Instagram is testing new AR stickers and NFT Display Features within stories, which would enable you to place 3D objects into real-world scenes.

As you can see in the tweet below, the app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi shares that Instagram’s developing a range of AR elements for Instagram Stories, which will essentially add animated, digital objects that you can overlay on your physical space.

As explained by Meta, “Today, Instagram announced the launch of Digital Collectibles, a brand-new way for consumers and creators to share NFTs on Instagram. As part of this announcement, we also previewed the “See in AR” feature, coming this summer for Digital Collectibles.

For the first time, you’ll be able to display 2D NFTs you own anywhere you want using mobile AR. And when you do, you’ll experience an entirely new pride of ownership in those digital items because you’ll be able to see them and share them in the physical places you’re in every day.”

Instagram Rich content and monetization opportunities

With Spark AR, Instagram soon would make it possible for creators to import their NFTs as 2D virtual objects into Instagram Stories. When combined with “See in AR” functionality, Digital Collectibles will give creators and consumers two important new ways to access, share, and appreciate their NFTs beyond their feed or their wallets.

While Instagram is starting with simple AR display and sharing, this will be a key step towards enabling fully AR and 3D-native immersive NFTs in the future, like virtual items and accessories, sculptures, clothing, and more.

In the future, creators will be able to use Digital Collectibles to find new ways to monetize on our platforms. The unique traits AR brings could also help unlock consumer demand and spur the flywheel even further.

Instagram is testing new AR stickers
Source: Spark AR

They look similar to Snapchat’s World Lenses, which it launched back in 2017. As you can see in this YouTube clip linked below, Snapchat’s World Lenses enable you to add virtual objects into your real-world scenes, which seems to be how Instagram’s AR stickers will also interact in physical space. Snapchat also added an AR-free drawing tool in 2019, which provides similar functionality.

So the broader view is that these initial AR elements on IG will lead people through to the next level of engagement with digital items, which will then help to usher in its broader metaverse experiences, where virtual objects will play a bigger role in how you interact.

So while it may seem like a small addition in isolation, it will play a part in the broader plan to transport users through to the metaverse experience.