Social AR is a force to be reckoned with. The pandemic changed consumer habits and accelerated the growing trend toward social shopping. Last year alone, U.S. social-shopping sales hit $38 billion. That number is predicted to top the $50 billion mark in 2023.
AR is a key asset for brands who want to make the most of social shopping. Today’s consumers want to tie their shopping to real-life stories and emotions that AR technology helps bring to life. The growing body of stats on AR tell the story:
- 75% of the global population and almost all smartphone users will be frequent AR users by 2025.
- 80% of Gen Z and 40% of Millennials want to co-create with brands.
- 70% of consumers will be more loyal to brands that incorporate AR as part of their shopping experience.
- 55% of consumers have bought something online after discovering it via social media, and AR experiences lead to 94% higher conversion rates.
The rise of social AR is made possible because consumers are now native camera users; that’s where they go to communicate, engage, and shop with their favorite brands every day. That makes the camera the most effective channel to engage your consumers at scale today.
How are the world’s most innovative brands leveraging native camera users and social AR to drive the entire consumer experience? Find out by exploring highlights from one of our recent informative webinars. You’ll learn how to win at AR from insights gleaned from the expert guests who joined us from Jenna Lyons’s exciting new venture, LoveSeen.
Get expert perspectives and advice
Camera IQ’s COO & CO-Founder Sonia Tsao co-hosted the webinar “Beyond Filters: How Social AR Accelerates eCommerce Conversions” with one of our favorite brand partners: the direct-to-consumer luxury lash company, LoveSeen.
Sonia’s welcomed guests Lauralynn Drury, Head of Operations & eCommerce at LoveSeen, and Jehoshua Brown, LoveSeen’s Social Media Manager, along with Erika Brooks Adickman, Account Strategist at Camera IQ.
Sonia and her guests shared information, tips, and advice about using AR to boost conversions, including:
- How social AR powers LoveSeen’s consumer journey
- How AR fueled LoveSeen’s direct-to-consumer launch
- Which strategies and tactics help brands win at AR
Social AR, defined
Let’s start with the basics. What is social AR? Social AR enables intimate, one-on-one experiences with your audience. It helps you engage your audience with personalized experiences that feature your brand and capture attention in the primary channels where audiences spend their time.
With social AR, brands can reach consumers where they already are. In our digital-first world, it’s the primary way your audience can experience your products and your brand. Social AR is the through-line of the consumer journey — from discovery, to purchase, to advocacy.
Social AR also connects brands with their customers’ communities, on platforms where they’re actively sharing product discoveries and making buying decisions.
LoveSeen’s Approach to Digital Commerce
LoveSeen found itself in the final phases of product development when COVID hit. While every company experienced challenges during that time, LoveSeen’s journey was unique. They had to build teams, finalize their product, and launch the company, all during the pandemic.
To adapt to the changing circumstances, the venture shelved IRL launch plans and pivoted entirely to digital. LoveSeen worked closely with the Camera IQ team to create AR experiences that enabled consumers to get to know the brand, explore the lashes, try them on virtually, and get a realistic sense of how they might look on their faces.
LoveSeen’s journey represents a timely lesson for how brands can seize the opportunity of AR and reimagine the digital commerce model to power their business. Their successful approach to digital commerce includes: going beyond the product; engaging customers throughout the buyer’s journey; and promoting beyond social on other marketing channels.
Going beyond the product
LoveSeen saw the opportunity with AR to go beyond their product and reflect the lifestyle experiences and aspirations of their customers.
They drove business objectives by using social AR in several different ways:
- To amplify reach: Sparking conversations around notable events.
- To grow awareness: Getting playful and capturing attention. (AR doesn’t have to be serious!)
- To drive engagement: Creating dramatic looks that complement the products.
- To convert customers: Inspiring confidence with virtual try-ons.
LoveSeen proves that brands can use AR for both fun and function. Encouraging product exploration and virtual lash try-ons was core to their strategy. AR filters helped them educate customers about which lash may be best for them based on their style, their eye shape, and other deciding factors.
But while opportunities to teach and educate consumers about your product are important, it’s also important to remember that social media is where people go to have fun and to connect with their friends, families, and community. Letting people enjoy light-hearted interactions with brands via playful AR filters is key to going beyond the project.
That’s why LoveSeen introduced tie-ins with other brands and partnerships and made the most of cultural moments, such as an Oscar filter timed to be enjoyed with the Academy Awards broadcast. They also enabled users to create fun looks that replicate LoveSeen’s marketing imagery, adding to the complete brand experience.
Engaging with customers throughout the buyer’s journey
LoveSeen integrated AR throughout their brand experience. They leveraged several different tactics to bring their product to life throughout the consumer journey:
A UGC Contest, An Organic AR Experience, Instagram Story Ads, Instagram Swipe
UpLoveSeen’s strategy is about being able to give their audiences all facets of the brand, whether it’s driving reach through engaging with a cultural moment like the Oscars, tying in editorial looks, or offering quizzes or user-generated contests. Their AR strategy perfectly mirrors their overall commerce and engagement strategy, which is what has made it so successful.
Promoting beyond social on other marketing channels
Beyond marketing efforts and social campaigns, LoveSeen also integrated AR into other channels and post purchase. Their strategies include:
- Email Marketing
- A Chat Bot
- An OnSite Quiz
While AR is great when consumers are on Instagram, it works just as well when accessed through a quiz on the LoveSeen website, or through a link in a marketing email. AR is a versatile tool that helps LoveSeen encourage consumers to play and have fun with their products, no matter where they access the filters.
Brands often have questions about the ROI of social AR. For LoveSeen, the results are apparent. They quickly discovered that the AR filters on products that were getting the most impressions mapped to higher sales with those same lashes.
AR filters not only increase engagement and reach across every channel, but boost conversions as well. LoveSeen’s most-viewed try-on experience is also their top seller. That says a lot about the power of AR on sales —and on the bottom line.
How To Win at AR
As LoveSeen developed their messaging and commerce strategy, AR filters helped them explain the differentiated value of their natural lashes. Filters were a fun and effective way for the company to educate consumers on what the lashes really look like when worn.
In many ways, AR is a collaboration between brands and consumers and a way to foster co-creation and gather information. LoveSeen used the AR-driven insights they gained into consumers’ interests, likes, and dislikes to further guide product development.
One important factor in LoveSeen’s success is building a strong internal team of people who are both knowledgeable about social AR and open to learning new things. That way, the company can both use the filters effectively and have fun exploring fresh and innovative ways to deliver AR experiences to users.
For brands seeking to begin, continue, or scale up their AR strategy, here are some ways to make AR work for you:
- Use customer insights to define AR strategy, and use AR strategy to inform customer insights
- Your AR journey begins with a meditation on the key consumer question
- Think of AR as an accelerator for every touchpoint of the consumer journey
- AR is a tool that is only as good as the team using it — learn the tool, test, understand what resonates
If you want to hear directly from the team at LoveSeen, tune into the event recording here!