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 🙂

New Music Economy

The technological breakthroughs and the resulting consumption behaviours, that the media industry has seen, have deeply influenced the whole music industry’s operation. Although it is yet too early to estimate if the digital music market will generate as much revenue as the physical music distribution, the viability of the recording industry sector’s old paradigm based on control and scarcity is at least reconsidered.

This paradigm no longer suits the way that music consumers respond to marketing messages. Historically, audiences used to respond by buying the music. Nowadays, the audience’s action does not turn into financial profits. The new innovative tools that digital technologies have provided to the audience allow them to respond in completely different ways. Nowadays, it is arguably said that the audience’s action shows itself on the cloud: at its most, the audience goes on various media-sharing websites such as YouTube to consume the music, they communicate their fondness for song or artist on fan-sites, music forums and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Some of them make cover videos and remixes of their favourite music and post them on the cloud. At its worst, they illegally download the music on peer-to-peer networks. More often than not, they can do both.

Though, this response to the marketing messages, appearing on such a powerful medium, creates a feedback loop reinforcing marketing messages. It can play a critical role in the music marketing dynamics. This loop can give rise to trends, exposure of artists which are critical for the success of artists, making the audience as an active player in trendsetting.

The ability to control the audience’s action by targeting various marketing messages is at the core of music marketing. And more than ever before questions arise. What kind of marketing messages bring about the most positive response from the targeted audience? How to generate revenues from online audiences’ activity?

The user-centred functioning of the Internet and the growing devaluated perception of media content on behalf of the Internet consumers have led the entire record industry sector to rethink its value-chain. The major record companies’ reluctancy to enter the digital market gave a place for new players that were beforehand external to the music industry. Such companies like Apple that has implemented the Itunes music store. These new major players as well as numerous other innovative companies such as DittoMusic, came up with the new marketing strategies that lead to think about the record industry sector in another way. These players are simply redefining the recording sector in accordance with new rules in the market.

What exactly Facebook new algorithms mean for musicians?

In recent times Facebook has announced some changes the company is about to make in the nearest future which every musician should take into account.

One of the changes has become an update to News Feed, where there will be less opportunity to be noticeable with promo messages such as “My new tune is out now via iTunes, for buying click the link below”. If you’re not already having a natural conversation with your fans, this might cause some problems for communication with your audience.

The next changed which is going to happen is a nearly demise of Click-Baiting Headlines. “Click-baiting” is when a publisher posts a link with a headline that encourages people to click to see more, without telling them what exactly they are about to read and see. However, according to recent research 80% of the time people preferred headlines that helped them decide if they wanted to read the full article before they had to click through.

The third changes worth to be mentioned is importance of video content. Compared to 2013, video on Facebook in 2014 has become an integral part of the experience, with preferential treatment and auto-play capability being given to native video on the platform. All these led to signifiant growth in video since May 2014 on the social net. Indeed, just have a look on statistic that Facebook videos receive 70 percent more engagement on Facebook than embeds of videos from YouTube on Facebook, which means Facebook is about to become a huge video content platform in 2015.

But what all these mean for musicians then and what you should do?

  • Replacing the traditional “go buy our album” text posts with smarter creative video posts.
    For example it might be your personal appeal to your fans with information about new EP, your tour dates etc. Just replace the retail post with the retail video. At the same time your message will have a personal character which is so important nowadays and will follow the latest trend – Facebook as a video content platform.
  • Provide your fans with crystal clear and short headings in your posts. Let them know in advance what they are about to read or see, otherwise your posts are likely to be scrolled down.

All these rules are very simple and easy to follow 🙂