Augmented Reality Marketing: Your Next Must-Have Budget Investment
Augmented Reality Marketing: Your Next Must-Have Budget Investment
In the dynamic world of marketing, brand managers are constantly seeking strategies and technologies that not only captivate audiences but also deliver a tangible return on investment (ROI). Augmented Reality (AR) marketing, often abbreviated as AR marketing, has emerged as a game-changing tool that deserves your full attention and budget allocation. In this article, we will present a compelling case for AR marketing, demonstrating how it can elevate your brand's campaigns to new heights and deliver measurable results.
The following is a collab between artist Antoni Tudisco and Versace. Although this is not an AR action per se, this could potentially be brought onto a real building and have people interact with the physical building in a given city using AR technology in an OOH advertising campaign.
Defining Augmented Reality (AR)
Before we delve into the persuasive advantages of AR marketing, let's establish a clear understanding of what augmented reality is. AR is an immersive technology that seamlessly integrates digital elements, such as 3D models, videos, and animations, into the real world through devices like smartphones, tablets, or AR glasses. It empowers brands to provide interactive, engaging experiences to their target audience, redefining the very essence of marketing.
AR Marketing: Driving Engagements and Conversions
Elevating Consumer Engagement
In the relentless quest to engage consumers, AR marketing stands as a beacon of innovation. Here are some compelling reasons why AR should be a central component of your next marketing campaign:
1. Interactive Product Experiences:
AR allows brands to create interactive and immersive product experiences that go beyond traditional product demos. Consumers can use their smartphones or AR glasses to superimpose virtual versions of products into their real-world environment. This technology enables them to explore products from all angles, interact with features, and even simulate product usage. For example, a furniture retailer can offer customers the ability to place virtual furniture items in their own living spaces, ensuring a perfect fit before making a purchase decision. The result is increased consumer confidence and reduced returns, ultimately driving higher conversion rates.
2. Gamification for Brand Engagement:
Gamification is a proven strategy to engage and retain consumers, especially the younger, digitally savvy demographic. AR gamification elements take engagement to the next level by turning marketing campaigns into interactive adventures. Brands can create gamified experiences that encourage users to explore, solve puzzles, or complete challenges, all while interacting with the brand's products or messages. This fosters a sense of excitement and achievement, deepening the connection between consumers and the brand. For example, Vodafone in Germany developed a gamified AR Marketing experience where users can win prizes after interacting with the digital layer. First they would scan a QR code on OOH posters located around the main german cities. Then, they would click on "start" the experience. Ultimately, the digital layer would start releasing virtual emojis, ballons and popcorn in the area where the user is located.
3. Location-Based AR Marketing:
Location-based AR marketing leverages the power of geolocation to attract consumers to physical stores or event venues. Brands can entice customers by offering exclusive AR experiences tied to specific locations. For instance, a clothing retailer can use geofencing to send notifications to nearby shoppers, inviting them to scan in-store AR markers for discounts, product information, or even an augmented reality fashion show. This not only drives foot traffic but also provides valuable data on consumer behavior and preferences.
The following is an experiment callled "Trapped" by artist ShaneF3d. It is not AR per se. It is motion graphics, but this could be brought on to the streets as part of an OOH advetising campaign using AR.
4. Virtual Try-Before-You-Buy:
In industries where aesthetics and personal fit matter, such as fashion and cosmetics, virtual try-ons powered by AR are a game-changer. Brands can develop apps or features that allow consumers to "try on" clothing, makeup, or accessories virtually. Users can see how a lipstick shade looks on their own image or try out different outfits without physically trying them on. This technology reduces hesitation in making online purchases, minimizes returns, and enhances the overall shopping experience. According to Snapchat, one of the leaders in augmented reality in the world, Snapchatters are now engaging with AR more than 6 billion times per day, and 93% of them are interested in using AR for shopping.
One of the most potent attributes of AR marketing lies in its capacity to transform your brand's narrative into an engaging and memorable story. Here's how leading brands are leveraging AR to craft compelling narratives that resonate with their audiences:
1. Interactive Brand Stories:
Brands are increasingly using AR to weave interactive narratives that transport customers into their unique brand universe. Consider Coca-Cola's AR campaign, where users scan a Coke can with their smartphones and embark on a virtual adventure. Through AR, they explore vibrant, animated characters fostering an emotional connection, having a minor conflict, and finally leading to a more positive outcome when sharing a Coke.
This is a campaign by Campaign by Coca Cola, Ogilvy Mexico and VFX house Timber. Source: The Drum.
2. Behind-the-Scenes Experiences:
AR offers a glimpse "behind the scenes", allowing brands to showcase better how their products work. A prime example is the Toyota C-HR model shown through augmented reality technology. An advanced object recognition software superimposes detailed graphics illustrating the inner mechanics of the Hybrid drivetrain onto real-world vehicles. This innovative approach offers customers a more insightful perspective on the system's functionality.
3. Brand History and Heritage:
Brands with rich histories can use AR to share their legacy. Jack Daniel's, for instance, launched an AR app that takes users on a historical journey through their distillery. Users can witness the evolution of the brand and the production process, reinforcing the brand's heritage and creating a deeper connection with consumers.
4. Personalizing AR Experiences:
Tailoring AR experiences to individual consumers can be a powerful tool. Zero10 developed an AR mirror that helps people try on clothing without entering the changing rooms. The app personalizes the experience by displaying the user's full body, with digital clothes layered on them. This level of personalization fosters a sense of intimacy between the brand and the consumer.
5. Brands as Curators of Experiences:
Brands can become curators of unique experiences through augmented reality. Louis Vuitton, for example, introduced an AR campaign that went viral on social media. They partnered up with Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama to create an experience that allows anyone interact with the brand and the artist. In different landmarks around the world, like the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty, users can portray realistic-looking digital artworks on top of them. The designs created by Kusama, mimick the brand's physical stores and collections.
AR storytelling is a dynamic strategy that elevates brand narratives to unprecedented heights. By crafting interactive brand stories, showcasing authenticity, delving into brand history, personalizing experiences, and curating unique encounters, brands are creating memorable connections with their audiences. These examples demonstrate that AR isn't a mere marketing tool; it's a potent means of shaping brand identity and building lasting customer relationships. Brand managers, take note: AR storytelling is a gateway to deeper engagement and enduring brand loyalty.
Empowering Artists with AR: A Unique Value Proposition
Visual artists, often the unsung heroes of marketing campaigns, are finding their creativity amplified by AR technology. By collaborating with artists, you can infuse authenticity, originality, and a fresh perspective into your campaigns:
Amplifying Creativity with AR
1. Digital Art Brought to the Physical Space
Collaborate with contemporary artists to create digital artworks that come to life through AR. These virtual public galleries attract a global audience and position your brand as a patron of creativity and innovation.
Here's an example of how a landmark like the Dubai Frame is powered by art and augmented reality. Powered by Odlabs.
Street artists are pushing the boundaries of their craft by incorporating AR into their works. By scanning AR murals or artwork with a smartphone, viewers can unlock hidden animations and narratives, turning urban spaces into dynamic, interactive canvases that your brand can be a part of.
ShaneF is a motion design artist. The following is a digital creation that could be brought up to the physical space through AR.
AR Marketing: A Strategic Investment for Brand Managers
The ROI of AR Marketing
The convergence of AR, marketing, and artistic creativity represents a strategic investment for brand managers:
The tangible ROI offered by AR marketing are compelling, with numerous brands showcasing impressive results. Here's a closer look at how AR can translate into measurable gains:
1. Increased Conversion Rates:
AR-driven product visualization and try-on experiences have been proven to boost conversion rates significantly. For example, Shopify merchants reported that their customers were 44% more likely to add an item to their cart after interacting with it in 3D. And visitors were 65% more likely to place an order after interacting with a product in AR.
2. Reduced Returns: Virtual try-on experiences powered by AR can substantially reduce product returns. According to AR Insider Macy's reduced their furniture return rate to lower than 2%, when the industry average is well above 5%. All thanks to an AR/VR immersive experience offered to their customers.
3. Enhanced Engagement and Dwell Time: AR marketing campaigns have been proven to increase user engagement and dwell time. For instance, Ralph Lauren led to an impressive engagement rate of 90% when installing interactive fitting rooms with AR mirrors in their shops. This prolonged interaction with the brand's AR content translates into increased brand exposure and a deeper connection with consumers.
4. Brand Differentiation and Loyalty: Brands that leverage AR marketing to provide unique and immersive experiences stand out in crowded markets. A survey of over 3,000 consumers across North America, Europe and APAC conducted by Accenture established that three in five consumers (61%) would be more likely to buy from a brand that uses immersive technologies.
5. Revenue Growth: AR marketing isn't just about short-term gains; it also drives long-term revenue growth. As an illustration, according to adloin.in, who provides a B2B augmented reality solution, businesses using their AR tools for customer engagement see a 200% rise in sales.
6. Data-Driven Insights: AR marketing provides brands with valuable data and insights into consumer behavior. Brands can gather data on user interactions, preferences, and purchasing patterns. For example, a fashion retailer using an AR mirror for virtual try-ons in their stores can gain insights into which styles, colors, or sizes are most popular among their customers, enabling them to refine their product offerings and marketing strategies. Read more about Ralph Lauren's connected fittign rooms.
7. Cost-Effective Campaigns: AR marketing can be cost-effective in comparison to traditional marketing channels. Brands can create engaging and interactive AR experiences without the need for extensive physical materials or locations. For example, according to Alan Smithson from MetaVRse, a normal furniture store in Macy’s takes up a couple of thousand square feet and cost about half a million dollars to build, but with an AR/VR they just need 500 square feet and it costs less than $50,000 to build.
In a competitive landscape where consumers demand more than traditional marketing, AR marketing emerges as the pivotal tool for brand managers. It offers an unparalleled opportunity to engage and captivate your audience, tell compelling stories, and drive measurable results. AR marketing isn't a trend; it's a strategic necessity in today's marketing arsenal.
As brand managers, your responsibility is to ensure that your campaigns not only resonate but also deliver ROI. Augmented Reality marketing is not just a buzzword; it's the future of marketing. It's time to embrace AR marketing and make it an integral part of your budget for your next campaign. The future of your brand's success hinges on it.
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