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.