Will Augmented Reality add a new dimension to marketing?
Augmented Realty is the buzzword on many marketeers’ lips. The mobile and video game market has been driving its rapid development in 2017 and it now presents numerous possibilities for broadening the customer experience.
For the uninitiated, augmented reality, or AR, is an emerging technology that expands the physical environment by layering ono it text, graphics, sound or aromas that enhance what we see, hear, feel and smell. This is in contrast to virtual reality, another game changing technology, which creates immersive, computer-generated environments. For AR, think Pokemon Go, its biggest success to date, and a game which has gripped adults and children alike.
Mostly AR has to be perceived through the ‘lens’ of a mobile phone app, which facilitates the layering of 3d graphics onto the scene or image in front of it. Brands have begun to exploit its potential and the big players of social media have also been quick to spot the opportunities.
Recently platforms such as Snapchat and Facebook announced new AR features. Snapchat has launched a simplified AR experience called lenses, which allow users to augment selfies with images. These images can be sponsored by brands – a Cinco de Mayo lens sponsored by Taco Bell recently got 224 million views. This has led Suntrust analyst Robert Peck to write an investor’s note saying; “We think that Snapchat is evolving beyond ‘just another social media platform’ and could be headed to be the first ‘social augmented reality platform’.
Facebook has also released a new feature that blurs the boundary between AR and VR. It’s called “spaces” and allows users to create 3D avatars for Facebook video calls and shared environments using the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift.