“People literally walked through roofs, domes and crossroads to catch their favorite Pokemon character. It was addictive enough that people considered it crazy to believe in a bridged reality. It was well perceived by people.“
Based on the rising adoption of Augmented Reality technology, analysts already predicted that this year would be the “year of Augmented Reality”. This technology merges the real and virtual worlds to give an immersive experience. AR saw an unprecedented rise in use, with 85 million users in the US alone.
The pandemic was a key factor in that growth. However, the immersive nature and strong results of these campaigns will continue to attract more brands to AR as a driver for preference and conversion into 2023.
Practices concerning AR campaigns
Brands identified best-practice areas after analyzing consumer engagement and gauging consumer interest. This will help them to increase the success of AR campaigns.•
• Put the consumer at the core.
This may seem obvious, but it’s important to remember that consumers don’t need to know that AR is powering AR experiences. They can connect with the AR benefits, not that AR is an AR experience. Because great AR campaigns focus on providing entertainment and utility for the consumer, this is why they are so successful.
Recent research revealed how branded AR could influence consumers’ shopping habits and how they interact with brands. It found that 54% of respondents were looking for AR experiences or searching within their cameras on digital platforms such as Snapchat. The camera lens connects the physical and digital worlds, but the user remains in complete control. AR campaigns can also be intimate in this space, as they augment our bodies and faces. AR visualization is inspiring and aspirational. Great AR campaigns create a satisfying rush of emotion tied to a personal connection with their product; in-sync with brand promotion.
• Make it magical
AR’s potential to create magical moments for everyday consumers is one of the main reasons AR has attracted so much attention. Breakthrough AR experiences combine the digital and the physical to create a new hybrid reality. The brand entirely imagines this. Brands can choose how much of reality they want to share and how much digital information to supplement.
An AR portal, for example, can invite users to enter a digital space like a virtual pop-up store. This shields the real world and takes them to a place that they cannot visit IRL. This is a great way to get emotional responses from brands with an experiential component such as travel or consumer technology. Brands that sell physical goods, such as durable goods, that require more research to understand the benefits of their products, such as auto, will benefit from an AR experience that blends seamlessly into the environment so that the consumer can quickly see the fit and function.
• Unlock personalization
Personalization is key in today’s marketing world to drive continued growth with consumers. Personalization is a proven strategy. As per a survey, 88% of marketers polled said personalization led to measurable business growth. Brands face the challenge of creating a personal experience that connects with consumers beyond knowing which product they are searching for. AR campaigns that allow personalization can help shoppers choose because they can match the product to them through visualization or utility.
A consumer might browse an item on an e-commerce website and decide not to purchase it. However, they may see a retargeted advertisement 20 minutes later asking them to return to buy the product. How confident are you in this lead? You may be able to get a better picture of a customer’s propensity for buying if they have browsed your product and then used AR virtual try-on. This is based on deeper engagement metrics AR provides. Research has shown that AR campaigns have exceeded benchmarks in the early use cases. AR in AR-related home decor (73%), product personalization (73%), and virtual try-on (72%) are all influencing purchase decisions.
• Make it discoverable
Imagine your brand already has an AR campaign that places the consumer at its core and unlocks personalization. It’s a magical experience. It should be easy to get started. But not exactly. It’s possible for even the most innovative AR campaigns not to reach the right audience. This is often because they aren’t easily discoverable.
A research revealed that AR discovery is different by vertical. The way consumers use different channels to discover AR experiences indicates which channel is best. For personal electronics, 42% found the AR experience using an online search engine. However, 39% discovered it for entertainment via social media platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram…
A short video (under 15 seconds) showing the AR experience is one of the best ways of unlocking AR experiences’ discovery. A good AR experience is fun and useful. Consumers are more likely than ever to share the AR experience with others. We have seen 36% of AR users share their AR experiences with friends. Our research shows that AR is more popular among Gen Z and Millennials. Millennials and Gen X have a stronger affinity for AR experiences, especially when it comes to shopping experiences. These demographics are more inclined to be interested and believe that AR will become more popular in the future. This is a good sign for AR campaigns that are activated now to reach a large audience and sustain growth for the sector over the next few years.
• Lean into new features
AR technology is always evolving. New sensors are added to smartphones every year that enable AR technology. Platforms like Snap, TikTok, and the AR development platform 8th Wall use these advances in technology to allow campaigns to tap into them. AR experiences that do not embrace new technology are losing their edge as innovation and growth accelerate at an alarming rate. Including a LiDAR Sensor in the camera array is one of the most significant advances on the hardware and platform sides. This LiDAR sensor scans the environment around you to create a digital 3D map. Your AR experience now knows the location of couches, walls and people. It can also display more realistic and context-aware applications of the digital layer. This feature allows you to customize your environment by choosing a colour for your walls or playing fetch with a digital pet who can roam your home. LiDAR allows for better body tracking, which can be used to create immersive games, fashion, and fitness. With the rapid growth of 5G networks, rich AR experiences will be possible in any location, mobile or home. The Metaverse, or digital twin of the world, will be populated by AR experiences that are location-aware and layer context-aware data over the real world. These timeless AR experiences will be more popular over the next 2 years to satisfy the 66% of consumers more inclined to buy after an AR experience.