From big giants like Snapchat and Facebook to medical and design schools around the world, AR technologies are being used everywhere for various different reasons. As of today, the AR market size is at approximately $27 billion and is expected to reach a staggering $210 billion by 2022.
Well, what even is Augmented Reality?
Imagine your phone and when you use it to look at something, displays information on whatever you're pointing it at. Focus on a restaurant through your camera, and your display pops up a menu and customer reviews for the place, look at a historic building, and you're told when and by whom it was built hence augmenting reality.
It simply refers to a combination of real and virtual(computer-generated) worlds.
So how and why should you be implementing this into your digital marketing?
Augmented reality has the whole world as its stage, firstly because anything and everything you see around you can be enhanced using AR, secondly, because many of us have smartphones and most of the latest smartphones are equipped with AR capability and thirdly because of how easy it is to adopt for a small or large business. That's a massive audience...MASSIVE. If your business is one that wants information to be expanded into the real world so that customers can interact with it in a much more innovative and beneficial manner then AR is the way to go. But AR is much more than just creating better user experiences for a large audience, it’s about creating additional value.
If this approach does not create additional value for your customers then you might as well not use it.
When you choose to use augmented reality, your focus must not be on technology but rather on the message it delivers. Effective AR marketing should not give your customers a reason to look at their phones but rather through them to the VALUE your brand will bring them. For example, Visa had an interactive AR campaign in a mall where kids could interact with animals showing the potential of AR technology and the fun it can bring. Although this allows passersby’ to immerse themselves and their children in branded content which sparks conversation about such technologies, they do not leave an impactful enough impression that can transform the way customers behave. On the other hand, MAC cosmetics could leverage such technologies to allow their customers to try on their products or Ray-Ban could allow customers to see how exactly a pair of sunglasses would look on them. By making your customer the model you remove any doubts about what the product will look like for the customer. You have just personalized the product, increased the convenience, reduced the chances of having returns all while saving costs. Oh, and MAC cosmetics can add to that with a virtual makeup tutorial too. VALUE OVERLOAD.
Big or small businesses - AR could be for you!
Snapchat’s Lens Studio and Facebook’s Spark AR Studio are free to open source AR developing software with sufficient learning material that you can use to leverage such technologies into your business. The Indian Students Association at Otago University, a non-profit organisation used Lens Studio from Snapchat to develop an AR Snapchat filter to promote their annual event. The filter was shared 150 times and accumulated approximately 2,000 views over one weekend. It cost them $0, a few hours of work and led to a sold out event. It also provided them with the opportunity to better interact and attract its customer demographic which is young adults while showing off their organisational culture.
So here are my take away points:
- Augmented reality can bring something from all your daily interactions with people, products and places to life.
- Don’t adopt AR for the sake of having the technology.
- AR allows you to put the product in the hands of the user.
- AR marketing has the potential to greatly increase your user experience.
- AR development has become more widespread and affordable to use.
- AR is growing at a rapid rate.
Now it’s your turn to establish augmented reality into your marketing strategy!