Augmented reality as a marketing tool.

Augmented reality has long sounded as a wild futuristic concept, but the technology has actually been around for years. The idea of overlaying information on a view of the real world is pretty much familiar to everyone. With a help of sci-fi movies such as the Terminator series, we all have a good understanding of how useful AR could be. The convergence of cameras, location awareness, and mobile apps in our modern smartphones made AR widely accessible. There are plenty of augmented reality mobile applications in Google Play and the App Store; however, the usage of these applications is still far from being an “every day” routine.

Existing augmented reality applications.  

Nowadays, there are at least a dozen apps that offer varying degrees of augmented reality through the camera lens. These tools generally work well as a way to discover information about locations around you or to quickly learn more about a place or object in front of you.

Austrian Wikitude, Dutch Layar, British Blippar mobile applications are among the most recognised AR apps worldwide.

  • Wikitude World Browser

Widely regarded as the King of all augmented reality browsers. While using your smartphone’s camera in a given area, the virtual browser — along with more than 3,500 associated content providers — offers you just about any geographically-relevant information you may find valuable while travelling. Useful information is often presented in the form of Wikipedia articles detailing the hallmarks of a specific landmark, or directions to the nearest ATM location or best Russian restaurants nearby. Moreover, the app allows users to find hotels and accommodations through Yelp and TripAdvisor. The built-in AR games, such as Alien Attack and bug-beating Swat the Fly, and the app’s ability to mark and share your favorite spots via Facebook can be perceived as just an additional bonus.

Wikitude-cam-view

  • Layar browser

The Layar app is designed to bring print content into the digital realm, allowing users to scan and pull data from a variety of commonplace content using their smartphones or tablets. Once a print source has been scanned, the app can retrieve direct shopping links to particular products in a matter of seconds, or bring up videos encapsulating the latest cover shoot for a particular magazine. Furthermore, the app includes tools for sharing content via various social media.

layar-interactive-print

  • Blippar application

Blippar aims to make the entire physical world visually searchable via mobile devices and wearables. In the future, it aims to make everything “blippable”, from an apple or chocolate bar, to a dog on the street. In June 2014 Blippar acquired Dutch AR player Layar, which I mentioned above, forming the world’s largest AR alliance.

Tesco-Blipp2

All these applications have a genuine potential and some of them have already achieved a fairly high number of downloads, but widespread adoption is still a distant goal.

Also, as many new technology, AR has been considered by marketers as a new tool to attract with customers and I will give some particular example of AR marketing campaign below.

AR and marketing strategy.

Augmented reality marketing has developed quickly in the last few years, moving from web to mobile — and next, to wearable.

AR has emerged as an innovative tool that allows brands to interact with consumers, creating a new digital experience that enriches the relationship between consumer and brand. As a result, AR can increase ROI through brand awareness and increased engagement with a brand. Therefore, brands who get on board with latest technology have a good chance of benefiting the most from getting ahead of the curve.

Not to mention that AR is also a lot of fun for marketers and consumers, which means increased ability to offer authentic experiences through gamification mechanics.

According to Blippar’s VP Lisa Hu, AR has been predicted to be one of the fastest-growing markets globally over the next five years. So far Blipper itself has received over 50 million global users. Compare that to growing social tools and services like Vine (40 million) and Pinterest (70 million), it’s clear that augmented is set to become a permanent fixture in the digital marketing landscape.

Just to give one great examples of successful AR marketing campaign I want to share Unbelievable Bus Shelter by Pepsi Max campaign which was launched in London. Commuters were waiting for a bus and to their left what looked like a clear window was actually an AR billboard wall depicting things like a tiger running loose towards the people sitting there, or an alien creature popping out of a man hole and grabbing a pedestrian from the street. The reaction of the people involved in this interactive experience is priceless 🙂