Facebook and Instagram debut Halloween-themed features
- Instagram, the Facebook-owned image-sharing app with more than 800 million users worldwide, introduced a “Superzoom” camera format for users to record videos with spooky sound effects and Halloween-themed face filters and stickers. Facebook also rolled out an interactive game for the holiday, according to The Drum.
- Instagram users can find the Superzoom button next to the Boomerang feature under the record button, letting users zoom in as the music plays with a finger tap. The new feature lets users transform themselves into a zombie, vampire or flying bat, or lets them disappear in a mysterious fog with Halloween stickers on their photos and videos.
- Facebook’s Halloween-themed game, found within the app’s camera, lets users turn themselves into a trick-or-treater collecting candy. Users can share their highest scores with a photo and challenge their friends to play, while also exploring themed stickers and masks on Facebook Live and in the Messenger platform. The tools are available until Nov. 1, per a blog post by the company.
As competition heats up in the social media space, the pressure is on Facebook and Instagram to continue to innovate with new engagement strategies, especially for camera-driven functionality as user interest in creating and sharing images shows no sign of slowing down. The new camera format and the game are examples of features the platforms could be considering as more permanent offerings.
Halloween-themed filters, games and other entertaining features are fun ways to get consumers into the seasonal spirit with friends while also encouraging them to engage with social media platforms that can drum up some user-generated content and boost shareability. Features like this have helped Instagram and Facebook reach ad spend jumps of 55% and 27%, respectively, per The Drum.
Several brands have enlisted the two social media platforms for fun Halloween-themed features. Earlier this month, Dunkin' Donuts announced a costume contest on Instagram, where the winner will be featured on a billboard in New York's Times Square, as well as a $2,500 prize and a year's supply of coffee. Through Halloween, people can post their Dunkin' Donuts-themed costumes to Instagram using the #DDHalloweenContest tag, a move that likely aims to encourage the creation of user-generated content.
At the same time, the brand recently rolled out an interactive Snapchat game called "Donut Pop" that lets players match costumed Halloween doughnuts to score points and unlock special geofilters and lenses. The Snapchat activation includes six Halloween geofilters each day from Oct. 26-31. Fans can also access special Halloween-inspired emojis via the Dunkin' Donuts mobile app's keyboard.
The entertaining seasonal material by Facebook and Instagram may help distract consumers from headlines of widespread Russian meddling on social media platforms during last year’s U.S. presidential election. The day after Halloween, the Senate Intelligence Committee is set to hear testimony from Facebook representatives as part of the ongoing probe into what role Russian hands played in interfering with the 2016 election, according to The Financial Times. Congress is currently considering a bill proposing new regulations targeting digital ad platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Google.