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If you are familiar with, or happen to have used McDonald’s GOL app during the 2014 FIFA World Cup or after, then you’ve interacted with augmented reality.
The app, which Google says had between 50,000 and 100,000 downloads by June 6, 2014; just shortly after its release, is just one of the many ways in which popular brands are using AR and related technologies to promote sales.
With $90 billion USD being pumped into the world of augmented reality, it comes as no surprise that this subset of cutting edge tech is growing so rapidly.
Similar to the innovative mechanisms of social media, AR has taken off and become a focal point for marketing teams worldwide. It’s a new idea that’s not only fresh but also holds great promise to brands that leverage it wisely.
Already, we’ve seen the likes of global beverage manufacturer Coca-Cola, popular Asian dairy brand Dutch Lady, and iconic Italian scooter brand Vespa make some huge leaps into the world of AR with their ads – with tremendous success.
While venturing into AR to market its iconic beverage, Coca Cola introduced Magic, an AR app that allowed users to scan posters from select places and access different holiday-themed interactions. These included, for instance, scanning a Coca-Cola logo in a shopping mall and have Santa show up.
Vespa on the other hand released an AR magazine ad displaying a 3D model of a customizable scooter upon scanning the page with a smartphone, while Dutch Lady on its part has an interactive AR app that triggers a pop-up animation of the character Matt in his Holland farm.
These are just but a few examples of how AR is transforming the way brands market their products and how consumers interact with ads in a more immersive and enjoyable way without having to put up with the tense atmosphere that characterizes the traditional approaches to advertisement.
First Things First: What is Augmented Reality?
In simple language, augmented reality or AR refers to the use and integration of digital data into a user’s real-life environment. In the case of the Dutch Lady ad mentioned above for instance, the customer can point their devices (tablet, smartphone, iPad) at any Dutch Lady milk pack, and the app will trigger a pop-up animation of the farm boy Matt.
This concept is often confused with virtual reality (VR), which is more of an all-encompassing artificial setting created using a headset.
With AR, the user is able to interact with their existing information as digital data is relayed into the existing environment. Going with our example of Matt, he and his cow (called Bella) then talk about the product. You can even take pictures together with Matt and Bella, or collect bonus toys and play with them on this very interactive environment.
That is just how fascinating the concept is. It’s no wonder it has earned so much praise among expert digital marketers and tech enthusiasts alike; with growth anticipated to hit $117.4 billion by the year 2022.
More specifically, here are ways in which this technology is revolutionizing advertisement.
Making Advertisement More Interactive and Experiential
When customers get an idea of how your offering is likely to work for them, they might get interested in it. But, when they can experience that product or service as it is designed to be used, nothing is left to the imagination – the feedback is instant and you’re able to instantly know just what follow up strategy to use.
That’s where AR is coming in. It’s a major exodus from the traditional TV ads, newspaper clipping, or even social media posts that require you to sift through loads of analytics in trying to figure out what the feedback is, after which you have to work on making sense of it.
AR is allowing marketers to give their customers an experiential sneak peek of the actual product or service, not just an idea of what it is. It is engaging in realistic ways that no other conventional advertising method(s) ever could.
AR creates this level of engagement by taking digital data and turning it into something that’s visible in real-time. It caters to a market that’s treading towards specialized solutions and nothing does it better than augmented reality.
Delivering Futuristic and Exciting Experience
The average customer has seen it all and will not be easily impressed. In fact, most competitors will do the same things over and over again assuming that everything is going to work out in their favor.
However, the reality is often far different and it helps to get ahead of the game as soon as you can. No one knows this better than Coca Cola. Last year, the company’s China subsidiary took customers on an exciting AR journey through 23 of the country’s cities as part of its new campaign. All you had to do was scan its limited edition cans with your smartphone to unlock an immersive interaction with the respective city’s residents, landmarks and culture.
This is something that no other marketer had ever thought of before. It marked a creative incorporation of augmented reality technology and the Coca Cola brand experience into the food and beverage world.
With this sort of futuristic mindset, AR is truly revolutionizing advertisements, bringing them to the 21st century reality, allowing them to be entertaining without losing their marketing appeal even to the most reluctant customer.
Allowing Brands to Stand Out
Uniqueness is always sought after as an invaluable aspect in brand differentiation. It’s something that helps create brand identity, and those who succeed to anchor this competitive edge in their ads stand out as winners.
Businesses that are taking advantage of augmented reality are not the majority in any industry, but certainly you couldn’t help but notice how easily they become conspicuous and popular soon after successfully taking the AR-bound leap.
Offering Positive Engagement Metrics
Sometimes, it all comes down to the metrics and what the statistics have to suggest when you’re on the lookout for an ad that sells. In this case, the numbers are positive across the board. Various marketing teams are claiming AR is able to generate a new stream of engaged customers that may not have been present in the past. This has to do with how AR is designed and what it’s able to offer throughout an advertisement campaign.
It’s simple, easy on the eyes and offers tremendous value in terms of customer engagement.
The world of advertising is a cutthroat one with numerous hurdles, competitive requirements and top-class standards. A business, whether small or big, needs to incorporate the right mindset into their overall marketing strategy. This can include the use of high-tech advancements such as augmented reality. As long as the appropriate methods are employed, this can become a game-changer for the business and how it operates from day to day.