Augmented Reality – The future of Marketing

Remember being in awe when you watched Iron Man wove his hands in the air and stirred up controls to create his famous suit/armour? Remember jumping with joy when you watched the Third Umpire take his time to deliver the decision, while you are being the third umpire yourself, trying to predict the result based on a simulation that marks the path of the ball to show whether it will hit the stump or not? Or any such predictions in other sports and movies? Well, if you have seen these, then you are already introduced to the world of Augmented Reality a.k.a AR

What is Augmented Reality?

AR is the ability to integrate and superimpose digital data into a real-time object, transforming them into a 3-dimensional experience. It is a blend of the digital and real world, where static objects come to life with the use of digital technology and blend in the user’s real-time environment. This is also how it differs from the concept of virtual reality (VR) where the customer is immersed in an artificial environment, whereas in AR, the environment is static and the visual is overlaid on it. Unlike VR, there are no bulky headsets needed for augmented reality. With new augmented reality apps releasing almost every day all you need is your smartphone camera to use them.

How does AR help in marketing?

The importance of Marketing is reaching newer heights every day, putting every company at a race to establish their stronghold amongst the audience. With the concept of AR gaining popularity, it only makes sense for companies to leverage on this boon to get closer to their audience by providing a completely immersive experience, especially through digital marketing.

Increased brand awareness –

As mentioned earlier, AR is a relatively nascent concept and when a consumer is introduced to AR, they undergo a unique experience. This helps increase brand awareness as consumers always tend to remember the moments of ‘awe’ encountered by them. AR, in online marketing, ensures better engagement through likes and shares with customers, leading to more exposure and increased brand recognition. The effectiveness of AR apps has been proven by fashion retailer Moosejaw when they launched an X-ray powered app to view their print catalogues. The App increased their sales by 37% and it got over 250,000 downloads. 

Increased customer engagement and experience –

According to studies, in online marketing campaigns which use AR Videos, people were seen watching it for a duration of 75 seconds when compared to normal videos, where the span was as short as 03 seconds. Leading brands like IKEA and Asian paints have been using AR to learn customer’s reaction to their products. IKEA’s AR app uses consumer’s smartphone camera to show how the furniture will look and fit inside their home. The app not only makes customer’s decision easier but it’s a fun way to experiment for them, leading to increased interaction and engagement in social media.

Using AR in marketing campaigns greatly improves customer experience since they have more information at their disposal and make decisions and transactions with ease. Using AR apps, you can save your customers from regretting their choices with the “try before you buy” approach. Stats suggest 40% of your consumers will be willing to pay more if they can experience it through AR.

Bringing reality and virtual together –

The ability to connect your digital marketing campaign to the customer’s physical experience in new and inventive ways is one of the major benefits of AR. For Eg: It combines digital marketing and traditional channels, allowing you to turn a print catalogue or brochure into a 3D digital experience by capturing it with your smartphone camera and superimposing details over it. This also fits with the concept of bringing static objects to life.

How to use AR in your marketing?

The primary use of marketing is to make eyeballs turn and capture attention and what better way than utilizing the latest tech? Especially in an era where attention span is alarmingly low, and videos garner more attention, why not utilize AR for video? Producing AR video content places you in a league ahead of the brands that are still contemplating how to go about it. The sooner you do it, the more engagement and reach you get. Your social media channels will improve, as this form of marketing is highly shareable. It can catch impulse shoppers – consumers who may not be intending to buy but require a gentle push. It can showcase how their life might be drastically improved with your product. What’s better than that? People are conceptualizing and organizing virtual live events, wherein you can be a part of a huge community or even someone’s journey, seated from your place!
Social Media Platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram etc., have integrated AR features in the form of 360 Videos, world lenses, filters that can be used by brands to market their products or services through online marketing. Brands have also gone a step forward in creating their customized AR apps that give the consumers insight into their own world. Applications of AR in social media marketing are numerous, making consumers’ interactions with brands quick, easy and interesting.
Social media has revolutionized marketing strategies. Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook use AR marketing to keep users engaged. For example, platforms like Snapchat use AR through filters. People of all ages think it’s cool and fun to doctor their images with dog ears, cat whiskers and floral headbands. This might seem a tad annoying at times, but hey, all of us have tried it at least once, haven’t we?

Augmented Reality is definitely a breakthrough and organizations need to act fast to leverage its benefits. Simply put, it is interactive entertainment that is yet to be used to its fullest potential. With organizations like Facebook, Google etc. continuously testing and enhancing this, and various software’s being developed to enhance the same, we can safely conclude that AR has a lot in store for us and is indeed the future of marketing.

Right Social media platform

Quiz: Which social media platform is right for you?

Whether you’re a large business at the top of your industry, an independent professional just getting started or somewhere in between, you must’ve surely considered using social media to network and connect with clients and customers. Are you still wondering where to start and what to publish on these platforms? Should you just create a Facebook page for your company and upload every new product or feature update? Should you get adventurous with Instagram and post pictures from the last office party?
Here’s your guide to Top Social Media platforms and content that clicks!

Instagram

Content with relevant images (to your business and your customers) gets 94% more views than content without relevant images.
Who should use it?
By profession – Creative professionals like photographer, artists, designers, bakers.
By industry – If you take pride in creating and delivering deliver visually appealing products or services, especially in the lifestyle category – Food and beverage, confectionery, hospitality, travel and tourism, arts and crafts, fashion, gifting.
What should I publish?
Good quality pictures or short videos of selective things that truly reflect your business’s lifestyle. Imagine if your business were a person and ask yourself what would he/she post on Instagram? Instagramers love content that is genuine, personal and shows that your brand is a real, creative and passionate person.

Facebook

A platform where businesses can creatively glorify their products and tell their brand story uninterrupted.
Who should use it?
With over 70% percent of online adults actively using Facebook, you may find yourself wondering, why not! Right? Think again because apart from being the most popular social media platform, Facebook is also the most crowded and competitive platform. Most business can expect to get less than 10% reach on their posts, without spending on advertising.
What should I publish?
Facebook is one of the platforms that business can use as their product catalogue and gain good traction if deployed creatively. However, Facebook isn’t only about selling. The main goal of every communication on Facebook should reveal the people and their passion behind the brand. All photos, videos and posts that you publish should reinforce your brand story. From promotions to new launches, design your Facebook posts professionally and boost the ones you don’t want your customers to miss.

LinkedIn

Before investing in social media marketing, identify the platforms where your digital audience not only hang out but can’t live without.
Who should use it?
Since its advent, LinkedIn has primarily served the purpose of a networking site for professionals and B2B reach outs. If your goal is to make connections in the business world and to add clients to your Rolodex, invest time and effort on LinkedIn. Service providers in the Financial, Legal and Educational sectors are predominant LinkedIn users, as compared to manufacturers or retailers.
What should you publish?
Unless you’re a recruiter or a University, you shouldn’t be selling anything directly on LinkedIn. Solutions, ideas and best practice cases the few things that particularly interest LinkedIn users. Many small and large businesses have benefited from sharing industry updates, company news and white papers. The senior members can become the voice of an expert in your industry by offering tips and research findings linking to your business blog. Your team members can also represent your company in relevant groups and discussions to solicit advice and spread the word about your business.

Pinterest

85% of the users are female and 67% are millennials. So if your brand is geared towards young women, it’s a no-brainer!
Who should use it?
This platform predominantly enjoys a creative and savvy female audience. So if your business is rich in visual imagery like – wedding planning, travel destinations, interior decorating, fashion or foods, you can say a great deal about your products and services through your stunning photos or videos.
What should you publish?
Pinterest is great for releasing and sharing regular and fresh visual content (photos and videos) that members can pin (save and share) on their boards. Save the best of your visual assets, from DIYs to creative photo shoots to conceptual renders to post on this platform.

Twitter

Your tweets have approx. 18 minutes to get discovered and gain traction, after that they might as well disappear.
Who should use it?
Err. If you aren’t already on Twitter with a decent number of followers, maybe now’s not the great time to get on this bandwagon. Twitter as a platform for branded content promotion is dying as you read this. Twitter’s year-over-year increase in daily active users is -0.44%. Mostly supported by the tech industry, Twitter still remains relevant to businesses who are revered for keeping the users up-to-date with what’s happening in the world, however, it’s not the best place to try to acquire new customers.
What should you publish?
Twitter has only 100m daily active users, who are most reactive to breaking news, updates and announcements. So businesses that see an opportunity in topical marketing and benefit from breaking news, making public announcements from time to time, may want to continue tweeting. For the rest of us, there’s a sweeping trend in town – real-time conversations with Whatsapp Messenger.

Whatsapp

Finally, a relationship building platform is here to help you understand the psyche of loyal customers.
Who should use it?
Anybody and everybody with a robust customer database! Because who doesn’t want to have a conversation with their customers, to get to know what they think about you, do they love your product/service, would they pay more for it? And aren’t emailers requesting feedback a little old-fashioned and redundant now, as they only generate 10% clicks and fewer responses?
What should you publish?
While its application as a social media channel is still at its infancy stage, that’s what makes it exciting. Businesses can innovate ways of chatting up their customers and acquiring new ones by creating relevant and impactful tit-bits that make people share. Mixed formats like photos and text or video and text can be the most powerful broadcast messages. Whereas a well written warm message can start up a one-one conversation with customers to gain invaluable feedback.
It takes time, effort and sometimes money to find out what works for your business. The key is to put your best foot forward – invest in having meaningful conversations on one platform rather than publishing mediocre content on three. And always remember, Social media only works if you stay involved.

• Instagram
• Facebook
• LinkedIn
• Pinterest
• Twitter
• Whatsapp

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