If Augmented Reality (AR) all seems a bit too futuristic and far-fetched to be a plausible advertising or marketing tactic to you, the truth is, it has already become a reality and your competitors are using it to their advantage. While Pokemon Go may have drawn some attention to the world of AR, it’s not just a bit of fun for kids and gamers.
According to Deloitte, 88 per cent of mid-market companies (firms with annual revenue of between $100 million and $1 billion) were using some form of virtual or augmented reality as part of their business and the AR market is projected to reach $117.4 billion by 2022, as indicated by Markets and Markets research. AR is opening doors in the creative space by providing true customer engagement and you need to get involved now, or miss out!
I’ll be exploring AR for marketing and creatives through a series of articles that will give you all the tools you need to get started with developing great content.
So what exactly is AR?
Augmented Reality allows people or businesses to use mobile devices to add a new layer of digital content, which appear to be located in the real world. Essentially, AR turns physical sites into a blank canvas for the creation of new content.
Using AR applications, users can scan unique trigger images using the phone’s camera, and view or place digital content as they wish. When the trigger is recognised, content appears in real time over the scene in the camera’s frame of view. This content can be anything from a still image to a complex model the user can interact with as it evolves. AR sounds complicated in theory but the application of it is incredibly simple – real life plus overlayed topical, relevant information equals an enhanced experience and optimal engagement/attention.
Imagine being able to play Zombie games on a pizza box, or learn to dance without an instructor. It might sound far-fetched but for HELL Pizza and Dance Reality customers, that technology is already a reality. AR’s prevalence in our lives is only going to increase from here.
What’s the opportunity for the creative and marketing industries?
Getting customers’ attention is always hard, holding it as you try to convey your message is even harder. AR provides a unique opportunity for advertisers and marketers to create innovative campaigns that integrate the digital world into the real world and the technology is popular with anybody owning a smartphone from tech-savvy millennials to baby boomers. It is proven to capture the imagination and attention of customers, and hold it!
There are four key elements to AR that make the technology a creative’s dream. It provides the opportunity for:
Engagement: AR provides the opportunity to move your communications from a one-sided delivery of a message, to create real engagement with customers. This builds a better understanding of a product and service as well as building deeper brand loyalty.
Innovation: augmented reality is considered to be the ‘latest thing’ on the technology front so there is still that drive to be an early adopter. By using AR, you can be seen as a cutting-edge and innovative brand.
Socialisation: there is the opportunity for customers to share their personalised content with others, i.e. viral augmented reality marketing, leading to a much greater audience reach.
Accessibility: it enables customers who do not have the technical skills or know-how to create their own multimedia product, meaning even the most traditional, offline businesses can step into the modern age and reach a new demographic, with ease.
Five practical applications of AR:
Product Visualisation: One of the most-used applications of AR to-date has been providing the opportunity for customers to visualise how a particular product would look in their own environment. For example, La Marzocco is able to bring its product to life by showing potential customers exactly what their coffee machines would look like on their kitchen bench.
Brand Engagement: Marketing and advertising is built on a foundation of storytelling. AR provides a more immersive platform, bringing consumers into the experience. Being able to provide this deep immersive content builds engagement and brand loyalty.
Interactive Ads: Display ads are generally shown in a 2-D interface but AR provides a range of 3-D possibilities and the opportunity for viewers to see ads and be able to engage with them.
Augmented Commerce: Physical stores are not exempt from the benefits of AR – they can create virtual tours to create an element of fun as well as providing additional information about products or services.
Social Engagement: Most agencies are adept at using social media already but AR can take a social media campaign to the next level by adding creative filters, animations and interactions – all improving branded experiences.
The customer remains king
At the heart of successful AR marketing and creative campaigns is the customer. AR can inject a fun element and sense of excitement to an everyday product. However, businesses need to resist the urge to create AR apps because it seems trendy or just because they think they should, as they risk appearing gimmicky and adding no value to the business or the end user.
In order to truly be successful, marketers need to understand how customers already interact with their product or service and how AR can enhance that interaction. For example, we worked with News Corp, Ray White and REA Group, a real-estate customer, to bridge the gap between their existing print media and the digital property market. The Property ViewAR app was part of the Easter weekend campaign and allowed viewers to scan property listings in the print newspaper and be able to see a host of digital information as well as 3-D virtual tours of each property.
When it comes to immersive brand experiences, AR is tough to beat if it’s done right. So jump aboard sooner rather than later and take your creativity to the next level.