Augmented Reality (AR) marketing is a proven method for boosting consumer interest and engagement. It is also a way of positioning your brand as forward-thinking. According to research by Marketing Dive, AR “is the most likely technology to make consumers think a brand is innovative.”
However, if you’re unfamiliar with AR technology, it can be daunting to get started with your first AR advertising effort. To help you create augmented reality campaigns, we’ve compiled a guide that walks you through the necessary decisions.
1. Setting a Goal for Your AR Marketing Campaign
The first step in curating an effective AR advertising campaign is to isolate the customer response you want to provoke. For example, you may:
- Have a specific product you want to make customers aware of
- Be looking for ways to improve engagement among your existing audience
- Want to draw in a larger audience in general.
To stimulate interest in new products, luxury clothing brand Gucci routinely utilises a virtual try-on feature. Over the summer, they partnered with Snapchat to create a filter for users to virtually try on sneakers and buy them directly from the Gucci website.
AR advertising campaigns can be highly effective in increasing sales and boosting engagement. However, your goal may also be as simple as raising awareness of your brand.
You can learn more about setting an AR campaign goal here.
2. Choosing the Right AR Platform to Host Your AR Marketing Campaign
The AR platform you choose will likely depend on your campaign’s goal. Once you have your goal in mind, you can decide what effect will work best to achieve it. From there, you can narrow down which platforms offer that effect.
Alternatively, you may want to choose a platform first and then figure out which of them provides effects that suit your needs.
Below, we outline the most common AR platforms and offer insights into which effects are available, with some helpful details to keep in mind about each.
Though Snapchat has been around since 2012, its user base is relatively young — 57% of Snapchat users in the UK are under 25 years old.
Another advantage of Snapchat is that it offers multiple ways to interact with your audience. For example, brands can generate AR lenses that can be accessed through a Snapcode or promoted to appear on users’ carousel of filters. It’s a fun way to engage with users and get discovered by new ones.
In terms of AR effects, Snapchat offers face and world effects, virtual try-ons, product visualisation, mini-games and image trackers.
Having been launched in 2010, Instagram has the dual benefit of being both popular and well-established. It also crosses all audience demographics.
The platform’s popular Stories feature allows users to incorporate filters in pictures or videos and share them with friends and followers.
If your brand already has a wide following on Instagram or has the opportunity to partner with an influencer, leveraging AR promotions through Instagram is great for generating word of mouth and increasing user engagement.
In terms of AR effects, Instagram offers face and world effects, virtual try-ons, product visualisation, mini-games and image trackers.
Facebook is the original social media platform. Not only do most people have a Facebook account, but it’s actually one of the most used social platforms out there. The Facebook app also comes pre-installed on many phones and can be an excellent way to reach older users.
Today, the fastest-growing user demographic for Facebook is people aged 65 or older. Facebook also has a broader user base outside traditional western markets, and most of its users are located in Asian countries.
Like Instagram, Facebook also has a Stories feature where users can view, capture, and share your effects.
Facebook offers the same AR features as Instagram does.
TikTok is wildly popular with the younger demographic. The platform is favoured by teens who lip-sync to trending audio clips, perform snippets of choreography, or talk in front of a green screen effect.
For AR advertising campaigns, TikTok enables brands to publish face filters that users can view, capture, and share.
At the moment, TikTok’s AR offerings are limited to the face filter effect. However, the fast-growing popularity of TikTok makes it an excellent platform to raise brand awareness among Gen-Z audiences.
WebAR is the most accessible AR platform for consumers. That’s because it doesn’t require any apps — only a web browser, where your audience can interact with your chosen effect.
The platform is especially useful for online shopping and physically activated effects. Keep In mind that AR used to compliment a shopping experience, whether online or in-store, has been proven to enhance consumer satisfaction and sales.
WebAR’s effects include world effects, virtual try-ons, product visualisation, mini-games, and image trackers.
An iOS/Android app
A custom AR app for iPhone or Android is the most customisable option available to brands. While users need to take the extra step of downloading your app onto their device, this platform gives you the flexibility of creating custom AR effects according to your precise needs.
Creating an app also allows you to include content in categories otherwise restricted within social media apps. These categories can include (but are not limited to) gambling, alcohol, and drugs.
You can learn more about social platform content restrictions here.
3. Deciding On AR Effects for Your AR Marketing Campaign
Depending on the kind of AR effect you’d like to create, one of the decisions you’ll need to make is what kinds of interactions you’ll want to elicit from your users.
Common user interactions include raising eyebrows, opening the mouth, puckering lips, smiling, tapping, pinching, or swiping the screen.
You can also decide whether or not to include background music or sound effects.
Here are some popular AR effects and a brief guide to their use:
World effects allow you to re-imagine the world around you by placing augmented objects in your real-world environment.
For example, this campaign from Purina allowed users to place the beloved Felix the Cat in their environment and interact with it.
Face filters can turn your customers and their background into something new while also reacting to gestures. It is the most popular type of AR effect and also one of the most widely shared.
Virtual try-ons are face filters that allow users to try on products, such as glasses, makeup products and even different hair colours! They are perfect for retailers who might wish to promote their products on social or incorporate try-ons into their online shopping process.
Virtual try-ons are proven ways to increase product sales and reduce returns.
Similarly to virtual try-ons, product visualisation effects allow users to test retail products, but in this case by placing them in their environment. This is perfect for trying big products such as furniture in order to check if they fit, and it saves you the whole shipping and return headache.
Product visualisation effects are proven ways to increase product sales and reduce returns.
Mini-Games are similar to face filters, but they include a gamified element such as gaming mechanics and scoring, making them highly engaging and shareable.
Portals are windows or doors placed in the real world that open into a completely virtual one. Users can place them in their environment and then discover magical spaces within.
Finally, image trackers allow users to scan an image in the real world in order to access an augmented experience on top of it. Think augmented posters, business cards and restaurant menus.
4. Promoting Your AR Marketing Campaign
Finally, once you’ve finalised your AR effect, don’t forget to promote it!
Making your audience aware of your AR advertising campaign is just as important as planning and designing your AR feature in the first place. If your AR marketing campaigns are already utilising one of the social media platforms, it can be tempting to rely on word of mouth.
You should, however, prepare to use the same techniques you would for any marketing campaign. See more ideas in our recent blog post detailing 7 Ways You Can Promote Your AR Experience.