Augmented reality (AR) is rapidly gaining traction. Currently, over 30% of smartphone users engage with AR at least once a month, and it’s estimated that there will be 120 million users by 2021. As it continues to grow, there are many opportunities to take advantage of AR to create interactive experiences and engage with consumers on a deeper level. Below are five things that every marketer should know before diving into the world of AR.
1. AR and VR are two different technologies.
Augmented reality and virtual reality are phrases sometimes used interchangeably, but they actually are two very different technologies. While AR imposes a computer-generated image or model on a user’s view of the real world using a cell phone or device camera, VR requires a headset to fully immerse a person into a different setting, shutting out the physical world.
2. Gaming isn’t the only use for AR.
With popular apps like Pokemon Go, it’s easy to think of gaming as the primary use for AR. However, there are many other marketing use cases. ECommerce is rising as a popular use for AR, allowing users to virtually try on products like clothing or makeup, or envision a product in a real-life setting. Other uses include education, using 3D models for an engaging way to teach concepts and make them come to life, and wayfinding, placing trackers on objects to provide real-time maps or directions through a device.
3. Creation is different for each platform.
AR experiences are possible on Facebook, Snapchat, apps and a variety of other platforms–but that doesn’t mean that you can design one experience for all of them. The creation process varies from platform to platform, and the experiences should be optimized for the best experience, as well as tested to ensure that all capabilities are correctly functioning.
4. Know the language.
There are terms that are unique to AR experiences that you must understand as a marketer. Two key terms to start with: Tracking is when a computer anchors content to a fixed point, allowing users to walk and/or look around, and a target (also known as a trigger or marker) is the image that’s recognized that launches the AR experience (for example, facial features that launch a Snapchat lens).
5. Web-based AR is coming
Currently, AR is available through social platforms and apps, but experiences in a web browser are rolling out slowly. Mixed reality browsers are still in beta currently, but browsers like Firefox and Chrome are in the process of creating options that work on AR/VR headsets or on mobile devices. This will be a prime opportunity for brands to create their own exclusive experiences on their owned spaces, like their website.
AR isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so keep your eyes open for opportunities to utilize this technology to engage your audiences.
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