Is AR marketing still a gimmick?
With AR technology becoming more mainstream and accessible, exciting opportunities are opening up for brands to connect with audiences in new and immersive ways.
In fact, by 2024 it’s estimated that there will be roughly 1.7 billion augmented reality users worldwide who are accessing the technology from their smartphone. In one study, 76% of consumers had already used AR in one way or another, and of those who hadn’t, roughly 50% hoped to do so in the near future.
Today, we’ll be exploring the benefits of augmented reality in marketing and how you can take advantage of this innovative new technology. But first thing’s first…
What is augmented reality marketing?
Augmented reality (AR) is a growing trend in marketing and sales strategies. Overlaying visual, auditory, and other sensory information onto the real world, brands can create rich and unique experiences for consumers to access, often with little more than a mobile device.
Every year, the technology grows faster, more affordable, and easier to use – both for businesses and for consumers. This means companies are increasingly able to leverage the power of AR to market to new audiences, create unique experiences, grow their brand, and increase sales.
7 benefits to using AR in marketing
With exciting new virtual worlds just waiting to be unlocked, there are endless opportunities available for innovative companies that are prepared to explore this cutting-edge technology.
Here are just some of the many benefits of using AR in marketing.
1. Make your brand more accessible
As of 2022, there are an estimated 6.6 billion smartphone users worldwide, which is about 83% of the global population. That number is expected to grow to 7.7 billion by 2027 while the overall global mobile phone market is set to grow at a CAGR of 6.8% throughout 2031.
The rapidly growing smartphone market is making AR capabilities accessible to the vast majority of consumers, enabling customers to enjoy immersive brand experiences from the comfort of their own home. This allows brands to become truly global, as customers can access your products and content from anywhere in the world.
With AR available on virtually any mobile device via links and convenient QR codes, your customers can bring your products into the real world with just the tap of a button.
2. AR experiences can help you go viral
In a Camera IQ survey, 78% of participants said they were likely to share a brand’s AR experience with their community, while 53% said that they’d already shared AR content on social media.
Creating viral content is a great way of getting your brand in front of thousands – if not millions – of potential customers, increasing brand recognition and building trust. The benefit of using augmented reality in marketing comes from the uniqueness of the content you can create – such as immersive events and experiences. This can help you stand out from more traditional branded content.
3. Educate your customers
Trying to understand a complex product can quickly become confusing and overwhelming, making customers more likely to turn away from a sale.
Using AR for marketing allows you to break down even the most complicated information into bite-sized digital snippets that help customers better understand the value of your products. This means customers can spend less time trying to make sense of your products and more time realizing how they could benefit from them, speeding up the sales cycle.
Brands who actively work to educate customers are also likely to seem more trustworthy and transparent, which is essential to building brand loyalty and increasing sales. Shopify, for example, reports that merchants who add 3D content to their stores see a 94% conversion lift, on average.
4. Boost customer engagement
The novelty of AR content can help brands cut through the marketing noise, while its immersive and interactive nature can increase engagement and improve the overall customer experience.
AR technology is also highly versatile, meaning it can be used in physical marketing collateral just as easily as it can be added to digital assets, encouraging engagement both on and offline. Apps such as JigSpace, for example, can create QR codes that can be printed onto brochures, product packaging, signage, and more, ready for customers to scan so they can interact with 3D content in AR on their phone.
5. Improve brand perception
Well-implemented AR marketing strategies can make a brand seem more innovative, exciting, and forward-thinking compared to brands who rely on more traditional channels. It can also help prove yourself as a future-ready brand, which can be particularly important for companies selling expensive products that typically require long-term warranties. In many cases, proving that your company will still be around to honor that warranty could be the difference in whether or not you make a sale.
AR experiences are also just plain fun! And we all know that offering customers entertaining experiences is a great way of becoming a brand that people actively want to engage with and purchase from.
6. Make budget-friendly AR marketing a reality
AR technology was once very expensive, and typically required specialist knowledge to use.
Now, with apps such as JigSpace, anyone can create amazing AR content in-house without investing a great deal of time or money. Our interface, for example, is designed to be as user-friendly as possible, with simple drag-and-drop features, easy sharing, and a vast library of premade models and animations to bring your products to life.
7. Enhance the online shopping experience
Studies have found that 61% of surveyed online shoppers prefered making purchases on sites that offered AR technology, while 63% said AR would improve their shopping experience. Furthermore, 35% of shoppers said AR would encourage them to shop online more regularly.
So what does this mean for online retailers?
With AR technology, brands can boost sales while minimizing returns. By showing products in a real-world setting, AR can help online shoppers make better, faster, and more informed purchasing decisions. This can help consumers visualize products that they can’t physically hold, touch, or wear, taking much of the uncertainty and guesswork out of shopping online.
Examples of augmented reality in marketing
AR marketing can be beneficial to virtually any industry. Here are just some of the brands already reaping the benefits of using augmented reality in their marketing strategies:
Allowing customers to place realistic, true-to-scale 3D models of IKEA products in any room of their house, the IKEA Place AR app launched in 2017. The app helps customers visualize furniture in a real-world setting so they can see exactly how the products would fit into their home.
With so many products and shades to choose from, it can be nearly impossible to decide whether a particular lipstick or foundation is going to look good on you.
Sephora’s Virtual Artist app uses AR technology to allow customers to ‘try on’ their range of makeup from the comfort of home. This ensures that customers can choose the right products to suit their face without physically having to visit a store or apply the makeup to their skin.
Bringing the ‘unbelievable’ nature or Pepsi Max to life, the brand leveraged the magic of AR to portray unbelievable events at bus shelters throughout Great Britain.
To achieve this, cutting-edge AR technology was fitted to the glass on the side of the bus shelters. Working the same way as the AR on a smartphone, the glass displayed a live-feed of the street, overlaid with fantastic scenarios to make it seem as though they were really happening.
As people waited at the bus shelter, they were treated to impossible, crazy, and entertaining scenes, such as tentacles rising from the ground, and alien abductions. Their reactions were then recorded and shared online, allowing Pepsi Max Unbelievable bus shelters to quickly become an internet sensation.
Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN
Sporting a new name, a new driver lineup, a new logo, and a stunning new car, Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN needed to find a way of generating as much fan excitement as possible before the F1 2022 season.
To help get fans buzzing about the launch of their new car, the team partnered with JigSpace to get the C42 in the hands of every fan as an AR-viewable 3D model.
The release of the race car coincided with the launch of JigSpace’s WebAR Viewer. Through the WebAR Viewer, fans were able to explore the vehicle’s head-turning new style anywhere in the world without even having to download the app.
Gucci was one of the first luxury brands to ever let customers try on a pair of sneakers with AR.
Allowing online shoppers to visualize what the shoes would look like in real life, Gucci were able to increase sales and customer satisfaction. The ‘try before you buy’ capabilities of AR allow customers to get a clearer idea of what they’re buying, helping to minimize returns.
How to get the most out of AR technology
Create unique, rich, and entertaining experiences
Produce high-quality AR content that your target audience enjoys, encouraging them to interact with your brand and share their experiences with their peers.
Enrich traditional marketing strategies with AR technology
Enhance the customer experience both on and offline with AR technology. Whether you’re creating AR trade show assets, printing scannable QR codes onto product packaging, or embedding high-quality digital assets into your website, the world looks better in AR.
Consider how AR can improve the customer experience
Have a clear idea of what your customers want out of the brand experience. Are there any pain points that AR could help solve? For online shoppers, for example, AR may serve as a product visualization tool to help consumers better imagine what your products look like or where they could fit into their life.
Don’t be afraid to have fun
The novelty of bringing digital elements into the real world opens up many opportunities for brands to have a little fun. Offering entertaining experiences and giving your customers a laugh is a great way of improving brand perception and building trust with your audience.
Learn from others
There’s nothing wrong with looking to those who have gone before you to identify potential opportunities or challenges that may arise. We’re not saying you should copy the AR marketing strategy of others, but there’s still much you can learn from the successes – and failures – of others.
Experiment with new ideas and opportunities
Don’t be afraid to play around and put the technology through its paces to see what it can do. Try new technology, explore new platforms, take new approaches. The technology is still relatively young, so there’s still much untapped potential just waiting for keen-eyed brands to spot.