Augmented/Mixed Reality in Marketing: Current and Future Developments
Whenever you see news about augmented reality, it continually reminds us that the technology is moving beyond just being a plaything. Once part of gaming (and being a subset of mixed/hybrid reality), many retailers now see how using augmented reality becomes an asset for creating more personalized consumer experiences.
If we initially thought Google Glass would become the final frontier for AR, we should have expected more surprises. It turns out we may end up using different devices to enjoy augmented reality projects.
Many of those experiences may become relegated to your local store rather than out on a busy street corner. The way we use the above devices may differ as well. Having to wear heavy headgear may soon go the way of Google Glass and instead become more portable and manageable.
So how can augmented reality help you in your own marketing endeavors? It’s worth looking at all the trends and developments occurring now to give you some ideas on how to approach it.
When you have to make a product, service, or location look more vivid, augmenting reality could help you improve differentiation in the marketplace. For educating people (especially in the B2B industry), you’ll find this technology invaluable.
How Augmented Reality Marketing Evolved
At one time, you had to enter QR codes off posters or products to get augmented reality to work on mobile devices. Now things have improved with better tools that don’t rely on gimmicks.
A couple of years ago, you saw the AZEK 3D augmented reality app come to fruition for use in home improvement. Many consumers began using this as a way to preview new home designs before any work took place.
To contractors, this became an essential marketing tool after years of only giving approximations what a final design would look like.
In the car industry, augmented reality became just as important. The Jaguar Land Rover created a 360-degree augmented reality system that essentially placed people in the driver’s seat and out on the road. It was a perfect example of how useful this technology is in giving driver reality to new cars sitting in a showroom.
Because it’s a challenge to convey reality in marketing, using mixed reality can help people imagine possibilities without essentially leaving reality. If some people have trouble with disorientation after using virtual reality, augmented reality lets you give a more real-world view.
How Should Augmented Reality Be Viewed?
New devices go to market all the time that help showcase the best of augmented reality’s potential. Companies like Magic Leap are bringing truly magical concepts to the technology. With their focus on storytelling, you can bring an eye-opening and fantastical narrative to your marketing ideas.
One problem with portable augmented reality is making it easy to transport. Headsets aren’t always practical, so mobile technology like smartphones and tablets are becoming the new focus. Blippar is a newer company providing business angles to AR through mobile devices. They also provide easier object recognition, making the QR code concept all the more convenient for your promotional projects.
In many store environments, you can see why using a small mobile device would create better experiences. Still, being untethered from obstructive headgear is just as important. Microsoft Hololens now has this as the centerpiece of their holographic computer. They make it possible to have a more natural way to interact with your retail environment.
Giving the Virtual Feeling of Products or Locations
When Volvo created an augmented reality experience with Google Cardboard, it upped the ante in what people expect using this technology. Through an affordable and lightweight device, consumers were able to test-drive the Volvo XC90 directly through their own phone.
The process was reportedly a hit, because all it involved was downloading an app. Even Volvo said you had to experience it for yourself to fully understand the immersive nature of the driving test. You didn’t even need Google Cardboard to fully enjoy quality visuals on a mobile device.
It was just a start in what augmented reality can do in letting consumers try a product before they buy. Companies like Layar (associated with Blippar) provide more personalized AR experiences with everyday objects, giving you a good design template to build on.
If you want people to experience a particular location or situation, AR can bring better buying decisions. For showcasing places like hotels or presenting travel packages, customers get a better idea of amenities, local events, or weather.
For service businesses, you can give customers a feel for what to expect and the immediate result. Using augmented reality to show problems being solved is a powerful concept that hasn’t yet been completely realized.
Using Augmented Reality to Showcase Information
Evidence shows buyers in the B2B industry want in-depth and educative information before they buy something. Because augmented reality works on a more targeted level, you can provide information through pop-up facts and figures.
Your buyers can hold a mobile device up to your products and receive superimposed info to take the place of overly standard and boring white papers. As a unique way to help make up minds in purchasing, you’re more likely to create loyal customers instantly.
No doubt hundreds or thousands of other B2B companies sell the same products you do. By differentiating through augmented reality, you manage to get a leg up on competitors. Many of the stats you use in the AR software could compare your product to others as the ultimate marketing visual aid.
Of course, the same principles apply to the B2C industry. For a car or smaller product, AR systems can point out features the consumer may not find on their own.
Gaining Real-Time Feedback
One of the true benefits to augmented reality is the real-time aspects, especially in studying analytics. You don’t have to wait to get total results about what people think of a product. With built-in analytics or surveys, you can get an immediate idea of how people felt when they used your AR marketing program.
More so, you’ll know what kind of emotions your products or services bring to people. Much like agile marketing where you tweak details after creating content and customer response, augmented reality works similarly.
In the world of business, it means creating better products and bringing more quality services rather than making second-guesses on what people want.
Repeat Engagement in Augmented Reality
As we begin to see more augmented reality apps being created for mobile devices, it means more repeat engagementrather than quick abandonment. When AR can bring a specific type of emotion and varied experiences, there isn’t any question the user will come back and use it again.
Offering this technology for immediate use on a smartphone or tablet makes AR become a routine part of life rather than just something used occasionally. How your business approaches marketing can immediately change the way content works on a personal level.
As consumers become more scrutinizing in who they buy from, augmented reality has the ability to bring complete transparency. This means showing how you produce products and how they integrate into everyone’s lives.
To learn more about the recurring development of AR and how it’s changing marketing, contact us here at Art + Design Lab.