Why Brand Leaders Need to Invest in AR Now

March 7, 2022 • Written by Catherine Kulke

The metaverse is already here. From immersive VR games like Fortnite to your go-to Zoom background, technology is merging our physical and digital worlds. This new reality isn’t just fodder for thinkpieces—it has massive implications for businesses tasked with reaching consumers in an evolving media landscape. 

Mobile AR is the fastest-growing segment of the metaverse, and brands’ gateway into this expanding realm. Over 100 million US consumers will use an AR platform monthly in 2022, according to projections from eMarketer. That means AR is a part of daily life for nearly one third of the US population. And while many people turn to AR for entertainment, it has the power to directly sway buying decisions: 72% of AR users have made a spontaneous purchase because of the format. 

An infographic showing that one third of the US population uses augmented reality monthly, and 72% of AR users have made a spontaneous purchase because of AR.

To remain relevant, brands must adopt the same technologies their audiences are embracing. In this post, we’ll unpack three incentives for brand leaders to invest in AR and future-proof their growth strategies. 

1. Cut Back on Ad Costs and Boost Organic Engagement

You already know that building a robust social media presence is imperative for any brand that aims to engage consumers today. However, the social media landscape is increasingly crowded with advertisers, and customers have learned to tune out traditional ads. 

Social AR experiences allow brands to cut through the noise and deliver content fans want to interact with. On average, AR experiences created with Camera IQ receive a play rate of 40-60%, meaning users aren’t simply scrolling past them. In fact, our research has found that AR campaigns receive 34x the reach, 30x the engagement rate, and 3x the conversion rate of traditional photo and video ads. 

AR’s impact is backed up by scientific research. Studies have shown that consumers’ attention levels are 2x higher when viewing AR content compared to non-AR content, and the technology prompts a 70% lift in memory recall. It’s not a stretch to say that AR is the most effective way to engage consumers on social media.

An infographic of a brain showing that consumer attention levels increase with AR.

2. Inspire More UGC Than You’ve Ever Imagined

Today’s consumers are also prolific creators. On Instagram alone, users post 46.7k photos each minute (Forbes). This constant stream of user-generated content opens up opportunities for brands to co-create with individuals in order to foster loyalty and expand their reach. 

AR experiences offer an easy way for social media users to participate in the unfolding of a brand’s narrative. Rather than talking to a passive audience, brands become vehicles through which people authentically connect with their own friends. And users are eager to share the experiences they’ve created with brands. According to our recent survey of 1.5k US consumers, 78% of respondents would share an AR experience with their social communities, and 41% would be more likely to share an AR experience than a brand’s post. Essentially, social AR takes word-of-mouth marketing to a whole new level.

An infographic with a phone showing that consumers are likely to share AR content from brands.

3. Accelerate Online Sales

Our cellphones are pocket-sized shopping malls. A significant 71% of the consumers we surveyed shop mobile first, and eMarketer reports that 90% of shopping journeys today start on mobile. Social media is the hub for mobile commerce: in 2022, social purchases will generate $45B in revenue for brands (eMarketer). As brands seek to capitalize on this shift in behavior, AR offers a proven way to optimize sales efficiency. A majority (59%) of consumers we surveyed said they were more likely to buy a product after seeing it in AR (for example, in a virtual try-on or product visualization experience), and 42% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that uses AR at some point in the buyer’s journey.

An infographic illustrating that investing in AR is investing in conversion.

Don’t Sleep on Your AR Strategy—Start Standing Out Now

Consumers are hungry for AR experiences, meaning the technology holds a world of opportunity for brands that embrace it. And AR marketing is on the cusp of mass adoption. 

While one-third (29%) of media agencies are currently leveraging AR, 67% of media buyers and planners hope to do so in the near future. Brands that beat the rush and jump in now will gain a competitive advantage, and distinguish themselves as innovators. 

For more data and insights on how consumers are interacting with AR, download our full report on AR Marketing and Consumer Behavior in 2022. Ready to start preparing your business for the metaverse? Use the form below to schedule a free consultation with our team.

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