ARtillery Intelligence estimates that augmented reality (AR) will influence $36 billion in consumer spending by 2024. That's a considerable amount of potential revenue. But why will AR have such an impact? What is it about AR that consumers enjoy? And why should businesses make it a priority?
When implemented correctly, AR is proven to play a vital role across the marketing funnel, from brand awareness and consideration, to purchase. AR goes beyond the traditional means of marketing, such as TV, print, and mobile ads, by making content both opt-in and participatory. It commands attention and interaction in a way that other marketing channels cannot. It continues to change the 2D consumer experience into a fully immersive 3D interaction space.
In the near future, we will go beyond overlaying digital options onto our audience's environment and, instead, through metaverse platforms such as Roblox and the implementation of AR glasses, merge the two.
What’s more, linking campaigns to AR means we can provide a dashboard of anonymised data, including dwell time, device location and user journey, to help advertisers and brands refine and target their campaigns.
We want to share with you the key ways that businesses can implement this technology to spike customer interest and keep audiences engaged and connected long after they've walked away from an advert or product.
1. Boosts customer engagement
When you consider the data, people feel more connected to a brand when it is brought to life through an avatar in your environment or through an interactive game. Brands in the know are using AR and our products and services at Blippar to create deeper interactions with consumers. And with 90% higher engagement rates than equivalent non-AR experiences*, it's clear to see why.
Take Sony, for example. The tech behemoth is investing in a new generation of VR games that "enable players to feel a greater sense of presence and become more immersed within their game worlds" - this includes the new virtual reality headset for PS5 which brings players closer to the gaming experience. Sony is also developing AR technology to heighten these interactions. The company has partnered with Pokemon Go developer Niantic to deliver an immersive and visceral AR sound experience for Niantic's AR adventure, Ingress, which will help fuse reality and gaming. Such interactive elements turn viewers into users, inviting them to be more connected to the brand providing the experience. eMarketer reports that AR generates 45% higher attention levels than TV viewing or online browsing.
2. Delights people with memorable brand experiences
AR experiences are proven to elicit emotional responses from users; campaigns can make people smile, laugh and enjoy new perspectives in a myriad of different ways. Compared to non-AR or static product pages, with AR, audiences are in control of the product and/or user journey. AR places people at the centre of a brand experience, whether they're at home or on the go. MindShare reports that the integration of AR into marketing and advertising campaigns increases the likelihood to purchase by 135%.
Through an existing website or mobile app customers have complete control of AR interactions. For example, at Blippar, we worked with Kellogs to create an AR experience that transformed a box of Coco Pops into a tropical island where children could unlock games and characters. A taste of involvement with a brand or product like this is shown to boost customer retention and sales. The Kellogs activation achieved an average of 7 minutes dwell time, a vast increase compared to standard digital advertising campaigns - and one that can also be measured and tracked at each point of the user journey.
3. Showcases products in a creative way
AR helps customers understand products in a more detailed and creative way. Within healthcare, users can scan packaging to discover further ingredient information and see how medications work in 3D (for example, how to properly administer a Covid test). As well as this, AR is revolutionising medical education. It can be used as a training tool to teach professionals how to use highly technical equipment for complicated procedures.
For CPG brands, it can provide fun ways to experience the product and its related environments through gamification. We worked with the wine brand 14 Hands to bring to life its partnership with ice hockey team Seattle Kraken. When customers scanned the packaging, an ice hockey player appeared, as well as options to try out face filters, take a wine quiz and find out where to purchase the product.
4. Inspires confidence in purchasing
AR is a successful tool in allowing customers to visualise a product they might wish to purchase, which, in turn, further encourages sales. Shopify reports that products offering 3D and AR visualisation achieve 94% greater conversions on average than non-AR equivalents.
AR allows customers to try before they buy, from wherever they are. This enables brands to reduce customer returns, which often create more cost and waste merchandise. SeekXR reports that AR-guided purchases have 25% fewer returns than non-AR benchmarks.
Fashion retailers, such as Gucci and Tommy Hilfiger, have used AR to allow customers to try on clothes through virtual try-on experiences. This kind of technology can be embedded into eCommerce stores and apps to make the shopping experience as fluid as possible.
5. Bridges online and offline experiences
AR technology helps consumers engage with brands, not only online while looking at products, but also when they're physically at an event or in-store. At Blippar, we worked with Dr Pepper to build a 'Half-Time Challenge' that fans, both at home and in the stadium, could play during a break in the football game to win prizes. This elevated the Dr Pepper sponsorship beyond simple marketing signage – the AR experience allowed users to step into the game, turning audiences into athletes.
6. Maintains long-term interest
According to Retail Perceptions, 61% of consumers prefer buying from brands with AR capabilities. During the recent Super Bowl, car companies used AR to boost engagement beyond their standard video adverts. Nissan created an AR Snapchat lens inspired by, and to support, a commercial it ran at the Super Bowl. When pointed at any vehicle, before or during the event, the lens projected the car from the commercial onto the viewer's real-world surroundings. Similarly, Kia created an avatar called Robo Dog, which audiences could bring to life at home by scanning a QR code, keeping interactions alive long after Kia's all-electric car ad was broadcast.
AR is more than just a novelty or an exciting extra for businesses. It is the driving force behind building long-lasting relationships with customers. Explore the Blippar Studio page to discover more case studies across a wide range of industries, from eCommerce, marketing and advertising, to tourism and education. And realise the potential of AR for your campaigns.
*reported by Hidden Creative.