AR: Fad or Future?

September 27, 2018 | Article written by Carly Morris

Augmented Reality, or AR, is defined as the combination of digital information with a user’s environment in real time. The most widely recognized example of AR in recent history is Pokémon Go, an AR game where users can engage with Pokémon characters through their phone cameras as they move through the real world.

While it’s most often associated with the gaming industry, advertisers across verticals are beginning to look towards AR to elevate their mobile initiatives in new ways.

One key reason why? The projected value for augmented reality is staggering. Markets and Markets recently predicted that AR is set to be valued at $60.5 billion by 2023. And, according to Statista, advertising spend on AR is on track to hit close to $13 billion this year alone. More importantly, a whopping 77% of shoppers have reported an interest in using AR to shop products wherever possible.

With numbers like these, it’s no surprise that social giants and digital innovators like Snapchat and Facebook have started integrating features that make AR more accessible for users and advertisers alike. Facebook, for example, uses AR features to bring Messenger to life, while Snapchat offers AR through World lenses and face lenses, using the rear-facing and front-facing camera respectively.

Thus far, early testing is giving advertisers very high hopes. In fact, Snapchat reported via Nielsen that among twenty-two AR lens campaigns within the consumer packaged goods sector, brands saw an average sales lift up to 10% — not too shabby for a purely virtual experience.


Why Use AR for Advertising?

Digital marketing is all about creating an engaging and customized user experience – which makes AR a perfect match. Here are a few reasons advertisers should consider the format in their next campaigns:
It’s Personal
By combining the real world with a branded experience, AR literally brings your message directly into your audience’s reality.
It’s Engaging
AR enables users to spend more time with branded content because it’s designed to be a fully interactive experience rather than a limited-time pop-up ad.
It’s Emotional
Most AR experiences inherently evoke a reaction due to their relative novelty and immersive nature. It’s hard not to be impressed when you can “try on” clothes via your phone at home.
It’s Non-Invasive
While AR is truly immersive, it’s less invasive than some traditional ad units due to its personalized feel and opt-in nature.


Integrating AR on Mobile

While AR is still the hip new thing on the market, there are already countless ways that brands can reap its benefits, including:

Tours and Try-Ons
AR gives users the opportunity to experience your product or store anytime, anywhere.
Social Rewards
Facebook and Snapchat have already made it easy for brands to leverage AR on their platforms. Now, it’s up to you to meet users where they are, with an engaging AR experience.
Bring Your Brand to Life
AR is the fastest way to take your brand from a name on paper to a palpable entity. Harness AR to tell a story through a mascot, spokesperson, event, product, or any other brand asset that brings your message to life.


Measuring Impact

The cornerstone of a solid AR campaign is ad engagement, so you’ll want to keep a close eye on metrics surrounding total impressions, unique vs repeat interactions, time spent, and session to conversion ratios.

For the longer term, it will also be helpful to track downstream metrics to determine the lifetime value of augmented reality for your brand, and exactly how it compares to standard static or video units. Remember to consider the full funnel, from impression to engagement to conversion to sale.

Brands that succeed with AR will be those that continually innovate to find new ways to thrill and entertain their audiences. As the mobile world becomes increasingly familiar with the format and its potential, the competition will inevitably become stiffer.

So, don’t miss a beat! Now is the best time to hit the ground running with ideas for how you can integrate coupons, recipes, travel itineraries, loyalty programs, or any other unique audience benefits to get yourself one step ahead of the competition.