Should You Be Using Augmented Reality in Your Marketing?

Ben Allen on Oct 16, 2017 in Social Media

Augmented reality is making huge waves in the world. Thanks to Pokémon Go, millions of people got to experience a basic version of augmented reality software. The fact that smartphones can provide an AR experience to everybody opens up a ton of possibilities across tons of industries, not just games.

So, the obvious questions become: how can businesses use this kind of technology for their benefit? What kind of experiences can be created in order to help boost your marketing and create more customers? Well, here are some tips on how augmented reality technology can be used in your marketing.

What Is Augmented Reality

Before delving into how it can change the world, it’s important to know what augment reality is and isn’t. Augmented reality is bring a virtual element to the real world, typically through the lens of a camera. Another major element of augmented reality is us; by doing real world actions, we can interact with virtual elements. An easy example of this are different filters on Snapchat and Instagram that react differently depending on what a person does with their face.

Augmented reality is different from virtual reality. VR is a closed simulation, an entirely virtual world, that somebody can control through different movements. There is no real-world element in it and no blending that real world with virtual parts. AR is an open simulation, where a virtual element interacts in some form with our real world.

Demonstrate Your Product

A very basic application for many companies is to use AR as a means to demo their products. This works especially well for companies that sell physical products, like furniture, decorations, and food, by giving a person a better idea on how it fits in the world.

In today’s world of online shopping, giving a good sense of scale is a major problem. People buy objects online, expecting a large item, but instead get something much smaller. By using AR technology, people are able to see how a specific product could look in the real world by superimposing a model of the product onto their screen. That way, people can shop and get a better sense of what will work for them.

A really good example of this is done by LEGO having AR setups in toy stores. By holding out a box in front of a camera, the software can then superimpose a 3D model of the LEGO set on the screen. Kids could then get a better sense of what the finished product will look like, spin it around to look at it from different angles, and get a better sense of what they will be building.

Using AR as a Problem Solver

Another way AR can impact your customers is by being a problem solver for issues your customer base has. Use AR as a tool that can solve problems they encounter while going through the buyer’s journey. That way, they’ll connect with your brand as a problem solver, and you can further push them towards the path of making a purchase.

A good example of that is IKEA and its AR tool to help people find matching furniture. Similar to above about demonstrating your product, IKEA has taken it a step further by helping show people what furniture matches other things in a room. It acts like a home designer to find the perfect piece to match your home.

Create Your Own AR Photo Filter

Already, AR is making waves in social media, with major platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram creating AR photo filters for the enjoyments of their users. If you can find a way to incorporate these kinds of filters into your strategy, it would be a great way to stay connected with current customers and spread your brand.

Many major brands are jumping at the chance to create filters to help promote their products, especially movies like Wonder Woman and Suicide Squad. Other large brands creating filters include Gatorade, Taco Bell and Target.

The crazier your AR filter, the more likely people are to use it. The problem is finding a way to tie it to your business. Either you need to have a bit of branding in the filter, or connect it to an event your business is closely related to.

AR and Social Media Campaigns

Another way AR can apply to your social media strategy is how you employ it in your own strategies. More and more companies are utilizing Snapchat and Instagram in their social strategies, and using AR filters can do a lot to engage with your audience. Just make sure to A/B test filters versus your other content and collect data to support social media decisions.

Livestreaming is another trend that businesses could combine with AR to create more engaging content. One current example of this is makeup company Sephora, who livestreams makeup tutorials and uses AR makeup filters to show off their products. Instead of having influencers having to take the time to remove and reapply makeup, they can instead just switch between different AR filters.  

Augmented reality is an exciting new technology that can bring a ton of possibilities to marketing. Try to find ways it can impact your business and improve your reach, but don’t just blindly run into it. Make plans, find out how your customers want to use it, and then make it easy to use.

Ben Allen
Ben Allen
Ben is a freelance content creator and digital marketer who believes in helping small businesses succeed. He also specializes in writing about tech, education, and video games.