What if I told you the latest and greatest bit of technology you can use in your marketing today was invented in 1968 by a Harvard professor and premiered on TV in 1975? Would it surprise you?
If you've been on any social media platform via mobile app in the last year, you've likely snapped a selfie with dog ears, seen the dancing hot dog, or pictured yourself as any number of funny characters. You've been engaging in augmented reality.
Augmented reality is a technology which superimposes elements into the world around you. Unlike virtual reality, where a simulated world is created to exist in, augmented reality uses real life elements and enhances them by changing specific parts, altering the perception of the reality surrounding you.
While the technology has been around for a while, its reemergence is nothing short of a phenomenon. Thanks in part to our addictions to our smartphones and tablets, the adoption of AR as a marketing tool is rapidly growing and could be a great new way to engage your audience.
In fact, just last week retail giant Amazon announced its mobile app would now offer an augmented experience for hundreds of its products, allowing consumers to try the product before buying it.
In order to understand a bit more about AR and how its use is seeping into the market, we had the good fortune of looking to one of our very own. Mobile Developer Steven Palomino has helped our development team make use of the technology in inspiring ways for our clients and has created some pretty excellent user experiences. He even helped our team bring along a friend as we traveled for a recent conference with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
We asked Steven his opinion on how things like augmented reality are becoming a key player in technology growth. Read below to learn more.
How do you think Augmented Reality is shaping our future in tech?
Augmented reality is an extremely exciting and engaging technology that is changing how we interact with the world around us. I think Augmented Reality will have a more prevalent role in gaming and retail in the near future. AR gives us the incredible ability to be immersed in content while being engaged in a certain context.
What's the coolest way you've seen AR used by a company for marketing purposes?
Ikea had an impressive campaign recently with its AR app that allowed you to visualize furniture in your home using the camera. You could choose an article from their catalog and drag it to a certain spot to see how it looked in context. That's an awesome way to sell customers on products without them even going into a store to see it!
What's an easy way for a company to test AR for their business?
One of the most popular ways is to send out flyers with an image that the user can open in the app's camera and have a discount code linked to. You can also play videos on a tracked image so this makes for very interesting marketing when you can make a page of your ad in a magazine link to a video ad in the app. It’d also be very easy to take advantage of 360 photos or videos to show off a new addition or product in a store, for example.
Where do you see the future of AR going?
I see game studios and retailers really running with this tech. I don’t think companies realize how much marketing power they have in a user’s pocket sometimes. I think other retailers, like Ikea, will try to make the buying process as real and seamless as possible. I could also see AR being used with camera tracking to let users try on products like shoes or clothing.
Tell us about Speak AR projects that have been your favorite?
One of my favorite projects we’ve used AR for is Georgia Aquarium’s Scavenger Hunt game. It uses an AR camera to look for certain images at the Georgia Aquarium and when you find one a 3D model of an animal shows up, allowing you to see the animal in full 360-degree view.
Anything else we should know?
There are so many possibilities with AR if you’re wanting to create engagement with your brand. Not all strategies are the same for our clients. Some may have a goal of creating a game while others may want to increase sales conversions. Having a clear idea of what you want to achieve can open up creative but specific strategies on how we can leverage this technology to cater to your specific audience.
Have you used AR in your marketing, or have an idea that will help immerse users in your products? We'd love to chat. Click the chat button in the bottom corner, or get in touch with one of our AR Specialists to discuss the possibilities of your next project.