How augmented reality delivers value to direct mail marketing

Direct mail marketing definitely isn’t dead. Although the volume of direct mail being sent is declining, there’s less clutter and response rates are on the rise (source: The DMA). More marketers are integrating direct mail into their strategies, and some are embracing new tech, such as augmented reality, to modernise this traditional form of marketing.

We’ve seen a resurgence of requests here at Blippar, specifically looking at how AR can take static images found in direct mail marketing and turn them into dynamic digital experiences. Read on to see how AR can add value to direct mail campaigns, examples of innovative direct mail, and how to get started.

1. Drive deep engagement

Augmented reality is a hugely engaging medium. It creates a wide range of opportunities to make direct mail interactive. With AR you can enhance direct mail with your existing digital content, or create bespoke augmented reality experiences for readers -- such as virtual try-ons or AR games -- to drive deep engagement.

EE, the mobile network operator, used Blippar’s tech to enhance its paper bill inserts with augmented reality. EE’s business customers could scan the inserts with the Blippar app to learn more about the business services on offer and watch exclusive videos in AR. Rather than receiving a quick glance, the AR-enabled bill inserts captured an average of 3 minutes of dwell time per customer and increased awareness of EE’s product range.

2. Encourage immediate action

Augmented reality can make direct mail interactive to drive action straight from the page -- such as letting readers tap to make a purchase or book an appointment. This strengthens direct mail as a sales channel, enabling it to drive more tangible results.

As part of a direct mail campaign for the launch of Monarch Airline’s new ski routes, customers could scan and explore a 3D Monarch Mountain narrated by Britain’s No. 1 skier, Chemmy Alcott. This engaging and exciting campaign generated 13,000 scans and $3 million in sales -- a return-on-investment of 18:1. With AR, you can capture the customer in that passion moment and drive immediate action.

3. Act with real time trackable data

As well as creating engaging experiences for readers, AR makes direct mail campaigns insightful for brands. Integrating AR with direct mail campaigns can tell brands a lot about how and when their readers are engaging, including what type of content gets the most attention, and what time of day readers are most likely to engage. This creates huge scope for optimisation.

Environmental organisation Greenpeace sends out its Connect magazine to its donors each season. Using Blippar’s self-service augmented reality creation tool, Greenpeace very quickly built its own AR content to enhance the reader’s experience. Readers could scan the pages with the Blippar app to watch exclusive footage of environmental expeditions and explore details of new campaigns in augmented reality.

Greenpeace used our online dashboard to track when readers were most likely to engage with the magazine. With this information it sent SMS reminders at peak hours to encourage app downloads for further interactions. The same principle can be used across direct mail and any print collateral you have.

How to get started

Self-service AR creation tools are a great place to start. Without the need for any coding skills, you can make direct mail interactive in a few clicks. For example, Blippar’s drag-and-drop tool lets you create augmented reality quickly and easily, letting you add your own digital content, animations, 3D models, links to buy, videos, and more to direct mail. More extensive AR creation tools, such as Blippbuilder Script, let you create augmented reality using Javascript, to enhance direct mail with more complex, bespoke experiences.

Direct mail by itself is a tried and tested offline marketing tool which serves to put marketing collateral into the right hands. AR by itself is an interesting digital tool that overlays the physical world with digital content. Together, augmented reality direct marketing becomes a much more powerful tool.

Interested in how AR can work for your direct mail marketing? Get in touch. To find out more about how AR can create interactive print, click here.

Alisa Anantvoranich


Alisa Anantvoranich