You Can’t Spell Marketing Without AR

 

Q&A with Facebook’s Chris Barbour, Head of AR Camera Partnerships

Whether it’s trying on pair glasses or a pair of sneakers by just using your phone’s camera or viewing through your iPad how a piece of furniture would look like in your living room before buying it, augmented reality is becoming an important part of a brand’s marketing strategy. As we begin to close out a decade and look toward the 2020s and beyond, it’s no surprise that AR is an important part of most tech and mobile companies’ future roadmaps.

I recently got a chance to chat with Chris Barbour, Head of Augmented Reality (AR) Camera Partnerships at Facebook about how augmented reality is impacting marketing, how our phone’s cameras are giving brands a new way to reach audiences, and how Facebook’s Spark AR tool can help brands and creators incorporate AR into their marketing mix.

 

1) What advice do you give to brands who haven’t started incorporating AR into their marketing strategy? Why?

Chris Barbour: We believe AR is playing an increasingly important role in the marketing mix, and that every brand can benefit from crafting and shaping a point of view for where AR fits in its marketing strategy.

Today, AR projects are already helping a variety of brands communicate and connect more effectively with their audiences, and in this process, influencing attitudes and behaviors throughout the marketing funnel. Whether brands are looking to drive more awareness with an entertaining effect or a sale with a virtual trial experience, AR activations can align well to multiple marketing objectives.

Like any emerging medium, it’s easy to dive in and use AR for novelty, but our advice is to avoid this temptation. Allowing for test and learn projects is fine, but we think brands starting out with AR should apply the same rigor and logic to AR as to any other marketing medium.

First, a brand should clearly define its marketing objectives and the value AR experiences can create for its audiences. Second, focus on storytelling and how AR can elevate or otherwise bring new dimension, perspective or nuance to any story. And finally, focus on the AR creative and how it helps convey emotion and immersion with each AR experience.

2) What are some examples of how Facebook has successfully leveraged AR with partners to help them amplify their marketing?

CB: Facebook is working with multiple partners to help them leverage AR effectively across both paid and organic marketing campaigns.

For example, Nike participated in the Messenger AR beta and sold out of its exclusive “Kyrie 4” shoes in less than an hour. To see the special offer, users had to enter a series of emojis into a Facebook Messenger-chat message, obtained from Nike’s social influencers. Thereafter, they could unlock a Kyrie 4 “red carpet” AR experience with the special offer.

Just Eats launched a marketing campaign during the World Cup that awarded users who downloaded the app with collectible plates featuring illustrations of food. The effect garnered 102K unique impressions — 10% of which went on to place an order on the app within seven days of using the effect. Nearly 75% of the effect’s reach was organic, some of which came from influencers using and sharing the effect, like celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott.

In short, we have seen success with brands across the gamut, ranging from entertainment (Justice League, Jurassic World) to product try-on (Sephora, Marc Jacobs). These examples were effective because they were focused on awareness and brand building or easing the path to purchase, two marketing objectives that AR has proven impactful.

 

3) What do you foresee being the future of Social AR and AR Commerce?

CB: As technology continues to evolve, access to AR experiences will no longer be dependent on smartphones. With the evolution of wearable products, we see a future where personal and contextual information can be directly offered to people as they move through their day.

This provides the opportunity for more meaningful integrations of a person’s social graph offline. Promoting in-person interaction and engagement with friends, family, and those that share similar interests. For example, you’re walking home and get a notification on your eyeglasses that a foodie group you’re interested in is having a meetup just a few blocks away, along with step-by-step walking directions for how to get there.

Additionally, we anticipate commerce becoming more convenient as more context from your day to day life is pulled into ease the purchase journey. For instance, you see someone walking by with shoes you like. In that moment, you receive a prompt that there is a sale on that same shoe at a store a block away. And then you’re given the option to purchase your size now with the option to pick up later or have them shipped to your home.

While we are excited to see AR continue to evolve into a more powerful tool in the toolbox, it’s important to note that we do not anticipate it will eclipse other channels for marketing anytime soon.

4) What are some of the key principles and techniques to maximize a brands impact on the Spark AR platform?

CB: While there are a multitude of ways for a brand to optimize its AR activations, here’s some initial guidance we can share, based on the success we’ve seen with the Spark AR platform:

1. AR ideas should be single-minded and focused on accomplishing one objective. Brands should focus on the use cases that drive the most value in AR. Identify what AR can offer that’s not possible with other channels, and then build the AR effects or experiences that accomplish that singular purpose.

2. Give agency. Make people the focus and give them control. Brands should be creating an opportunity for people to tell their own unique stories using the AR effects they’ve created. Keep in mind the person is the main character not the brand.

3. Make it social. Give people a reason to share or use it to connect with each other. If done correctly, people using AR will feel compelled to share their experience with the effect and encourage others to tell their own stories and do the same.

4. Use natural gesture. Keep it simple and keep the effort to a minimum. The more familiar people are with how to engage with a brand effect the more likely they will be to use it. Natural gestures are inherently intuitive and reduce the need to educate people prior to use.

5. Design for immersion. Use light, shadow and shading to make effects feel real. The more realistic the effect looks and feels, the less gimmicky it’s perceived. This is especially true with virtual trials. The more realistic the product, the more meaningful the experience.

6. Keep UI in mind. Design around the in-camera UI and the ‘Stories’ UI for when people share. Keep in mind that the Spark AR platform distributes AR effects and experience via Facebook and Instagram. By leveraging UI that is complementary to the discovery points in the app (i.e., Camera, Stories, Posts, etc.) brands can capitalize on existing consumer behavior. Thereby making it easier for people to use and share their experiences.

Chris’ answers should help marketers better understand why AR and camera marketing will not only revolutionize content and commerce but will be one of the technologies that will thrive in a new decade.

At the end of the day, you can’t spell marketing without AR.

 

Link to Original Story

 

 

Top 5 Reason Your Website Needs Augmented Reality

As competition continues to grow, it’s become more important
than ever for companies to make the most of their websites.

Often times, it’s the first – maybe the only
impression they’ll make on a prospect.

While there are countless features a website can include, augmented reality (AR) has
quickly emerged as one of the most important.

5 Reasons to Add Augmented Reality to Your Website Right Away

Not too long ago, most people had never experienced AR, or maybe
even heard of it.

Now, it’s become the difference between an outdated website
and the kind that attracts, keeps, and converts traffic.

Here are the five reasons AR has become such a powerful
feature.

1. Innovation Drives Interest

Even with all of the amazing things augmented reality can do
for your company, it’s still true that one of its most attractive features is
simply novelty.

In the future – the very
near future – it will most likely become as common as videos and animation
on the Internet. For now, though, AR remains new, fun, and exciting.

For example, Warner Brothers recently
invested in augmented reality
to supercharge the traditional movie poster
with something that was a lot more
fun. All theatergoers had to do was run their phones over specifically-designed
posters for Ready Player One and they
were treated to an AR experience right in the palm of their hands. This was the
first
example of Facebook AR targeting
, but it most likely won’t be the last.

By themselves, movie posters are static and, most would
probably agree, pretty boring. AR made them exciting and something worth
stopping to interact with – that’s a powerful improvement.

2. Anyone Can Experience
Augmented Reality (No App Required)

Since its inception, much of augmented reality’s potential
has been hindered by the need for an accompanying app. Worse, each unique augmented reality
experienced needed its own app in order to function. That’s like needing a
different app for every person you want to call.

Despite that, many companies – including big names like Patrón Tequila and McDonald’s
– have experienced a lot of success by creating their own apps.

Nonetheless, most businesses would probably prefer to forego
the budgetary requirements of creating and
marketing their own app, especially as their
popularity continues to die
.

Fortunately, it’s no longer necessary. AR without the use of an app may be the future for eCommerce.

Google recently introduced “the immersive web”, which promises to make AR available simply through browsers. Along with Chrome, Safari is promising to make this experience available to anyone using their AR Quick Look.

So, while some companies may still continue to develop their own unique apps, it’s far from necessary anymore. Every organization with a website can now offer their visitors the value of an AR experience.

3. AR Has Become Extremely Affordable 

Similarly, utilizing augmented reality used to mean that a
company first had to clear a lot of
room in their budgets. There’s a reason why it was the kind of experience that
only household names were deploying.

Now, it’s more affordable than ever. Many companies saw the
writing on the wall when Apple
introduced their ARKit
. Obviously, Apple has a reputation as a trailblazer.
Their many, many accomplishments
include not just the popularization of smartphones and tablets but also
production practices and interface-development that made this technology
approachable and user-friendly.

Apple isn’t the only company betting on the increasing
demand for augmented reality, either. Their familiar rival, Google, also
understands this growing expectation. Aside from immersive web, Google introduced their own development tool, ARCore, to ensure that every
company can add an AR component to their websites.

4. Search Results Will Be Influenced by AR

Every company wants a website that can passively attract
traffic, an SEO powerhouse that ensures they won’t have to spend so much on
generating leads.

While there are many ways to gain this kind of attention, expect augmented reality to affect SEO in the very near future.

For one thing, if Google is invested in it, it’s probably
going to matter. You only need to look at Google’s acquisition of YouTube and
how vital videos have become for climbing the ranks ever since. Now that Google
believes AR is the future of customer experiences, you can bet it’s going to
favor companies that feel the same way.

Secondly, as AR continues to grow in popularity, more people
will turn to search engines to find these kinds of experiences. Again, this is
similar to what we’ve seen with videos. As online videos found more and more
viewers, search engines began recognizing that, often, that media deserved to
be at the top of their results.

Third, augmented reality is going to transform local SEO
like nothing before it. As one article put it, “Augmented
Reality Will Put Local SEO on Steroids
.” The technology that many were
introduced to by Fortune 500 companies is going to be just as common among
mom-and-pop shops and other small businesses.

As just one example of things to come, Yelp
has already experimented with how AR can turn local landscapes into interactive
experiences.

5. AR Can Drive Conversions

Finally – but perhaps most importantly – AR can drive
conversions.

That’s why Shopify
recently invested in AR
. It’s also yet another sign of how affordable this
technology has become, given that the vast majority of Shopify’s customers are
small businesses. They can now join the much larger companies that have been using
AR to improve conversions
for years now.

Even massive businesses like Nike have realized how much they have to gain by leveraging augmented reality. Nike’s SNKRS has given them a brand-new opportunity to engage with their most discerning customers, “sneakerheads” who may otherwise take their business elsewhere.  

Small business like VacuumCleanerMarket.com have also gotten involved in leveraging AR to increase conversion.

The company is seeing very positive early results from integration of its web enabled AR with just one product. These results include:

  • The first ARitized product on site generated 1 months worth of sales  ($5,000) in just 1 week.
  • Overall dwell time on page for the ARitized product increased 30% over a 4 week span.
  • Before AR the average visitor to that product page was worth around $20. After the integration of the NexTech AR eCommerce solution the value per visitor jumped all the way to $43.06.

Over the next few weeks NexTech AR will be launching 10 more AR products onto the site.

Empower Your Company’s Website with Augmented Reality

The last reason that now is the best time to add an AR
component to your website is that our
company is here to help.

At NexTech AR, we’ve brought together a team with decades of
combined experience in this unique field and have already had success helping
companies of all sizes across several different markets.

If you’d like to discuss how augmented reality could become
your business’ secret weapon, please contact us today.

How Augmented Reality Increases Conversion Rates

Modern companies have more options for improving their bottom line than at any other time in history.

Just the number that have debuted in the past 20 years is staggering.

That trend doesn’t show any signs of reversing, either.

With the introduction of augmented reality (AR), companies aren’t getting just another conversion tool. Instead, AR represents the potential for completely brand-new ways to engage prospects and turn them into customers.

6 Ways Augmented Reality Increases Conversion Rates

Deloitte identified that almost 90 percent of companies with annual revenues of $100 million to $1 billion are now leveraging AR or VR technology. For smaller firms, a poll conducted by Purch revealed that 10 percent of marketers utilize AR, and 72 percent are planning to in the coming year.

There are countless ways your company could utilize AR to start increasing sales, even setting new conversion records.

This might seem like a tall claim, but once you understand
the six main reasons augmented reality converts customers, you should have no
problem imagining how it could do so for your unique business.

1. Using Novelty to Drive Traffic

Without a doubt, one of the biggest reasons fueling the success of augmented reality is simply that it’s a novelty. For the time being, most people have never experienced AR and the the people who have, especially millennials, seem to really enjoy it.

In other words, AR is enough – in and of itself – to draw traffic to your site or attention to your brands.

Foot Locker’s AR scavenger hunt and mobile pop-up shops are part of the retailer’s strategy to engage mobile customers, especially younger shoppers who are more comfortable using their smartphones to discover products and make purchases.

The mobile-first strategy comes as Foot Locker, like other retailers, has scaled back its presence in shopping malls amid a shift toward online shopping. 

Nike and Foot Locker  aren’t the only big brands running towards AR. Unilever, Universal Pictures and Verizon ran similar AR treasure hunts to promote their products in recent years.

2. Slowing Down That In Store Traffic

For retail companies with physical presences, the Holy Grail of KPIs (second only to actual conversions) is dwelltime. The longer people spend in a store, the more they tend to spend at a store. Augmented reality is perfect for this KPI. By its very nature, it forces shoppers to stop what they’re doing in order to engage with it.

There are several ways to increase dwell time, but the easiest seems to be simply slowing down shoppers. Provided you’re not inconveniencing them, decelerating customers’ journeys throughout your location will inevitably lead to more conversions.

Augmented reality is perfect for this KPI. By its very nature, it forces shoppers to stop what they’re doing in order to engage with it. Unless you think an AR display will chase people away, using this technology to increase your store’s dwell time is a no-brainer.

3. Providing Critical Information That Employees Can’t

58%of consumers use their smartphones while inside of stores to research the products right in front of them.

If you’re not among them, this might come as a bit of a
surprise. Why don’t these consumers just interact with the products while
they’re in the store? Why don’t they simply ask employees if they have any
questions and get their answers right away?

The main reason is because employees can’t answer one of the most important questions customers have: “What did other customers think after purchasing this product?”

At least, their answers can’t possibly compare to those provided by online reviews.

While many retailers may see online reviews as a threat, AmericanApparel created an AR app to make them much more accessible. Their app allows consumers to scan products and immediately see how many are in stock, what colors they come in, and reviews from other customers.

The result? Shoppers find it much easier to make purchasing decisions with the help of AR.

4. Leveraging the Power of Social Media

‘”Differentiating your brand among thousands of competitors is never easy. NexTech AR delivered exactly what we needed to tell our story and get party and conference attendees to not only engage with our brand but talk about us to others.” Pranav Sood, CEO Trellis

Our clients at Trellis are among the early adopters of augmented reality. They were also one of the first companies cannabis companies to realize what a powerful combination AR and social media was. During MJ Biz Con we partnered with Trellis, so executives could be exposed to their social promotional video via AR.

From an outcome perspective, building experiences that translate into shareable moments is exactly what Trellis wanted. Conference attendees would see the Tesla on the showroom floor, stop at the booth, talk to Trellis employees and engage with the brand. Not surprisingly, many of the executives shared this content with’ friends  and colleagues via social media.

 

5. Allowing Users to Try Before They Buy

Similarly, augmented reality allows customers to “try before they buy.”

This doesn’t just apply to clothes, either. On VacuumCleanerMarket.com  Shoppers could use our AR eCommerce tool to see what their home would look like with various items from the websites inventory.

Magnolia
Market
and other furniture companies have been quick to follow suit. When
you consider the size of the purchase – both literally and in terms of cost –
it makes sense that shoppers are more likely to buy only after they get to see
what the pieces will look like in their homes.

6. Creating Instore Environments Through AR

What if you could bring your entire store right to your customer?

Not just making your entire inventory available through your webstore, but you could actually give customers the entire experience ofvisiting your physical stores?

Yihaodian, a Chinese grocery store, accomplished this by creating virtual stores,accessible across 1,000 different ARlocations. Customers could shop in AR, make their purchases, and then receive their groceries via delivery.  

More “locations” led to more sales.

Augmented Reality Will Soon Be the Only
Way to Convert

That might be a bit of an exaggeration.

However, it is probably fair to say that companies that
ignore the potential of augmented reality do so at their own risk.

Imagine two companies selling similar products. One has a
website and physical stores. The other has a website, physical stores, and AR technology capable of one or more
of the benefits listed above.

Which company do you think is going to be more successful?

How long do you think it will be before that company puts
the other out of business?

Today’s advantage is tomorrow’s insurmountable competitive
edge.

Want to start wielding it before any of your competitors do?

At NexTech AR Solutions Corp., we’ve pioneered a fast and
affordable process that makes augmented reality an option for every company.

Contact us today and let’s talk about how our technology can drive more conversions for your business.

How to Create a Successful Augmented Reality Experience in 7 Steps

Over the last decade, augmented reality (AR) has grown from
a relatively niche form of technology
used only by companies in equally niche industries to the darling of household
names like Nike, Adidas, L’Oreal, MTV, Patron Tequila, and the New York Times,
among many, many others.

Of course, your company may be putting off the next step in
their marketing evolution because the technology
seems complicated.

That’s understandable.

Fortunately, launching a successful augmented reality
campaign is probably much easier than you think.

7 Steps to a Successful Augmented Reality Experience

Although the final outcome for an augmented reality campaign will be as unique as your company’s goals, there are still seven steps every business should take in order to successfully hit their target with an exciting experience.

1. Flow

The first step to success
with augmented reality
is to get the “flow” right. To put it simply, this
refers to every action the user will need to take to get from the beginning to
the end of the experience.  

This seemingly simple concept could entail any of the
following:

  • Branding
  • Customer Expectations
  • Enhanced Situations
  • Physical Environments
  • Places
  • Tasks

It may help to think of the flow as a type of abbreviated customer
journey
that is contained within the entire augmented reality experience.

What needs to happen in order for your customer to have the
desired experience starting from the moment they begin interacting with the
technology?

2. Intro

Per the name, this step is where customers get introduced to
your AR experience’s flow.

Like any good story, an augmented reality campaign needs a
beginning, an Act I, where the audience (your user) is introduced to this new
world.

With AR, it’s important that this transition is smooth and
deliberate. Video games actually provide
a fairly helpful template for this step because, in order to play the game,
players first need to understand the rules and controls. The same is true for
AR. Before your customer can enjoy it, they need to know how.

An effective AR experience must also make a good first
impression. From the very beginning, people should be excited about what comes
next.

3. Genre

The purpose of your augmented reality campaign will define
its genre. Are you hoping to:

  • Educate?
  • Entertain?
  • Create?

A combination of the three? Something else?

An example of crossing genres might be L’Oreal’s
Modiface
, which allows users to see what they would look like with the
famous cosmetic company’s products applied.

Is it entertaining?

Definitely.

But it also helps educate
prospective customers about the products L’Oreal has to offer, making for a
much easier buying decision.

Whatever the case, just like in books, movies, and video games, each genre will come with its own
expectations.

If you want to educate, you’ll need to provide customers
with information throughout the campaign.

If you want to entertain, it’s more important that your
experience plays with expectations and includes a playful interface.

Still, there is also plenty of room for creativity with your
genres, too.

4. Plot

For an augmented reality campaign, the plot is all about how
a customer can be led to make a purchase.

Just like any good plot, it will unfold over time, whether over
2 minutes or 20.

Keep in mind that the entire
plot – or the flow, for that matter – doesn’t need to happen exclusively withinaugmented reality.

Adidas’
recent AR campaign
was a huge success and a good example of this. Customers
used their phones to reach milestones in physical space before being introduced
to the augmented reality experience Adidas had created for them (“interacting”
with the shoes they wanted).

5. Vignette

The vignette of your augmented
reality strategy
establishes its mood and will affect the entire flow, from
beginning to end. Your campaign’s vignette could be fun, but it could also be
straightforward and to-the-point. It depends on what your customers want from
their experience.

Vignettes also decide if that experience will be active or
passive. The former means they’ll engage with the reality, whereas a passive
experience is one where they simply watch what unfolds.

6. Outro

Once your customer has successfully gone through your
company’s augmented reality campaign, it’s time to return them to the real
world. Just as with the intro, this exit from AR should be equally seamless and
smooth.

If there are other steps (literally or figuratively) you
want your customer to take afterward, now’s the time to tell them. For example,
in the aforementioned Adidas campaign, the company’s AR app told customers
where they needed to go to pick up the shoes they had just ordered.

7. User-Acceptance Testing

Finally, no AR campaign should be launched without
sufficient user
acceptance testing (UAT)
first. This process will check for any problems
that need to be corrected before customers are given access to the campaign.

User Acceptance Testing (UAT) means testing your augmented experience
by the user/client to determine whether it can be accepted or not. Better to
catch them now than to learn about them after the campaign has gone live – a
costly predicament.

This means having developers and functional testers validate the software being used against the functional expectations of the AR experience.

Business requirements need to be tested, as well. The importance of testing the experience and campaign with potential end users can not be stressed enough. An AR campaign could perfectly meet the functional expectations desired but completely miss the business requirements and processes the end users wanted.

Whenever possible, this last step takes place in a
conference room where everyone involved – project managers, marketing team
representatives, users, developers, etc. – sits together for a day or two and
walks through the entire campaign.

An Even Easier Path to Augmented
Reality

Hopefully, augmented
reality now seems a lot more approachable. Your company could be just seven
steps away from leveraging this powerful technology to market, engage, and sell
your audience.

Of course, if you’d like help, NexTech AR Solutions can
handle the entire process on your
behalf. Our team has decades of combined experience working with this exciting
technology for companies across a number of different industries.

Whether you’re ready to launch an AR campaign or simply need information about providing the best AR solution for your company, just contact us today and we’ll be here to guide you.