By Snehaal Dhruv
In an ever-evolving landscape, new digital marketing tools are constantly blossoming. Amongst all, we are currently witnessing the surge of Augmented Reality (AR) as a resourceful instrument to engage with the audience while creating a unique user experience; and as a result, a seamless way to raise brand awareness. The status quo suggests that only about 30% of the marketing technologies are being leveraged for an enhanced marketing experience, representing a huge opportunity for differentiated marketing.
AR has been applied throughout several industries with great success; however, marketers are only just beginning to scratch the surface of what these technologies can offer. According to Hansa Cequity’s MX Report 2020 – State of Marketing Experience in India, media and entertainment is leading the landscape with most varied investments in experience-oriented technology, closely followed by e-commerce marketplaces. Businesses in the digital arena tend to invest heavily in marketing experience enhancing technology, and innovate to create differentiated selling experiences.
Enhanced by AR
There are already exciting examples of AR application in many fields. Pokémon Go is, perhaps, the most widely known example. The game prominently featured AR and demonstrated its wide appeal, earning millions in no time. It taught tens of millions of users how to use their phones to interact with virtual objects in the real world.
Gucci is the latest luxury brand to add an AR feature to its app to let users ‘try on’ sneakers.
Pointing their smartphone camera downwards, users can choose to see a digital overlay of 19 different sneakers on their own feet, swiping left or right to change to a different pair. The app also allows users to take photos, which can then be shared on social media or in messaging apps.
In 2019, Toyota launched the Hybrid AR app to allow customers to gain a better understanding of its new C-HR model. The app works by overlaying images of the inner workings of the Hybrid drivetrain onto physical vehicles. Customers can interact with the app to be able to discover more about the car’s key features.
Ikea Place is another example of a brand effectively using AR to enhance user experience. It allows users to place virtual Ikea furniture in their own homes to see how everything might look once assembled. The new Ikea Place app is said to be 98% accurate in scale, rendering 3D images to react to light and shade, ultimately giving consumers a much more realistic portrayal.
Many other businesses have begun to introduce augmented reality in unique ways, and that trend is expected to increase by nearly 30% by 2021.
Furthermore, brands are either tapping existing tools enabled by popular social media platforms such as the 360 videos on Facebook, Snapchat 3D world lenses; or creating their branded AR apps, or bringing consumers into their own world. Applications of AR in digital marketing are numerous, making consumers’ interactions with brands quick, easy and interactive.
AR has also proven to be an amazing means for storytelling. The surge of AR in digital marketing breaks tradition, and has gone from static/ monotonous to interactive and entertaining. Brands are realising that, by incorporating AR, they can increase their market visibility and better their customer service simultaneously.
A notable finding of the MX Report 2020 highlights that Indian firms are yet to fully realise and utilise the potential of marketing experience technology — even the ones with the highest investments in this domain. This is an indicator that while we believe we’re almost there, we still have a long way to go, but it certainly is a path we must tread.
The author is co-founder & CEO, Superfan.AI