Marketing , Augmented Reality

A Beginner's Guide to Augmented Reality Marketing

A step-by-step guide on how Augmented Reality can be leveraged and creatively used to boost your marketing efforts.

You must be quite familiar with Augmented Reality (AR) by now. The buzz around the tech started with the rise of augmented reality based games like Pokemon Go and Ingress that took our mobile gaming experience to another level. Not just games, we have felt the rise of AR with things like Google's AR Navigation and funny crazy AR filters on Instagram and Snapchat. Facebook's Spark AR even allows users to create their own AR filters and the results are amazing.  

We are living in an interesting time for new technological breakthroughs. Virtual Reality entered mainstream vocabulary a few years ago with the launch of the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift. Augmented Reality soon followed suit, and Mixed Reality is around the corner. Now, the world of Extended Reality (Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality) beckons you.

Enough with the jargon. Before going on to Augmented Reality Marketing, let us briefly explore what the above terms mean, the difference between them and how they can help your business.

Virtual Reality (VR)

Virtual Reality is a computer generated experience, taking place inside a virtual environment. Heavily focused on visuals, VR uses sound and tactile feedback. The resulting experience is 100% percent digital in nature.
 
Fallout--VR-gameSource: game7.de

To experience Virtual Reality, you would need a dedicated Virtual Reality headset, such as Oculus Rift, HTC Vive etc. Alternatively, you can experience Virtual Reality through your own smartphone, with the aid of products like Google Cardboard.

Virtual Reality has already undergone massive media adoption. Artists are creating Virtual Reality movies, music videos and experiences. Youtube, the biggest video streaming platform on the web, now features Virtual Reality videos and 360 degree videos. Top Game developers and platforms, like Nintendo, Sony, Sega, Steam and UbiSoft now offer games powered by Virtual Reality.

Augmented Reality (AR)

Unlike the exclusive digital environments of Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality technology exists in the real world. Augmented Reality creates an interactive experience, where the objects in the real world are enhanced, or “augmented” by digital objects. This augmentation can serve various purposes be it educational, entertainment, informative or otherwise. The resulting experience is not 100 % digital, but rather an enhanced version of real life experiences.

Learn more about Augmented Reality

Similar to Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality can be experienced using specialized headsets, such as Magic Leap Nightwear, Microsoft Hololens and Google Glass - the oldest Augmented Reality headset. But unlike Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality technology does not need to isolate a user’s senses completely. Hence, a regular smartphone screen is often sufficient to experience Augmented Reality.

With no necessity for bulky headsets, Augmented Reality has seen massive adoption in mobile applications. From the now well known games like Pokemon Go, to image filters in Snapchat and Instagram, to fun apps like Holo, Augmented Reality is becoming ubiquitous in the mobile world.

See also: 5 Offbeat Uses of Augmented Reality

Why Augmented Reality Marketing

augmented-reality-marketing

1. Vast Consumer Base

Over 500 million mobile devices today are capable of running Augmented Reality applications. This number is projected to grow to over 3.4 Billion devices by the end of the 2020Internet access is becoming easier and cheaper. Smartphones are becoming powerful and affordable. Thus a huge audience base is available to be tapped by the marketers. 

2. Ability to use Existing Marketing Content

Brands do not need to create additional marketing content for Augmented Reality marketing. Existing Video, Audio, Images and 3D content can be integrated into their new AR marketing campaigns. With Augmented Reality applications, existing marketing content can be smartly integrated into the user’s environment, increasing the impact of the marketing message.  

3. Proven Track Record

Augmented Reality applications like Pokemon Go have driven over 500 million visits to sponsored locations. Top brands like McDonalds, IKEA, Lacoste and the New York Times have been successfully using Augmented Reality in their marketing processes. With projected Ad revenues of over 13 Billion dollars by 2022, AR marketing is rapidly proving to be a successful, growing medium.

See also: How Top Brands Are Using Augmented Reality To Appeal To kids

4. Integration with Existing Smartphone Apps

Brands can integrate Augmented Reality marketing experiences into their existing mobile applications. Users do not need to download any additional apps or sign up for new services. With a ready, active user-base, brands can use their existing platforms for marketing with Augmented Reality. To see how we integrated interactive print feature in The Hindu's mobile app read The Hindu - Print Play case study.


5. Web-based Augmented Reality using just a URL

With Web-based AR you can tap into the huge potential of AR using just a URL. You can use a URL that can be opened in any mobile based browser, Chrome or UCB in your mobile phone, to provide augmented content to your customers. We have a dedicated blog on Web-based AR and how businesses can leverage it to increase engagement and ROI. 

6. Increased Engagement 

Augmented Reality experiences typically require the user to digitally interact with their surroundings. This interaction can be centred around your brand’s marketing message. A user can be prompted to take an action like providing their contact information, sharing content on social media, making a purchase, or to simply consume more content. This increases the quality and the quantity of the interaction with the brand’s marketing message.

An engaged audience is more receptive to marketing, and is more likely to buy. With higher engagement built into its nature, Augmented Reality marketing can help brands reach customers more effectively.

See also: 5 Ways to Engage Customers with Augmented Reality 

Practical Tips on How to do Augmented Reality Marketing

There are several factors you should keep in mind while designing your Augmented Reality campaign. Here we'll briefly discuss the most important of these factors.

1. Medium

It is important to choose a medium which would meet your marketing goals. Depending on your product, market size, nature (i.e. B2B VS B2C), marketing content type and sales cycle, you may want to choose one of the following mediums:

a. Smartphone

Smartphone apps are the quickest, easiest and cheapest to deploy. Depending on your needs, augmented reality apps on smartphones could involve as much as a simple image filter, to a complex, connected game like Pokemon Go. 

With Web-based AR, you are no more limited to dedicated apps or plug-ins. Augmented Reality content can be pushed with just a URL and opened on any mobile device's browser. It allows easy sharing of content and you can leverage the social media network of your buyers to create and promote user-generated-content. 

b. Kiosk

Kiosk based AR is best suited for events and shows where you'll have a constant flow of live audience. Depending on your needs, they could be an 'Excitometer' - a simple camera-like device that tracks how Excited a user is, to a full fledged Mixed Reality gaming/educational system, with gesture recognition and skeletal trackingp&g interactive kiosk for augmented reality marketing

Interactive Kiosk used by P&G to recruit students from IIMs 

Kiosks provide a much more immersive Augmented Reality experience. Thus, if your focus is experiential marketing, then Kiosk apps are the way to go. Social sharing and User Generated Content can be integrated into Kiosk AR apps as well.

Kiosks are the best medium for you - if your marketing is high touch, experiential, B2B in nature. Industries like Medicine, Machinery, B2B, Enterprise Software etc are ideal candidates for Kiosk based AR marketing.

See also: How to Run a Successful Photobooth Marketing Campaign

2. Content

“Content is the King”, as Bill Gates aptly puts it. Choosing the right content format is vital for your Augmented Reality marketing efforts. You could reuse your existing content for AR marketing, or create entirely new, immersive, interactive content.

a. Reuse existing Marketing Content

Text, Images, Audio, Video and 3D content created for your existing digital, TV and print marketing efforts can be re-purposed for use in Augmented Reality applications. Using novel AR techniques, you could use the same content in interactive, fun ways, to create an amazing marketing experience for your audience. Industries like Print advertising are already doing it with Interactive Print.

The upsides of this method are the cost. Quality content creation is not cheap. Reusing existing content in an Augmented Reality marketing campaign could save you time and money. The downsides are the User Experience. Traditional content cannot match the user experience of content created specifically for the Augmented Reality medium.

See also: What do you Need for Killer Audience Engagement?

b. New Marketing Content for AR

spiderman mixed reality app your movie wowsomeWOWSOME's Augmented Reality App

3D animations, gamified icons, animated characters can be created afresh for Augmented Reality applications. Since this content is designed keeping AR in mind, the appearance, interactivity and User Experience can be modified to suit the augmented reality marketing medium.

The upside to this approach is the significant boost in User Experience and Interaction. The downside is the time, monetary and human resource cost of creating Augmented Reality content.

3. Integration

No matter the medium and content type you choose, it is necessary for you to track the performance of your marketing efforts. Always try and go for an AR marketing application which can be integrated with your existing marketing automation/ CRM system. For eg. HubSpot, Salesforce and Zoho integration could tremendously improve your marketing efforts.

Marketing system integration would help you track your marketing campaign activity better - which brings us to Return on Investment.

See also: Print Advertisements - Best ROI Measurement Techniques

4. ROI

No matter what industry you are in, a marketing campaign is effective only if it generates more revenue than it costs. Return on Investment, or ROI tracking is vital for your marketing efforts. Make sure that you can assign monetary value to User actions, such as Content sharing, Lead generation or a Sale. This would help you assess the ROI of your campaign, and impact your revenue bottom line in the long run. 

Conclusion

With advancements in tech, we are getting closer to a much more broader adoption of Augmented Reality applications by different businesses. As the shock value of the tech is coming down, marketers are now looking for creative augmented reality content. With increased user base and ease of AR content creation, user generated AR content is rising and giving us a feel that the tech will be ubiquitously be in use not only by businesses but by artists and performers

This is a very short introduction. Effective Augmented Reality marketing needs careful planning, strategic action, killer technology and service providers who understand the domain. Proceed with a plan in mind, find the right partners, create immersive, engaging experiences - and you should be quickly on your way to an Augmented Reality marketing success.

At WOWSOME, we have helped deliver 1,500 + Augmented and Mixed Reality marketing campaigns - the highest ever delivered by a single firm in the globe. Get in touch with us, and let us transform your marketing, with the magic of Mixed Reality.


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