Augmented reality (AR) has already become a buzzword in the area of technology. It is difficult to find somebody who’s never heard of Pokémon GO, a bestselling AR game played by countless people around the world.
But, AR is not just about games. It goes much beyond entertainment. AR has breathtaking prospects in many industries, from education & healthcare to construction. Now in 2020, the AR has come to advertising, and it’s going to change the way the digital advertising market functions.
AR makes advertising interactive, allowing advertisers and entrepreneurs to reach out to customers in totally new ways. Many companies have already embraced this cutting-edge technology. If you still aren’t certain whether it is well worth going for, you should clearly realize what benefits augmented reality advertising provides and how precisely you can use this technology in real life.
Reasons to Adopt Augmented Reality in Advertising
The contemporary world is an electronic world: based on a report by We’re Social, there are almost 4.5 billion active internet users worldwide. There’s plenty of work for advertisers and marketers. No wonder the digital advertising market is booming: worldwide spending on electronic advertisements is expected to rise from 283 billion in 2018 to $517 billion by 2023.
And though augmented reality advertisements are utilized mostly by early adopters up to now, they will be popular soon as the amount of AR users rises.
There are several major reasons why the future of advertising belongs to AR ads
Augmented reality advertisements are immersive, so they help marketers create a particular emotional connection with clients. Unlike images or banners, AR advertisements are interactive and lifelike: consumers can see and even interact with them.
Imagine, for example, an eye-catching billboard advertising a just-released film. Now think about the magic AR can do: passers-by point their smartphone cameras in the billboard and watch the trailer in their smartphone displays. Which of these two approaches (a billboard or an AR ad) is more likely to interest you? Without a doubt, most customers will opt to get an AR ad.
By interacting with AR advertisements, consumers feel as though they’re enjoying an engaging video game. Obviously, an emotional connection is a great tool for raising brand awareness. People better remember brands that they have positive relationships with, so AR ads are ideal not only for promotional campaigns but also for building brand awareness.
Although digital advertisements are incredibly popular, traditional print ads continue to be far from obsolete. There are lots of print magazines with tricky images advertisements an entire spectrum of goods and services. But, placing advertisements in popular print magazines can be somewhat pricey.
Augmented reality advertising is normally more affordable and a lot more immersive than print advertising. Of course, the cost for an AR ad varies based on its quality: a very simple AR advertisement can cost approximately 5,000€ to develop, while a sophisticated AR campaign with eye-catching graphics may amount to 100,000€.
Marker-based AR advertisements demand a marker (i.e. target image ) that customers scan with their smartphone to deliver virtual content to life. Location-based AR ads don’t require any markers, as they overlay virtual content according to a user’s location (with the assistance of GPS). Starting an AR advertising campaign is usually a good deal cheaper than putting a print advertisement in a bestselling printing magazine. Moreover, the created AR content can be used later in other campaigns.
Sales Boosting Campaigns
Augmented reality ads aren’t the only way of promoting products or services. AR offers other ways for marketers and advertisers to increase sales volumes: virtual try-on.
Imagine coming across a conventional advertisement for, say, sunglasses. You see nice pictures of the glasses, but can you be sure they’ll suit you? This isn’t a problem if augmented reality technology is used: you’ll be able to virtually try on a number of glasses and choose the ones you like the most.
Needless to say, consumers can try on many other items with AR: shoes, clothing, jewelry, watches, and more. This makes AR ads a powerful tool for driving sales and increasing revenue.
Digital ads use advanced machine learning algorithms to analyze user behavior and interests in order to recommend the right products and services to the right people. Augmented reality ads offer marketers an even better opportunity: advanced hyperlocal advertising.
Unlike traditional hyperlocal ads that tell customers about institutions such as outlets and cafes, AR hyperlocal advertisements are truly immersive as they can display objects right on a smartphone’s display. This way, clients are not only educated about areas that might be interesting to them, but are guided there as well.
AR ads are, therefore, can be extremely helpful to business owners that want to attract more customers to a specific location.
Augmented Reality in Advertising: Use Cases
Augmented reality ads haven’t become common yet as AR technology is just making its first steps and only early adopters have started using it. However, any new technology requires time to become mature and widespread.
We’ve selected five use cases for augmented reality advertising so that you can understand what unique experiences AR provides.
IKEA AR Advertising Campaign
IKEA, the famous furniture retailer, was one of the early adopters of augmented reality ads back in 2013 when it released its iOS AR mobile app that showed users virtual pieces of furniture from the company’s 2014 catalog.
Customers simply put a print furniture catalog on the floor and scanned it with their smartphone or tablet cameras to see the virtual furniture. This way, customers could see whether a certain piece of furniture would fit in their real-life environments and what color would be most suitable. AR allowed the company to spark customers’ interest and encourage sales.
IKEA is currently building a new AR app based on Apple’s ARKit software.
Pepsi Bus Shelter AR Ad
Bus shelters are often used for advertising, but augmented reality can turn a common bus shelter poster into an unforgettable and entertaining experience. That’s what Pepsi did with its Pepsi Max AR advertising campaign.
A screen and a camera were installed in typical London bus shelters to overlay virtual objects onto a real-life camera view.
Similar technology can be used to advertise anything from a fizzy drink to a new movie.
Lacoste Virtual Try-Ons
In 2014, Lacoste launched an augmented reality app for its LCST brand. Users could place their feet on a special marker, scan it with their smartphones, and try on different Lacoste shoes.
This type of AR application is extremely useful for online marketplaces, as people can try apparel before purchasing, minimizing the number of returns.
Challenges in the Path of Augmented Reality Advertising
Though AR can substantially change the advertising industry, there are several challenges in the path of this technology. Let’s briefly mention the most significant.
1. The Need for a Mobile Application
So far, augmented reality works mostly through special AR mobile applications. And that’s the problem: to immerse themselves in the world of AR, customers need to find a mobile app in the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store and install it. Doing so takes time and, moreover, most people would probably need to keep several AR apps on their smartphones to access different AR experiences. As a result, many users don’t want to bother with it and prefer not to use AR apps at all.
The solution to this problem is underway, though. Blippar, a prominent AR provider, is working on a totally new media format called augmented reality digital placement (ARDP). ARDP doesn’t require a separate AR application. Instead, advertisers can use ARDP to create AR ads by using only smartphones or desktop cameras. Thanks to ARDP, users can tap on a rich media ad (a banner, for example) and activate AR.
This technology is going to make AR ads more accessible and, thus, more widespread.
2. Hardware Limitations
Would you prefer to play a computer game with realistic graphics or one with poor graphics? Unless you’re a fan of old-school games, you’ll opt for the better graphics. The same applies to augmented reality.
People are unlikely to enjoy an AR app with poor graphics, but smartphones and smart glasses are no match for desktops in terms of graphics power. Portable devices need to have hardware powerful enough to produce high-quality graphics.
Fortunately, the processing power of portable devices has been steadily increasing, and modern smartphones can produce quite sophisticated AR.
3. Development Process
If you realize the full potential of AR advertising, you’re probably wondering how exactly you can create augmented reality ads.
First of all, you can use a special AR software development kit (SDK). Many companies are offering these tools, so choosing the right one isn’t easy. You need to figure out what functions you need from an SDK in order to create your AR application.
However, using an AR toolkit requires strong coding skills. Many digital advertising agencies simply don’t have the in-house developers to do it. So instead of reinventing the bike, you can cooperate with a reliable technology partner that will provide you with a team of professional software developers. They’ll analyze your project and define what AR SDK is the most suitable and how much effort your project requires.
High Time to Jump on the AR Advertising Bandwagon
Augmented reality advertising gives marketers an enormous advantage since this technology makes ads engaging, interactive, and efficient. As you can see, many companies have already embraced this top-notch technology and more are expected to follow suit.
If you are ready to step into the world of augmented reality advertising, feel free to contact our team and we’ll help you get your fantastic idea off the ground.