The Risk and Reward balance of Augmented Reality Marketing
Your website might be ticking over nicely, your digital marketing strategy may be moving along nicely, but if there’s one that’s always true in the world of making money from the internet, it’s that change is never far away, and assistance navigating through the online marketing sea is always welcome. In 2019 one of the biggest trends, alongside chatbots, voice search, push notifications, and advance geo-location, is Augmented Reality Marketing.
What is Augmented Reality Marketing?
Augmented reality marketing is all about, as the name suggests, augmenting reality. More specifically reality as viewed through the lens of the digital camera of a smartphone. Smartphone images can be altered, shifted, and augmented in all kinds of varying ways, and many of those have been used in an advertising capacity to some extent, but 2019 will push this over the edge and up to a new level.
How does Augmented Reality Marketing work?
At its most basic level, augmented reality involves creating a way for potential customers to alter the images they create in a way linked to your brand or product. Simplistic versions of this involve things like filters that have your brand’s name, and possibly some themed characters or set dressing linked to your business to be added.
So for instance, if your business was a Hawaiian themed restaurant and bar, you might set up a instagram filter or snapchat stickers which could let those in your immediate area turn their photos into a tropical island scene. While these are mostly cartoony/wacky/zany styles, this is the technology in its infancy. As it grows, more sophistication will follow.
Why will 2019 be a big year for Augmented Reality Marketing?
First because we’re already seeing some very big names having a great deal of success with this idea, and they’re showing us how the way forward. The high-end sunglasses brand Michael Kors had a very successful showing with their Augmented Reality campaign that allowed users to take selfies and then style themselves into the new sunglasses. The Swedish self-assembly furniture brand Ikea took this one step further with their “Ikea Place” app that allowed users to design their own place using a photo, with Ikea products as the outline.
The success of these big names will only encourage more follow-ons, making this trend one that’s likely to explode any time soon. There are already widely reported plans of brands like Nivea, Starbucks and Volkswagen dipping their toes more deeply into the Augmented Reality Marketing pool.
Second, the technology is moving on leaps and bounds in other areas, which will only spill over to Augmented Reality as matters improve. The big gamechanger in the last few months has been the development of the so-called “deepfake” software models. These allow techniques of video manipulation and footage alteration that were, until recently, only within the grasp of the higher end Hollywood film studios, to now be something that the average member of the public can use in their own home. On the ‘access to resources’ graph, somewhere between ‘Skydance studios’ and ‘Joe Bloggs of flat 43’ there are large body of small to medium sized companies.
As deep fake technology, and other equipment like it, becomes more and more widely available, more and more companies will be able to make use of it to further enhance their Augmented Reality Marketing tools. The more sophisticated the tools become, the more powerful their marketing ability.
What is the big advantage of Augmented Reality Marketing?
At this point, you might be thinking that this all sounds interesting, but not a little gimmicky. But the big advantage of Augmented Reality Marketing is simply a step up further from the mainstays of social media marketing that many other platforms and technologies have been aiming for. It makes those you are advertising to into advertisers themselves.
Augmented Reality Marketing is one of the most sophisticated possible tools in terms of the sharable, word-of-mouth, authentic person-to-person kind of marketing that the internet has been getting better and better at developing. By giving people the ability to see your product or brand in situ without the expense of having to give away and ship large quantities of sample products, you turn your potential client/customer base into an extension of your marketing.
What is the risk of Augmented Reality Marketing?
Augmented Reality Marketing is not without its downsides. Companies like Tide Pods and the Netflix movie “Birdbox” have shown us in the last few years that it is very possible for a viral marketing event to get you into the media for all the wrong reasons.
With Augmented Reality Marketing, you run the risk of your product, or its likeness, becoming associated with a negative phenomenon. Possibly some kind of gratuitous, unpleasant, or otherwise unflattering meme, spawned from the depths of 4chan, or some other less than wholesome corner of the internet. By giving out the likeness of your product, and the ability to spread it far and wide, you may end up with more than you bargained for.
As with so many of these kinds of scenarios, it’s important to consult with people who know best, and if you need more information about this, or any other field of online advertising, there are a wide variety of companies and consultancies out there. Internet marketing is a complex and difficult field. But if you think you can navigate the waters of the 2019 internet, Augmented Reality Marketing might just give your business the tailwind you need.