You’re at a networking event. You hand your business card to someone. They add it their stash of business cards. You never hear from them again. Repeat.
Does this sound familiar?
There are several reasons why you may sometimes struggle to stand out in the networking game. When a person is handed tens of cards, it is very difficult to remember who was who, what they did and how the connection could benefit them, if at all. Looking a person up on LinkedIn might help spark their memory, but it is a time-consuming process.
An augmented reality business card is an ideal solution to this problem, not just because of its “wow” effect, but also because of its utility and convenience. With an AR business card, you can stand out from other people and make it really easy for the other person to find out more about you. All they need to do is point their phone at it.
In essence, your AR business card acts as a virtual ad for yourself, bringing people additional valuable content about you, which you couldn’t possibly fit onto a regular business card. This can range from videos about your business and fun 3D models to links to your social media and website and call-to-actions.
How does an AR business card work, exactly?
To learn how an AR business card works, it is important to understand what marker-based AR is.
Marker-based AR uses image recognition to find visual “markers” in the real world. This allows mobile devices to anchor AR content into a fixed location in relation to the marker. Essentially, by visually tracking where a marker is through your phone’s camera, it “remembers” where AR content was positioned in relation to it.
This is exactly how an AR business card works. The business card itself acts as the marker that the user scans with their phone to access AR content hovering around it. This content appears above or around the card and the user can interact with it.
How do you scan an AR business card?
To engage with an AR business card, the user first needs to scan it. In order to do so, you need to ensure that the business card is AR-ready.
Once you’ve decided to create an AR business card, you’ll need to make a key decision: do you create a physical business card with an AR marker printed on it, or do you use or build an AR business card app?
1. AR business card with a printed marker
Creating an AR business card with a printed marker is the easiest, most affordable and most common approach. These cards look exactly like regular business cards, with one exception: the marker must be printed somewhere on the card. Typically this marker is a small QR code.
This approach is great because all it requires is that the user scan the QR code on their phone. The majority of smartphone cameras today support QR code scanning.
Once the user scans the code, they will be directed to a link, which will open up the AR effect in the app it was built for (typically Facebook, Snapchat or a web browser).
Using an AR business card with a printed marker is the easiest way to ensure that the largest number of people are able to easily scan your card, although it will require them to have the Facebook or Snapchat apps on their phone, unless it is a web-based AR business card.
The only downside of this approach is that it does require you to have a QR code printed on the card, which some people find unappealing. However, we are now able to design QR codes in a variety of styles and colours, so creating one that is physically appealing isn’t that difficult.
2. AR business card app
An AR business card app is a mobile app that the user can use to scan the business card. This approach does not require a QR code or apps such as Facebook.
In order to use it, the user will need to download the designated mobile app. Once they do this, all they need to do is point their phone camera at the AR business card and the AR content will appear.
The AR business card app approach has the advantage of providing a smoother scanning process for the user and not requiring a QR code. However, a huge downside is that it requires the user to download the designated mobile app. This can be a considerable barrier, as most people will be unwilling to download it just to scan your business card.
What content should I add to my AR business card?
The content you decide to include in your AR business card will very much depend on your particular circumstances and the kind of work you do. For example, a freelance designer might be more concerned with building an amazing 3D model that wows people, whereas someone in a more traditional role might consider a more functional approach.
In our experience, the most valuable types of content to include in your AR business card are:
What is the point of including your contact information, when it’s already available on the physical business card? The answer is simple; by including it in the AR experience you can make it easier for them to tap on your email, website or phone number to contact you directly from their phone.
There is one notable exception: Facebook effects don’t currently support links, so users will only be able to view your information.
As they say, an image is worth a thousand words. If you want the person to quickly remember who the card belongs to, what better way than to include a head shot? Alternatively, you could include pictures of some of your work, or of anything else that you think is relevant.
These can be icons linking to your Twitter or LinkedIn profiles, for instance. By simply tapping on the icons, users can quickly find you and connect with you on these platforms. Again, links don’t apply to Facebook, which doesn’t currently support them.
Videos are great ways to give people a quick overview of what you do and how you can help them. Being able to get users to watch it straight from your business card is a really fast way to familiarise them with your work.
If you’re feeling creative, a 3D model is a very cool way to impress people and really stand out. This could be an animated 3D model or a static one.
Here’s an example of our AR business card, which includes a 3D model:
Showcasing key content
Finally, we really encourage customers to be creative when thinking about what content to include. A great approach is to think about what kinds of things you could showcase to give them a show not tell insight into your work, from animations to product catalogues.
How do I create content for my AR business card?
AR business cards are still a relative novelty, which means that jumping on the bandwagon now will really make you stand out.
On the other hand, it also means that building AR business card content can still be expensive and time-consuming, depending on what development option you go for.
In a nutshell, there are three options available to you at present: AR developers, an agency or an AR content creation platform.
AR developers and agencies are still relatively expensive and can lead to relatively slow development processes.
We personally recommend using an AR content creation platform such as ours. This approach allows for faster, more affordable content creation.
If you would like to find out more about how you can build your own AR business card with us, drop us a line or create your own business card now.