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What Does Augmented Reality Spell for Digital Marketing?

Augmented reality (AR) is not only changing the face of the world but, more importantly, digital marketing. AR is not to be underestimated, steadily rising the ranks and knocking virtual reality (VR) out of the park. It started with Snapchat and the Ikea app, and the industry is significantly growing. It’s time all brands take note of the power of AR, and Flow Digital - a leading digital agency, based in Newcastle - are demonstrating what it can do for your brand.

Firstly, augmented reality is not The Terminator. There’s absolutely no risk of the rise of the machines, but AR is the future - and you better believe it. Basically, AR refers to a technology that superimposes computer-generated images on a user’s view of the world. Therefore, AR creates an augmented reality, rather than taking you to a virtual world. The most prominent benefit for AR is certainly for brands, specifically e-commerce, as you can showcase your products in a unique format, unseen by many consumers today. For example, Pokémon Go, was the most profitable app in 2016, with over 500 million downloads. There is huge scope for opportunity for AR, and you must place yourself before your competitors.

The statistics

Statistics: a scary word for most brands. As mentioned above, the industry has experienced massive surges in popularity and investment. In 2020, the number of AR users is expected to reach a staggering one billion. Further to that, the market for AR is estimated to be worth four times that of virtual reality, signifying the necessity of brands to jump on the wagon. For any brand with an e-commerce store, you should already be considering the method of communication as part of your marketing strategy. Augmented reality in digital marketing As many firms are finding their feet with this untapped industry, there is astonishing potential to be had. Ikea demonstrated the usability of AR with Ikea Place - an app offering customers to ‘place’ Ikea products in their home, subconsciously encouraging those downloading the app to purchase their products. Following on from the success of this app, they produced the AR app to help users build their flat-pack furniture.

With those apps in mind, AR for shopping is where the future lies. However, as large-scale retail stores adopt the marketing trend, the high street and smaller businesses will begin to feel the effects. It’s worth looking into what this can offer your brand, and if it is relevant to your product before investing. AR doesn’t have to involve the development of an app and the subsequent promotion. Estée Lauder produced a more subtle nod to the trend, enabling customers to virtually try their makeup through their Facebook messenger chatbot. However, as you begin to look into the prospects of AR, you must note the lack of adverts.

Advertisements for brands are the foundation of business. The ad spend for the UK alone reached £22.1 billion in 2017, yet there isn’t a place for marketing ads and header bidding etc. within the world of augmented reality. Therefore, brands need to become savvy when appealing to their audience - similar to the previous example of Estée Lauder.

Benefits of AR marketing

While we have touched on the impact of the lack of adverts, there are hugely significant benefits to incorporating AR into your marketing. The most notable is the ability to bring your products to life. Your static advert could become a catalogue that your consumers can flick through - the possibilities are almost endless.

The benefit of providing all information regarding your products, without your prospects even needing to leave the house, will only serve to enhance their experience of engaging with your brand. Add to that; you can boost your online profile by simply offering this service. AR is still relatively new to the industry and will certainly gain attention if used before it becomes commonplace.

**How can I use AR? **

We’re glad you asked. You could use AR for video content, particularly as video takes centre stage within digital marketing. On average, you have several seconds to catch the attention of your audience, but AR offers you around 75 seconds (that’s not a drill). Therefore, producing AR video content already places you in front of the correct people for a significant period. Similarly, your social media channels will improve, as this form of marketing is highly shareable.

Another benefit is to catch those impulse shoppers - the consumers who may not be intending to buy, but require a gentle push. AR is that push, showcasing how their life (or living room, in the case of Ikea) would drastically improve with your product.

In order to survive the changes to digital marketing, you must adapt to new trends. If the statistics are anything to go by, AR is here to stay.

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