The definition of augmented is “having been made greater in size or value,” and augmented reality (AR) marketing does just that: adding value to a user’s experience. Instead of providing a virtual experience, the user is shown something “extra” within the view they already have. Once something only considered “science fiction,” AR has represented a real advance for businesses, giving consumers a little something extra when discovering their brand, their products, or their services.
The History of Augmented Reality
Created in 1968 at Harvard University, by Ivan Sutherland, and electrical engineering professor, the original device was cumbersome and elementary (by today’s standards). It did, however, lead to advances in simulation, especially for military and governmental use, becoming introduced to the public in the 1990’s. In fact, the term was coined in 1990 by Boeing employee Thomas Caudell, to distinguish the theory from virtual reality. The yellow “down” lines one sees at an NFL game on tv is perhaps the most popular example of AR, helping viewers visualize the next goal for the offensive teams.
It has grown since this early introduction in both commercial and private applications, including popular versions like Google Glasses, Snapchat Lenses, and several eyeglass and headset makers. Not only can consumers modify what they look like using AR, but can add or remove items from their vision, allowing them to focus on what they are shopping for, learning about, or experiencing.
Some Early Adopters
One early method of using AR was in paint or furniture sales. Customers wanted to see what a color or what furniture might look like in their home, so AR allowed them to place images within their own space to imagine what the final product would look like. IKEA led the pack in utilizing AR but was quickly followed by the likes of Wayfair and others.
Snapchat is likely the most popular (if not most successful) at offering AR to customers in the form of filters. In fac, today’s millennials rarely share selfies WITHOUT filters! Their Lenses allowed companies to offer tests of their products for customers to visualize interaction.
How it Benefits Marketing
To be truly successful at using AR in marketing, the focus must be on the brand and NOT the technology. This is the only way to prevent it from being a ploy and not a true method of adding value to the customer experience. Companies can provide customers with additional details on their products when simply scanning the items. This encourages use of additional AR applications to increase brand recognition.
The projection of animated or other figures into an advertisement for an otherwise real place, which has been used by museums and retailers alike, allows potential customers to understand products before purchasing, and builds trust and loyalty. Customers can explore options within the brand with no commitment, and once they have experienced a successful purchase, are provided with additional products and upgrades within the same application.
Another fun use of use AR technology allows companies to reward customers with freebies/rewards for checking in or using your digital app or AR maps in the store to discover more about your products. This adds another layer of “experience” for shoppers. Accessed from the digital app from any location, interactive ads allow customers to see your service or product in action.
Augmented Reality Marketing Strategy
These are just a few of the ways that AR can help any business thrive in today’s online and application-heavy world. The team at Digital Marketing Agency is experienced in utilizing this relatively new tool, and can help your team create a strategy to maximize and expand your use of this technology to increase brand awareness, and grow sales and your customer base. We understand the value and importance of integrating AR into our clients’ unique organizations, considering specific needs based on their industry, products and services, and customer demographics. Contact us to help you create a customized marketing strategy which includes augmented reality!