Ways Brands Can Use Augmented Reality To Increase Interest

Augmented Reality (AR) has already impacted businesses in a dynamic way and can further the trend by using its key advantage over Virtual Reality (VR). AR connects with consumers in a way that VR can’t, and that’s because AR allows for shareable digital experiences rather than being isolated in a headset. Not requiring users to wear a piece of hardware opens up the potential for mass appeal.

As AR becomes more mainstream, brands are experimenting with technology through mobile apps in hopes to engage more consumers. However, brands shouldn’t start creating random AR experiences just for the sake of being on-trend. If there’s no real strategy behind your use of technology then it’s not going to resonate with your audience.

How can brands get the most from AR?

Brands need to create AR experiences that inspire consumers to take action and deliver an outcome that aligns with their business. By creating this experience businesses will be able to enhance engagements and effectively build a relationship between their brand and consumers. Online shopping experiences are where most consumers would like to try using AR tools. They like the idea of trying something out or viewing a product without having to go to a store to purchase it first.

A great example of this scenario is the Ikea Place app that allows users to try Ikea furniture before they buy it. The app was developed as a result of customers not feeling confident about buying their furniture in stores. Their customers can virtually place furniture inside or outside of their home by using the lens of their smartphone camera. The app provides customers a new way to shop by helping them make decisions they wouldn’t have made if they were simply shopping in-store or online.

Brands can benefit from AR in the following ways:
● Provides an easier way to control and improve brand experience
● Increases brand engagement and improvement with customer retention
● A new platform for brands to better understand consumers needs
● Allows businesses to bring their products to life by creating unique interactions
● Provides consumers with content they want to share instantly with friends resulting in customer growth

Marketing is no longer a one-way street and AR and VR have revolutionized how brands interact with consumers forever. Over the next few years, Global AR advertising revenues are expected to grow rapidly, anticipating a jump from $428 million this year to $2.6 billion by 2022.

Innovative AR Marketing Tactics

Patrón Tequila
Patrón developed an AR app for Apple’s iOS 11 operating system that allows consumers to go on a virtual tour of the Patrón distillery in Jalisco, Mexico. The AR distillery aids in connecting the consumer to the brand’s history and origins.

Snapchat
Notoriously known for introducing the social world to AR, Snapchat has now joined Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Amazon, and Apple in the trend of streaming scripted shows. Given Snapchat’s vertical format, the shows are designed to be watched on a handheld device. In this sense, rather than watching a show on TV or your computer and getting distracted by your phone, your phone instead becomes the TV and the distraction. Included with these five minute scripted shows are portal lenses that allow users to swipe up and enter an AR portal to a scene from the show. Other experiences include show-themed lenses for selfies, and reaction lenses allowing viewers to share their reaction to dramatic scenes.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
By using the KLM app, flyers can check the dimensions of their baggage to see the correct sizing before lugging your stuff to the airport. The AR bag checker uses a virtual suitcase that users can scan over their luggage to see if it’s the right size.

Sephora
Sephora, a top leader in global beauty retail, has made it possible for their consumers to virtually try on makeup looks and see the effect of months of skin care through Modiface Skin AI. Users can test over 3,000 lip colors by brand, format or shade family, and instantly see how they look from the comfort of their own home.

The Takeaway

In just over a century, augmented reality has changed the way brands and consumers interact with each other. Despite the success of the previous campaign examples, the next few years of AR marketing is even more promising. The inclusion of AR in marketing plans is changing the way businesses interact with their customers. However, AR strategies shouldn’t be used without a purpose otherwise brands are just wasting their efforts. It’s crucial that they determine where their brand fits in the AR world and how their efforts will change their consumers’ lives.

How Facebook Taught Bots to Mimic Facial Expressions

bots

We’ve dealt a little with bots and artificial intelligence, but we really don’t know what it is going to be like once it really takes off. Right now, there are chat bots and automated telemarketers. We haven’t quite interacted with bots that can express human-like facial expressions. It sounds a little creepy, but nothing we can’t get used to. Recently, Facebook announced that its AI researchers are in the process of training bots to express various facial expressions.

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Technology’s Feel Good Story Of The Year

Everyone loves a feel good story. When you hear a story about an individual helping out a sick child, it’s bound to be a feel good one. But what if the individual is replaced? What if, instead of an individual helping out the kids stuck in the hospital, it’s technology that’s helping. If you ask me, it’s still a great story!

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Oculus Rift: From Kickstarter Darling to Facebook Acquisition

With the acquisitions of WhatsApp and Oculus Rift, Facebook has had a busy year and it’s only half over. The WhatsApp purchase made sense, but shocked some because CEO Jan Koum was adamant about not selling the company earlier in the year.

The Oculus Rift purchase, on the other hand, shocked many more in the technology world. Palmer Luckey, a college dropout, began working on this virtual reality headset when he was only 15, and he created the first prototype in his parent’s garage in 2009. Oculus Rift started as a completely independent company getting its initial start from a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised almost $2.5 million dollars. (The initial goal for the VR project was just $250,000.)

A lot of their Kickstarter backers felt betrayed when the acquisition was announced, and they took to Oculus Rift’s Kickstarter page to voice their opinions.

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“This is not what I backed this project for. Seriously not. I hope Kickstarter will learn from this and find ways to prevent such abuse of their platform in the future. You lost a lot of credibility due to this. And Oculus? Oh well … RIP,” writes Jashan Chittesh on the Kickstarter site.

But Oculus Rift CEO Brendan Iribe had this to say: “Do we want to be Game Boy, or iPhone or Android?” Iribe realized the mobile platform is where to be these days.

If Oculus were to stick to a handheld platform (i.e. Gameboy), their potential reach would be far less. With the help of Facebook’s users, Oculus Rift’s plan is to put one billion people into an immense virtual world. “Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate,” said Mark Zuckerberg. But creator Palmer Lucky has also assured people that they won’t need to sign into Facebook to use an Oculus Rift. It will operate independently of Facebook. That remains to be seen.

This isn’t the first time a startup with a devoted fan base has been bought up by a bigger company — and it won’t be the last time either. The future of this acquisition remains to be seen, but I will be surprised if these two companies don’t make an excellent product, utilized for much more than just gaming.

What are your thoughts on Facebook purchasing Oculus Rift? Were you one of the spurned Kickstarter backers? I would love to connect with you on Twitter or in the comments below.