Remember Pokemon Go? As a viral gaming trend, augmented reality grabbed a lot of attention a few years ago. Now companies are figuring out how it can help them, too. That's no surprise; brand awareness and interaction can be achieved easily and playfully.
There was a time when simple 3D graphics frequently caused open mouths and gave gamers the feeling of »diving into another world«. Thanks to XR technology, the idea of creating an alternate reality has become even more accessible. But the desire for this is not only maturing in the gaming world: More and more companies are discovering the possibilities offered by XR. Virtual realities allow a completely different approach to products and brands that leaves a lasting impression. This article shows you how it works.
In our article on AR and e-commerce, we already took a look at how companies are using augmented reality to make products experiential – for example, by allowing furniture pieces to be virtually placed directly in the desired location in the room. Such tryouts are well suited for virtually trying on or trying out products away from stores, for example before placing an order in an online store. In addition, there are indications that AR is suitable independently of online stores to strengthen the relationship to a product or brand.
A study from Harvard Business Review suggests that an AR experience can have positive effects on brand loyalty. The specific case involved lipsticks that could be tried out virtually in a store via an AR interface. The study came to the conclusion that those customers who had tried out the AR technology tried out almost twice as many products. It's easy to understand why: Especially on the go, many people don't have the time for an extensive test of the entire product range, but still want to make the best-informed purchase decision. If the whole thing can be done with a few swipes in a few minutes, people try more and for longer.
According to the study, AR can increase brand engagement. Through the playful and low-threshold access, people spend more time with the brand, have fun with it, and consequently memorize it better. These effects can be observed across all applications – whether it's a fun filter or a solution to a practical problem, such as in the lipstick example above.
Another good example of brand engagement with XR is Monkey XR's collaboration with Sky Sport Formula 1. The campaign was extremely successful: at the end of the racing season, more than 2 million fans used the AR filters, shared them on social media, and helped the brands gain more exposure. The example shows: Gamification can also result in a viral effect that has a positive impact on the brand - even if the practical benefits do not play the central role.
XR presents a particular opportunity for small or young businesses that wish to stand out from their competitors. XR experiences are still quite new to many people and are more memorable for that very reason. This is especially relevant to our ad-saturated world. Many customers see hundreds of ads in their feeds every day, and few of them are remembered.
A new format is better remembered, especially since XR applications are not passively consumed, but actively used. Industry experts believe that the memorability of XR formats increases by up to 70 percent compared to traditional advertising. In addition, customers spend up to four times longer with the applications.
One of the bigger hurdles to implementing XR into the marketing mix has been that many applications required a separate app. WebAR, on the other hand, lets you use it right inside the browser. This means the technology can be integrated easily at a wide range of marketing touchpoints: on print and out-of-home media, on packaging, in social media, in online or offline stores, and lots more.
XR can enhance experiences at a place, with a product, or with an event by making them more dynamic, more varied, and more intense. A quick look at the benefits:
The preceding examples show how XR is already being used in terms of brand engagement, where it is achieving measurable success. Either as a viral phenomenon or as a practical aid: Whether XR will play an even greater role in marketing in the future is hardly the question – rather, the question is how soon it will replace many classic marketing formats.
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