The Rise of Augmented Reality and Marketing

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If you’ve been on YouTube in the last few months (and, statistically speaking, you have), you might have noticed one of the running ads that play at the start of every video. It’s for the New York Times’ new virtual reality app, aptly named NYTVR. That’s right, one of the oldest print materials is blowing past the competition with an immersive application that allows users to virtually step behind enemy lines in Afghanistan, or talk a walk in New York when they’re thousands of miles away. If they’re reporting on it, perhaps about an icy blue planet that just regained its planetary status, readers— or viewers – can travel there themselves and experience the story in real time.

It’s an amazingly exciting time for technology and virtual/augmented reality, but what else is it good for? Can other industries use it that aren’t in the journalism field? The answer is an overwhelming YES.

What Are the Possibilities?

Marketing teams in Fortune 500 companies are finding that virtual reality can be used for, well, virtually anything. Tom’s, everybody’s favorite philanthropic shoe company, uses VR at the bottom of the funnel sales to communicate their mission. Lowe’s uses it in-store to show people what they can accomplish using all Lowe’s materials.

Lowe’s might be onto something with that in-store usability.

What if augmented reality app developers were able to create an app that would seamlessly work with the shopper’s current habits? It’s reported that over 85% of customers research a product in the store just before buying. If a store, or a realty company, or a travel agency, had the capability to show the consumer the exact experience they’re considering investing in, the rate of purchase would increase.

The goal of using augmented reality for marketing is not to provide the user with yet another gimmicky app that’ll just slap more geofilters over their screens, but rather provide them with a tool that will allow them to virtually experience another dimension of reality; or rather, as Ana Javornik says, an augmented reality with the ability to overlay virtual content over the physical world and have it interact seamlessly. Not only would it boost sales due to customer knowledge, but it would boost brand trust as well.

Greenlight VR surveyed over 1,200 adults and found that 53% of them are more likely to buy from a company that uses virtual reality over one that doesn’t. in a world that is constantly evolving and moving forward, this majority opinion is due to the brand coming across as “modern” and “forward-thinking,” an overwhelming 71% of respondents reported.

How Can Companies Integrate This Software

AR has the potential to meet marketing optimization if developers take the time to create AR apps that will flow seamlessly into the way people are already using smart devices.

In 2015, SessionM, a marketing automation company, surveyed over 12,000 smartphone users to understand how they were using the smart technology. In more than one study, results found over 85% of shoppers are using their device in-store before making a purchase. The SessionM study found 90% of the 12,000 users they surveyed use their phones in-store to check prices, reviews, and other retailers for the same product. Imagine those numbers if a company could introduce an app that would allow users to test the product before ever walking into the store.

The goal with augmented reality in the marketing world is not to provide more pointless overlays over storefronts and items that people would never consider in the first place. They’re most beneficial to expensive items or cultural experiences that one would need to consider in-depth before purchasing or experiencing.

The Question Remains

Despite how many amazing applications virtual reality has in the marketing world; how can we measure the work it’s doing? Perhaps integration with Facebook Video Ads will start popping up in our VR experience. It’s only a matter of time before they do. Furthermore, one last takeaway from all of this lays in one huge collected number to date. Pokemon Go, one of the most successful augmented reality apps of our time, drove more than 500 million store visits for stores that partnered with the game. Think about that.

For more information about augmented reality, the digital landscape, and all things marketing, be sure to follow Black Bear Design on Facebook, Twitter, G+, Instagram, and LinkedIn. We’ll keep you virtually satisfied with everything you need to know.

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