It’s not easy for modern brands to engage consumers. The average customer is tech-savvy and disillusioned with traditional marketing, to the point that 96% of people don’t trust ads. One promising solution is to leverage emerging technologies like augmented reality. In a marketing context, AR experiences help consumers view products in new and engaging ways, and excite them with novel story-driven formats. Let’s look at how brands can wow their audiences in 2022 and beyond.
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What Are AR Experiences?
AR experiences are interactive augmented reality content that immerse and engage consumers, primarily through social media platforms. They represent the cutting edge of mobile AR technology, allowing for a level of audience participation that is impossible in passive media like video.
AR experiences will play a critical role in brand marketing in the years ahead. Consumers love to interact with digital content when creators give them meaningful reasons to do so. Yet, for all the gains in advertising technology, most marketers still focus on passive formats that typically engage 1.6% of consumers. A robust AR experience, on the other hand, will usually see engagement rates of ~50%.
AR experiences also outstrip other formats in their ability to impact every stage of the marketing funnel—they generate awareness, showcase products, and even offer integrated purchasing for decision-stage customers.
Augmented Reality Experience Examples
1. Augmented Reality Product Visualization
When customers shop for furniture and appliances, it often helps to understand how items will look within a given space. In-store showrooms can recreate this effect to some extent, but AR makes it possible to represent an item within the consumer’s home using a mobile device. Brands like Amazon, IKEA, and Target use apps to generate an augmented reality product visualization within the smartphone camera display, making it far easier to see exactly how products will fit in a desired environment.
In recent years, this capability has advanced to the point that we can render home upgrades from a smartphone. Customers can view wallpapers, flooring, light fixtures, and even water faucets in any location under various lighting conditions. This kind of AR experience can be a helpful planning tool for individuals and families planning a renovation or home improvement.
From a marketing perspective, this kind of AR experience benefits customers in the consideration stage of the funnel. These users are already familiar with a brand but need more information to decide whether a product is a good fit—sometimes literally! AR technology can offer that perspective in the form of intuitive visualizations and demonstrations instead of a series of in-home measurements.
2. Virtual Try-Ons
Beauty and clothing customers don’t just look at items in the consideration stage—they need to try products on before making a purchase. This reality can be a challenge for ecommerce brands, leading to frequent returns or service complaints. With AR experiences, brands can showcase wearable items in virtual try-ons that let customers test new looks.
AR clothing try-on technology is rapidly advancing, offering general approximations of how apparel looks on different body types. Meanwhile, beauty-based AR content is impressively robust, building on AR filters to showcase foundations, eyeliner, lipsticks, and more. In all cases, these experiences benefit anyone who can’t take advantage of in-store browsing options—making them invaluable during COVID-19 lockdowns. For brands, virtual try-ons can increase conversions and reduce returns by offering more support to customers in the final stages of the marketing funnel.
3. Immersive Digital Shopping
In the previous examples, we explored the ways AR offers digital alternatives to aspects of traditional shopping. Yet it’s also possible to go a step further and recreate the entire shopping experience with immersive digital shopping. Last year, Snapchat showcased this concept with six AR-powered virtual stores—from Amazon, Coca-Cola, Hollister, Under Armour, Verizon, and Walmart, respectively—as part of a Black Friday promotion.
Each virtual store was included under Snap’s Lens for a limited time to feature holiday promotions. Some brands presented an element of the holiday experience, such as a mall Santa visit. Others offered an in-app treasure hunt where customers tracked down special deals. In all cases, Snap provided a channel for customers to purchase viewed items directly through Lens. Impressively, this brought the entire marketing funnel—from awareness to final purchase—into a single integrated AR experience.
4. Brand experiences
Because brand experiences focus on story, rather than product specifics, they vary widely in their application. These AR campaigns often make the most creative use of brand assets, playing off of the format’s novelty and incorporating humor. Some brands give users creative headgear, transform their appearance into something funny, or transpose a character into a real-world environment. These types of experiences are especially well-suited to entertainment brands. That said, they’re also a strong choice for any brand that wants to impact awareness and affinity while potentially generating a viral effect—users love to hit that share button.
5. Augmented Reality Games
AR has endless potential when it comes to games. Consumers are also primed for gaming experiences, thanks to the rise in playable advertising. According to the IAB, US agency professionals cited playables as the most effective ad format. AR takes the premise of the basic playable a step further by upping the interactivity and incorporating the user’s live environment. Entertainment brands often take advantage of AR games, but it’s even possible to leverage games in an upscale, non-humorous context. For example, Bumble recently ran a campaign with a “Question Game” experience that aligned with its philosophy of empowering people to make connections.
Our mission at CameraIQ is to democratize AR so brands everywhere can take advantage of its capabilities. Our easy-to-use editor helps marketing teams create scalable AR campaigns using intuitive tools and professionally-designed assets. CameraIQ also integrates with key platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat so that you can publish AR experiences across platforms with a single click. With these resources, perhaps the next AR experience to wow consumers will come from you!
To find out more about how Camera IQ can help your brand with AR, use the form below to request a demo of the easiest AR creation tool.