While consumers clearly have an appetite for AR, what exactly is it and how can you incorporate it into your marketing strategy?
What is augmented reality?
Augmented reality delivers an enhanced version of the real world through layered digital elements and interactions delivered by technology.
Although AR has been around for a while, the world wasn’t ready for a wider adoption until recently. Companies were interested and talked about AR and the future budgets for it, but not many companies were using it in their businesses. This has now changed and to acknowledge how AR can fit in your marketing strategy, it’s important to understand the landscape.
Various factors have influenced a surge in AR experiences and an increase in users trying it out. Tech giants have long focused on the potential of AR and this interest has come with real investment. Also, the pandemic accelerated technological development and brands were pushed to find innovative ways to communicate online to remain relevant. Besides, there are many more platforms available to build AR, varying in complexity, uses and costs, offering more choices and more compatibility across devices.
Why is augmented reality good for marketing?
The potential for marketing is huge as AR is great at creating an emotional connection. It creates a bridge between the digital and the physical worlds that is highly engaging. A message communicated in AR, compared to other types of media, has more potential to capture the user’s attention and is 70% more likely to be remembered.
AR is also a versatile medium because users can interact with it in hybrid environments. It can be triggered in a specific location or by a target placed on printed marketing collateral or digital content.
In practical terms, there are two types of AR. The first is AR for applications – typically enterprise applications for training, simulations, army applications, or to assist with medical procedures such as complex surgery. They all require complex, expensive, and bulky devices.
The other more widely used type of AR only requires a mobile phone. That’s why it presents a great opportunity for marketeers. The adoption of AR has been on the rise in recent years and it’s estimated that almost all smartphone users (and 75% of the global population) will be using AR frequently by 2025.
Compared with virtual reality (VR), augmented reality is a more cost-effective option, but with similar benefits. Additionally, it used to be the case that to use AR on your mobile device you had to install an app, but these days you can power AR experiences using a web browser.
How to use augmented reality in marketing
There are multiple ways to use AR in marketing. It can be used to transform all types of marketing (from print and point of sale to packaging and digital) into interactive content.
Used effectively, AR creates a new dimension to your marketing that can surprise and educate your audience with the tap of a button
With AR, you can offer your customers the chance to visualise products in their own home and “try them out” before they make a purchase. Check out the example from IKEA in the video below.
You can also use AR to show how something works and communicate complex mechanics by showing it in action.
There’s also the option to create interactive AR experiences – at a single touchpoint or various stages of the customer journey with multiple pieces of functionality and navigation embedded into the experience. This allows you to add an element of surprise by changing the outcome of the experience depending on the way a user interacts with it.
AR offers a big opportunity when it comes to interactive product packaging too. You could offer personalisation of a product for the buyer, use it on the packaging to deliver a 3D product demo as they un-box their purchase, or to communicate a brand message from someone at your company. The possibilities are endless.
Augmented reality can also help to drive more traffic to your events. Your audience can interact with target elements placed on your exhibition booths and you can offer an AR gaming experience or a product demo. Taking this approach, AR for events can become a very effective way of capturing leads.
However you decide to use AR, there is huge potential to create engaging campaigns that look great and truly deliver commercial value.
Keen to use AR in your marketing strategy? Our approach is to start with the ‘why’. Once we know what you want to achieve we can create an effective campaign to smash your goals. Find out more about our innovative digital marketing solutions here.