Augmented reality has become a buzzword today and you can see it being mentioned almost everywhere. You may wonder what exactly this technology is, and how it is set to upend conventional marketing. Augmented reality is basically the use of advanced digital technology to display information in the form of text, image or video onto objects found in everyday life. It enables people to use a tablet, smartphone or a virtual reality headset to experience the world with augmented technology.
Augmented reality allows marketers to transform static objects, like a magazine cover or a printed advertisement, into an immersive and interactive 3D experience. Augmented reality is very different from virtual reality.
While the latter immerses viewers fully into a world generated using computer graphics, augmented reality adds more to the physical objects in the world around you with the help of digital overlays. According to an industry report, the augmented reality market which was valued at USD 4.21 billion in 2017 is expected to grow to USD 60.55 billion by 2023, a CAGR of 40.29%. The fields of healthcare, retail and e-commerce are dominating the AR market with major tech companies betting high on the technology.
How does augmented reality work?
When you scan an augmented reality trigger with your device, the app will look for image or video patterns that can be displayed over the view with the help of the camera in your device. As you move the device, the overlay will shift accordingly, allowing you to look at the projected information from any angle you want. At present, there are two versions of the technology in use. They are: Marker based augmented reality – This uses a 2D marker, like a barcode, QR code or watermark. Once you point your device on the marker, it sets off the augmented reality experience.
Marker less augmented reality – This is more advanced and can use anything in the real world to launch the augmented reality experience. The trigger can be an image or even a location. The app on your phone will be able to use the GPS information to trigger augmented reality when your device is in a particular geographical location at a particular attitude.
The benefits of augmented reality for digital marketers
- Increase your brand awareness – Augmented reality campaigns can help businesses increase awareness of their brand by lending a “wow” factor that can get media and customers to start talking about your services and products. Since the technology is new and the experience of getting to interact with a brand with the help of it is novel, it is one of the most effective tools at your disposal.
- Better customer engagement – Blippar, a tech company that is one of the leaders in augmented reality mobile apps, conducted a study and found that users tend to dwell for at least 75 seconds on an average on an advertisement when the marketing campaign used augmented reality. To give you a better idea, users only spend 2.5 seconds on radio or TV ads.
- Better customer experience – By integrating augmented reality in your marketing campaign, you can improve customer experience by leaps and bounds. Not only will they be armed with more information about your product or service, they can also choose and complete their transactions much faster.
- Integrating the digital with the real – The most significant benefit of augmented reality is that it allows you to link the physical experience of your customers with your marketing campaign in fresh and inventive ways. It bridges traditional marketing channels with digital ones, and allow you to transform a boring and static brochure or advertisement into an immersive digital experience, allowing you to easily link it with your digital campaign.
While augmented reality is still in early stages of development, it is slowly but surely beginning to catch steam. As tech giants like Facebook and Google continue refining their augmented reality viewing technology and developers continue fine-tuning software, augmented reality is soon set to become a vital and indispensable cornerstone of any successful marketing campaign. By incorporating the latest technological developments into your marketing campaigns, you can stay ahead of your competition.
(The author Tuhin Banik is a digital marketing evangelist and Founder of Thatware LLP)