The Power of AR in Advertising

Augmented Reality (AR) refers to technology that adds visual and audio elements to everyday life with the help of software, apps, and devices like smartphones, tablets or headsets. Today, AR can be used by brands and advertisers in marketing campaigns to give users and potential customers an immersive, fun, informative, and memorable experience. Consequently, AR in advertising can lead to more leads, better conversion rates, and a higher return on investment (ROI) for the advertising campaign.

The Benefits of Using AR in Advertising

Augmenting means adding or increasing something. Therefore, to augment reality means to add something to reality. Although the term augmented reality first appeared in the 1990s, augmented reality technology has been developed since the 1960s. It has been used by NASA, sports entertainment, retailers, theaters, corporations such as Google and Microsoft, and advertisers.

What does AR do in advertising? Basically, advertisers can take the experience of traditional media and add to it, creating a more immersive digital experience for users. For example, customers can use the screen on their mobile devices to view digital changes to their surroundings. A person may use their mobile phone to take a video of a product in a store, for instance. Then, they can see information about the product appear on their phone’s screen. This way, their reality had been augmented.

AR doesn’t have to be purely visual. Ads with augmented reality can be interactive, allowing users to take part in the advertisement. Users can participate in games made with AR tech, such as scavenger hunt games similar to the popular game Pokémon GO where people find digital characters in their physical vicinity. This can be a way for brands to connect with their customers on a more personal level, rather than simply talking to them in non-interactive media.

AR can be used in advertising in numerous ways. Here are just a few:

  • Games
  • Contests
  • AR video ads
  • Virtual try-on
  • Augmented print ads
  • Interactive public ads
  • 3D product showcases
  • Virtual walk-through

With the right marketing partners, brands and advertisers can come up with new and exciting ways to interact with customers and give them digital experiences they won’t forget.

The following sections more thoroughly explore some of the many benefits of using AR in advertising campaigns. Read on to see how you can use augmented reality in advertising, learning about examples of AR campaigns, some of the challenges of using AR, and the future of AR in advertising.

Helps Improve Customer Engagement With an Immersive Experience

AR allows advertisers to interact with potential customers, promoting brand engagement. One example of such an immersive experience (which ads in the form of text, images, or even video cannot possibly match) would be an AR real estate ad. People looking to rent or buy their next home want to be able to not only see what a real estate listing has to offer but to experience it. Thanks to AR, people can walk through their potential new home and feel what it is like to be there.

The ability to do virtual walk-through was especially beneficial during the COVID-19 pandemic, when in-person was not always possible due to health concerns or lockdowns. These immersive experiences allow the type of customer engagement that isn’t possible with other types of advertising. They allow customers to not only see products and places such as real estate but to immerse themselves in them, which can give them a better idea of what the product looks and feels like.

Establishes a Deeper Emotional Connection With Customers

The engagement that users experience with AR ads can lead to a more personal and emotional connection with a brand. In 2019, for instance, Burger King launched an AR ad campaign called “Burn That Ad,” which encouraged users to use their phones to view a competitor’s ad and watch the ad visually burn to reveal a free Whopper. This resulted in 400,000 ads “burned” and a 54.1% increase in in-app purchases.

The Burger King AR campaign is an example of brands having a fun promotion with their customers, who may feel more connected to their favorite restaurant by figuratively burning the competition. Brands that engage with their customers in this way and others may enjoy increased brand loyalty and higher customer satisfaction.

Sends Potential Customers to Your Social Media Channels

Brands can use AR ads as a way to generate buzz for a product or the brand itself. This can encourage consumers to share their AR experiences on social media. A successful ad campaign can drive traffic to the brand’s social media by encouraging the use of hashtags or links to social media pages.

Once users have started interacting with an AR ad campaign, you can send them to various other places besides social media channels. While interacting with the ad, users can get the opportunity to click on menus, see products, make purchases, or continue to landing pages, sales pages, or a brand’s website.

Helps Improve the Customer Experience With Virtual Try-Ons

One way to improve a customer’s shopping experience is by letting them choose the exact product they want: i.e., one that will look good on them once they get it and can put it on and also one that they won’t regret purchasing.

By letting a customer virtually try on a product such as a piece of clothing, jewelry, or cosmetics, you are assuring them that they can choose the product that looks best on them or fits best. This can reduce returns and improve customer satisfaction. Similar to a real estate walk-through, virtual try-ons let the customer experience the product in a way that simply looking at a non-personalized visual ad cannot offer.

Recently, AUDIENCEX announced our new partnership with Geenee AR, specializing in advanced virtual try-on and augmented reality ads using WebAR technology that doesn’t require any additional software or specialized hardware.

Reaches Younger Target Audiences

Generation Z is becoming a valuable target audience for brands and marketers. However, brands may have to use different ways to connect with the younger generations. Younger consumers may be more accustomed to digital experiences than older consumers, having grown up with the internet, social media, and mobile devices.

This can mean that younger users may feel more at home in AR digital experiences. Brands that target younger audiences could succeed with ad campaigns that incorporate AR in the form of games and other entertaining and informative AR ads.

Leads to Higher Conversion Rates

Thanks to some of the benefits listed above, AR ads can lead to higher conversion rates in marketing campaigns. Consumers in stores can use AR to obtain detailed product information that employees may not be able to provide. AR can also slow down traffic in stores, which can lead to higher interest in the products and higher conversion rates.

Customer interactions within the AR campaign can also be tracked, leading to valuable insights into what customers interacted with the most and which products led to higher customer engagement. The data used to analyze these interactions can help marketers adjust future campaigns for maximum effect to increase sales and revenue for the brand.

Increases Sales and Overall Revenue

By introducing AR to customers through the various methods and examples in this article and by trying new AR experiments, brands can see their sales and overall revenue increase.

AR campaigns can create buzz for brands, increasing brand awareness. Social media users can even share their AR experiences with their friends and social media connections, generating word-of-mouth advertising and further spreading awareness of the AR ad campaign and the product being advertised.

AR can also help brands connect with customers on a deeper emotional level and improve the customer experience, as seen in the above examples. This can lead to higher brand loyalty and additional sales.

Allows Customers To See How Products Will Look in Their Everyday Life

Allowing customers to try on clothes before they purchase them can reduce returns. Otherwise, a customer might purchase something just to try it on, potentially purchasing multiple items but only keeping the correct fit. If an item doesn’t fit, they will return the item and will need to be refunded. These returns eat up time and money, so reducing them can save costs, cut down on waste, and increase productivity.

Allowing someone to virtually inspect a product can reduce returns. Customers can browse products and see how they will look in their world without having to purchase the products.

Another example of this is paint colors for interior walls, which can be seen virtually by holding up a phone to look through the camera at a wall. With the power of AR technology, the walls can change on the screen so the user can see how the color will look in a real room. The same experience is possible with other products like artwork, furniture, and room design elements. 

What Are the Challenges of AR in Advertising?

Though there are many pros associated with AR advertising, there can be cons, as well. For instance:

  • AR campaigns can be expensive and can eat up a large part of an overall campaign’s budget.
  • As AR ads are used by more brands, it may become tougher for brands to stand out.
  • Some users may not want to download apps or use devices required to experience AR. WebAR solutions, like those offered by AUDIENCEX through our partnership with Geenee AR, help overcome this obstacle.

To overcome these challenges, advertisers can work with advertising experts that can help form strategies to beat the competition, capture attention, and motivate consumers to engage with the brand. This can lead to higher-performing ads and higher conversion rates.

As with any other type of marketing, brands need to stand out among the crowd to attract their user base and customers. To do so, brands should consider partnering with experts such as AUDIENCEX to help mastermind their next great advertising campaigns.

Utilize Augmented Reality Experiences in Your Digital Marketing Campaign

Augmented reality can transform advertising, which typically relies on a user merely seeing and hearing an ad, into a more immersive experience for the user where they see the advertisement on top of their local environment. These engaging experiences can allow users to connect to brands on a more personal level and interact with them, leading to higher customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and (ultimately) higher sales.

To recap, digital marketing campaigns can include:

  • Virtual reality apps
  • Augmented reality games
  • AR in social advertising
  • Virtual try-on for accessories and clothing
  • Virtual treasure hunts around town
  • Virtual testing for paint colors on a user’s wall
  • Virtual testing for framed art on a user’s wall
  • Virtual real estate walk-throughs
  • Virtual placement of furniture
  • Extra AR product information

The examples above are not exhaustive, and represent just a few ways advertisers can use augmented reality ads to enhance real life for their users and customers, creating engaging experiences that will provide fun, information, and a stronger emotional connection between brands and users, leading to higher conversion rates and sales. This makes the advantages of augmented reality in advertising clear for brands and marketers, making AR a strong choice to include in campaigns.

AUDIENCEX is built to be an adaptable partner to help brands and agencies navigate the digital landscape, leverage new technology, and implement innovative campaign and creative strategies including the implementation of AR advertising. Our innovative tech and partnerships are backed by seamless media access, AI-powered predictive data, expert strategy and award-winning creative, enabling us to deploy impactful, engaging campaigns that drive performance throughout the entire marketing funnel, across every channel and every screen.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you successfully integrate AR creative into your campaigns and achieve higher, more meaningful engagement, feel free to reach out today. Our strategists would love to connect and discuss your needs and goals and explore how we can help you achieve them.