Augmented Reality in Marketing

It’s no secret that mobile is a key media channel for marketing. Consumers, not only use their phones to call or text, but also to watch videos, play games, check social media sites and download apps. But 2013 showed that this consumer behavior, has allowed for marketers to develop new ways of reaching consumers through advertising. According to the Business Insider, mobile advertising has increased from $1.4 billion in 2011 to $4.1 billion in 2012, and is projected to grow to $7.3 billion in 2013, with the bulk of spending being directed to iOS platforms. All mobile ads are not equal and there is diversity in the way mobile is used as a marketing communication channel. Mobile ads can be interactive, take over the user’s screen, fun, entertaining or highly targeted. With so many options on how to reach customers with so many mobile options – it would seem that the age of mobile advertising’s peak has been reached – or has it?

Despite its’ promises of high market value, augmented reality may seem like a foreign concept to introduce to a mobile marketing campaign. However, augmented reality and mobile marketing are very much related. Both are based on a consumer’s behavior and location, in the effort to make a consumer’s life easier by allowing for increasing ability to interact with the world around them. Augmented reality is also more user friendly than other interactive mobile marketing techniques such as QR codes, since augmented reality doesn’t require a reader of any kind – just a user to move their phone across an area. What are the results of an augmented reality campaign? A luxury watch company Tissot, launched an augmented reality campaign in which consumers could try on their watches virtually. When the campaign was tracked it was found that in-store sales increased by 85%.

Augmented reality marketing campaigns can go in many directions – the goal of an augmented reality marketing campaign is to keep the consumer’s “entertainment value” while providing useful tools. A few ways to do this are:

Help the consumer with geo-targeting: This method harkens back to the original apps using augmented reality by helping consumers to find points of interest via their location. The brand Stella Artios has a Le Bar augmented reality app that helps users find a bar with their beer by populating you phone with arrows on how to reach the nearest Stella vendors.

Show consumers what they need: Online shopping can be a challenge for consumers. Many times when purchasing online a consumer can’t get a good idea of what an object will look like on them until they receive it. Converse shoes uses an augmented reality iPhone app to help combat that issue. The app, a free download, allows a consumer to “try on” shoes before you buy them in-store or online. When a consumer has found a shoe that they like – they are then able to click on a “buy” button which directs them to a mobile optimized website for purchase. If the shoes are purchased through the augmented reality app, the consumer then receives free ground shipping.

Expand consumers’ perspectives: Other mobile marketing techniques that play with print tend to be static and non-dynamic, but with the use of augmented reality, there is the ability to enhance printed materials with new digital interactions. The most current example of this is the 2013, Ikea catalog, using augmented reality. When a consumer comes across a section of the catalog with a phone symbol on it, they then hold up their phone to the catalog and are able to see inside the furniture, optional layouts of the room and even the different colors an item comes in. The Ikea augmented reality app helps to simulate a similar experience that one would have in their stores – looking at a display room and then exploring further within it.

With almost every mobile device available on the market coming with internet, and app capabilities, marketers within the mobile advertising space now have the opportunity to create a user experience that helps to make a user’s interaction with the advertisement easier. Augmented reality when used to guide, enhance or give new perspective to a consumer is when it is the most successful. As the mobile market and usage grows so will augmented reality.

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