences and make them available to their Instagram followers.
Facebook's Spark AR will let more software developers for ad agencies, brands and influencers create AR experiences to engage audiences with computer-generated imagery on their mobile devices. The expanded test of Spark AR for Instagram opens the image-sharing platform, which has about 1 billion users worldwide and is popular among younger audiences, to more AR experiences for interactive mobile marketing.
Facebook is expanding its AR tests as rivals like Snap, Apple, Google and Amazon continue to create similar software tools and platforms for AR development. Amazon Web Services last month began offering $100,000 in prizes to developers who can create the best AR and virtual reality (VR) experiences with its Amazon Sumerian AR/VR platform, per Next Reality. Apple last month added shared AR experiences to its latest mobile operating system, and Google this week is likely to introduce more AR features with its next line of Pixel smartphones, TechRadar reported. A leaked memo last week from Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said supporting the AR creative community is a key goal for Snapchat's growth, according to Cheddar.
These changes come as global spending on AR/VR products and services is expected to nearly double to $27 billion this year, according to research from the International Data Corporation (IDC). The market for AR/VR products and services will see a 72% annual growth rate until 2022. That year, the consumer industry will the biggest source of spending at $53 billion, per IDC, demonstrating the significant potential for AR/VR development for marketers.