We all know that traditional marketing has evolved significantly. Having worked in the digital marketing industry for over a decade, I've seen new media continue to develop considerably and introduce Augmented Reality (AR) marketing. It's important to know how AR marketing fits into the marketing mix, and how it can benefit your brand - With new media comes the need to learn new techniques and it's time to get on board.
AR marketing is definitely something that companies need to educate themselves on if they want to stay in the game. AR is designed to encourage customer engagement and is relevant to almost every industry, ranging from tourism, automotive, financial, lifestyle and entertainment, retail and publishing - The common factor is that each business has a "digital story" to tell, and AR is able to deliver on that through customer engagement.
AR within the marketing strategy
At Digital Narrative, we refer to AR as 'engagement marketing'. AR's primary function is engagement, and looking at international benchmarks, marketers can expect to achieve 80% engagement rates. Engagement in turn leads to conversion.
Nowadays customers live a multi-device lifestyle, with the smartphone becoming the consumer's lifestyle companion. AR marketing leverages this consumer behaviour to link your offline and online marketing activities by providing the platform, or the glue, that marries your offline world with online and encourages further customer engagement with your brand.
AR should be seen as a new channel and part of an integrated marketing mix. This approach holds value as it clearly defines the objectives and measurements for each channel you use.
Our next step is to apply Digital Marketing best practices, such as centralised tracking and reporting. A single campaign tracking platform, such as Doubleclick Campaign Manager, gives the marketer the ability to do multi-channel reporting. This approach will enable us to see AR's performance in context
to your other channels such as print advertising, digital media, search, mobile and social media.
It's crucial to apply digital marketing measurements to AR, as it is measured the same way as digital marketing campaigns. By integrating premium tracking such as Doubleclick Campaign Manager, one can measure the 'AR exposure' and the 'response' which means you are able to map where AR sits in the customer's journey and gain valuable insights into customer behaviour across your marketing channels.
As an intricate part of the marketing mix, AR has a host of engaging features, from connecting the consumer to the brand's mobile friendly website, to a lead generation form, even m-commerce. Customers can also engage with AR Video or advanced features such as 3D models or Geo Location tags.
Social media and AR marketing
AR connects seamlessly with social media, but as I mentioned before, AR needs to be included in the overall marketing mix.
As AR is still a new marketing channel, it is best practice to use your social channels to boost awareness and education surrounding the AR campaign. Use social media to show your "tribe" how easy it is to download the AR app, educate your customers on how to use it and allow them to engage with the campaign by making them aware of what's interactive.
You can allow users to share the AR experience directly from your AR execution on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram as well as allow users to join the social conversation directly from within AR, all of which is trackable.
Enter the Layar app
The Layar app provides the platform to host your brand's AR marketing campaign. It is fully customisable in the sense that you can use your company branding and even embed it within your current app.
Layar is a free download across iOS, Android and the new Blackberry's with operating system 10.2.1. Layar is also Google Glass ready. You can download Layar at http://get.layar.com
While the app uses a range of multimedia options to tell a brands' story, AR video is by far the most popular - Not only does it have a 'wow factor' for when a video clip starts playing directly on top of a printed image, it also offers the opportunity for brand engagement, much like YouTube videos.
Digital Narrative is a Layar Certified partner and we follow international best practices.
AR marketing in South Africa vs international application
Looking at Layar stats internationally, there's 40 million+ downloads worldwide. In 2013 there were 175,000 interactive pages, 79,000 AR campaigns and with 24,000 publishers using it.
Looking at South Africa, the Layar adoption rate is phenomenal. 2013 has seen a 50% growth rate and 2014 another 25% increase to date. This shows that the SA mobile consumer is ready to engage with AR.
The future of Augmented Reality marketing
The current overall trend is to produce AR content of high quality as it usually translates to better engagement with a campaign - a good AR execution has the following elements:
- It should be relevant to the target audience and attracts their attention as result.
- The campaign should be entertaining and interesting to the audience.
- It should offer an informative aspect.
- It should offer exclusive content.
- Most importantly, AR needs to be useful to the end user that's required to download the app in the first place - If the user is not presented with multiple touch points that add value for them, the risk is that your AR app will be removed with the next app spring-cleaning.
At the moment, we're still in the infancy stage of AR marketing. The AR landscape will change in the next three to five years as smartphones become cheaper, technology improves and the adoption of wearables such as Google Glass increases. What's most exciting is that the scenes we've seen in movies like Minority Report
will become a reality very soon - and it's all a form of AR in some way.