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5 ways to prepare your firm to boost ROI with AR marketing

Most people have heard of AR whether it’s through filters or WebAR activations that are increasingly in the public eye. What most people don’t know is how to effectively leverage AR for marketing in ways that actually drive increases to revenue and significant improvements in core marketing KPIs. In this comprehensive blog post, we delve into 5 key ways to prepare your firm to boost cross-channel ROI with AR Marketing. As a digital marketer seeking to stay ahead of the curve, you’ll discover practical, innovative, and compelling methods to harness the power of AR to elevate your brand. Each section is meticulously crafted to guide you through the essential steps to successfully integrate AR into your marketing campaigns. Let’s embark on this immersive journey to unlock the full potential of AR marketing and witness firsthand how it can transform your business outcomes.

Understanding AR Marketing

The Power and Potential of Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is reshaping how consumers interact with brands. AR allows for a blend of digital and physical worlds, creating immersive experiences that can captivate users and leave a lasting impression. For marketing, the implications are vast. With AR, product demonstrations become more interactive, allowing potential customers to visualize products in their own space before making a purchase. This level of engagement can lead to increased customer satisfaction and higher conversion rates.

Moreover, AR for marketing offers personalized experiences. Users can try on clothes virtually or see how furniture looks in their home with just a smartphone. This not only enhances the user experience but also encourages sharing on social media, multiplying the reach of campaigns. By leveraging AR, firms can create unique value propositions and stand out in a crowded market, driving both brand loyalty and ROI.

Laying the Groundwork for AR in Your Firm

Training Your Team on what AR Marketing Can Do

Before integrating AR into your marketing efforts, it’s crucial to ensure your team understands its capabilities and potential impact. Start by providing examples of successful AR campaigns, showcasing how they have enhanced user engagement and driven sales. Training should also cover the assets you’ll need, key stakeholders, partners (influencers, API integrations) and technical aspects, helping team members comprehend how AR works and what their role will be in helping to bring the experience to life.

While in many cases, the agency you partner with will come up with concepts that mesh your business goals with a creative immersive approach, you should also encourage your team to think creatively about how AR can be applied to your specific products or services. Guided workshops or brainstorming sessions can be valuable for generating ideas. It’s also important to train your team on how to measure the effectiveness of AR campaigns, as this will be key in demonstrating ROI. Typical KPIs include engagement, conversion to CRM, conversion to purchase and social sharing. An informed and enthusiastic team is your best asset when it comes to implementing innovative marketing strategies like AR.

Finding the Right Agency Partners

Selecting an agency that aligns with your AR marketing vision is a pivotal step. Look for partners with a track record of innovative AR solutions in your industry and a deep understanding of how AR can enhance customer experiences. Make sure that they’ve both deployed and managed AR activations that have delivered tangible results. It’s essential they grasp your brand’s voice and can translate it into AR experiences that resonate with your target audience.

Evaluate potential partners based on their previous work, client testimonials, and their ability to keep up with AR’s rapid technological advances. The right agency should not only be a service provider but a collaborator that is invested in your success. In your search, prioritize agencies that are eager to understand your specific challenges and objectives. They should be able to provide insights into how AR for marketing can address these areas and help differentiate your brand in the marketplace.

Incorporating AR into Your Marketing Strategy

AR as an Engagement Tool

Using AR as a tool for engagement is about creating an interactive, memorable and shareable experience for your audience. When customers can visualize products in their environment or interact with a brand in a novel way, it fosters a deeper connection. AR experiences can be as simple as an animated product overlay in a real-world setting or as complex as a world-spanning game where users travel to physical locations (think retail locations, sports stadiums, landmarks, etc.) to collect tokens in exchange for rewards.

The key to using AR effectively is to ensure that these experiences add value for the user where they are. Understanding the user’s context is key. A user who is sitting at home is different than a user at a Point of Sale and both of those are different than a user walking past a storefront or billboard/OOH placement. The activation should be easy to access and shareable, encouraging users to spread the word about their interaction with your brand. For example, a furniture store might offer an AR app that lets customers see how a new sofa would look in their living room, which can significantly reduce the hesitation in the purchasing process. By integrating AR into your marketing strategy, you’re not just selling a product or service; you’re offering a unique experience that can lead to increased customer loyalty and higher conversion rates.

Rethinking Marketing KPIs in an AR Context

When integrating AR into your marketing campaigns, it’s necessary to reconsider the key performance indicators (KPIs) you track. Traditional metrics like click-through rates and conversion rates remain important, but AR brings new dimensions to consider, such as engagement duration and interaction depth. For instance, measuring how long users interact with AR content can provide insights into its effectiveness in capturing their attention.

Additionally, track the frequency of AR content shares to gauge its viral potential. High share rates can indicate that your AR content is striking the right chord with your audience. Also, consider customer feedback and sentiment analysis as part of your KPIs. Positive reactions could signal that the AR experience is enhancing the customer journey and contributing to a stronger brand perception. Setting AR-specific KPIs helps in understanding the direct impact of AR on your marketing goals and ROI.

Exploring Successful AR Marketing Campaigns

Case Study: AR Success in Retail

AR has revolutionized retail by bridging the gap between online and in-store experiences. A prominent example is a furniture retailer that launched an AR app enabling customers to visualize how different furniture items would fit and look in their own homes. The app allowed users to place life-sized 3D models of furniture in their space through their smartphone cameras.

This practical application of AR for marketing led to a significant increase in customer engagement and a measurable uptick in online sales. It reduced the uncertainty that often accompanies online purchases of big-ticket items by giving customers a clear preview of their potential investments. Moreover, the retailer noted a decrease in return rates, as customers were more confident in their choices, demonstrating how AR can effectively address common retail challenges and drive ROI.

Beyond product visualization, companies with a retail presence can leverage AR to drive foot traffic into stores. By creating avatar-driven or game based in store AR activations, you can incent customers to become loyalty program members or simplify their in-store experience with immersive guidance in addition to informational AR overlays anchored to products. The key with any immersive activation is leveraging data to drive personalization. In AR experiences that include quizzes or chat interfaces, users are more likely to provide information about their preferences which can then be used to create dynamically personalized experiences tailored to their interests.

Case Study: AR Transforming Consumer Packaged Goods

In the competitive market of consumer packaged goods (CPG), AR is being used to create interactive packaging that stands out on the shelf. A well-known soft drink brand implemented AR by designing their cans with scannable codes that, when viewed through a smartphone, launched an animated story related to the brand’s history and values.

This campaign not only increased customer engagement at the point of sale but also drove social media buzz as consumers shared their experiences online. The AR feature provided an added layer of brand storytelling that resonated with users, leading to increased brand loyalty and repeat purchases. By using AR for marketing, the brand was able to connect with customers in a more meaningful way, resulting in a boost in sales and an enhanced perception of the brand as innovative and customer-centric.

Patron consumer augmented reality activation_rose
Patrón Augmented Reality Gift Wrapper featuring designs by JonBoy.

AR can also be used to create personalized, shareable experiences leveraging your product’s packaging or the product itself. We worked with Patrón to create a custom AR bottle builder enabling customers to gift customized digital bottles to their friends along with real physical bottles. When the gift arrived, recipients could scan the box to see the custom bottle made just for them. When using this experience, 53% of users converted to purchase, driving ROI for this campaign. On top of the revenue impact, the experience also created opportunities for customers to share content and align themselves with the brand publicly.

Case Study: AR Marketing in Fashion

The fashion industry has embraced AR to create immersive shopping experiences. A notable success story comes from a luxury fashion brand that integrated AR into their e-commerce platform. They launched a virtual try-on feature that allowed customers to see how accessories like sunglasses and watches would look on them through their phone’s camera.

This innovative approach to AR for marketing generated a surge in customer engagement and significantly increased online sales. It provided a fun and interactive way for customers to shop from the comfort of their homes, effectively reducing the hesitation associated with not being able to physically try on products. The brand effectively used AR technology to blend the convenience of online shopping with the personalization of in-store experiences, which not only attracted new customers but also strengthened the loyalty of existing ones.

Khaite pre-fall '22 augmented reality experience.
Khaite pre-fall ’22 augmented reality experience.

In addition to AR try on, fashion brands can also leverage AR to allow their customers to view a line release on models in their own home. We worked with KHAITE to release their new line in AR, enabling users to view the looks life size at their leisure. We found that people not only went through all 10 looks, they went back around again and engaged further by zooming in or engaging with 6 of their favorites on average. These experiences drove a 400% increase in sales on the line.

Case Study: AR Marketing in Entertainment

The entertainment industry has found a powerful ally in AR to enhance storytelling and fan engagement. A blockbuster movie franchise used AR to bring characters to life in viewers’ living rooms. Through a mobile app, fans could interact with virtual characters, take photos with them, and even participate in storylines, all overlayed onto their immediate surroundings.

This use of AR for marketing created a dynamic promotional tool that increased anticipation and excitement around the movie’s release. The campaign drove ticket sales as fans were eager to experience the full story after engaging with the characters in AR. Additionally, the app collected valuable data on user interactions, which informed future marketing strategies. By leveraging AR, the movie franchise not only captivated their audience but also set a new standard for interactive marketing in the entertainment industry.

Case Study: AR Marketing in Hospitality

In the hospitality sector, AR has been a game-changer for enhancing guest experiences and marketing efforts. A resort chain introduced an AR feature that allowed guests to scan various parts of the hotel to uncover hidden experiences, such as virtual wildlife tours and historical facts about the location.

This innovative marketing strategy not only enriched the guest experience but also served as a unique selling point for the resort. Guests shared their AR experiences on social media, effectively providing free word-of-mouth advertising for the hotel. As a result, the resort saw increased bookings and heightened interest in the unique experiences they offered. The AR campaign demonstrated how immersive technology could add value beyond traditional hospitality services, creating memorable interactions that encourage repeat visits and drive long-term customer loyalty.

Case Study: AR Marketing in Financial Services

The financial services industry has also begun to harness the power of AR to engage customers in new and innovative ways. A leading bank developed an AR experience that allowed users to interact with their financial products through a mobile app. By pointing their device at a brochure or statement, customers could access a 3D visualization of their financial health and explore different savings scenarios.

This novel use of AR for marketing helped demystify complex financial concepts and made personal finance management more engaging. The campaign led to an increased use of the bank’s mobile services and a higher rate of engagement from younger demographics, who appreciated the interactive and tech-savvy approach. By adopting AR, the financial institution not only differentiated itself from competitors but also strengthened its brand image as a forward-thinking and customer-oriented bank.

Case Study: AR Marketing for Food and Beverage Brands

Food and beverage brands are turning to AR to create engaging campaigns that delight customers and drive sales. A cereal company, for instance, launched an AR game that was accessible via their product packaging. By scanning the box with a smartphone, children and parents could unlock an interactive experience where they collected virtual rewards and learned about nutrition.

This approach to AR for marketing effectively turned breakfast time into a fun and educational activity, increasing the brand’s appeal to both kids and health-conscious parents. The game incentivized repeat purchases, as customers looked forward to collecting new rewards with each box. Social media buzz generated by this campaign resulted in increased brand visibility and an uplift in market share. The cereal company’s investment in AR provided a fresh way to engage with their audience, demonstrating the powerful role of immersive technology in marketing strategies for food and beverage brands.

Measuring Your AR Marketing ROI

Setting Appropriate AR Marketing Goals

To effectively measure the return on investment (ROI) of your AR marketing campaigns, it’s essential to set clear and achievable goals. These objectives should be tightly aligned with your overall marketing strategy and business goals. Begin by identifying what you want your AR campaign to achieve—whether it’s increasing brand awareness, driving sales, or enhancing customer engagement.

For instance, if brand awareness is the goal, focus on metrics like reach, impressions, and user engagement time with the AR content. If the aim is to drive sales, track conversion rates, average order value, and repeat purchase behavior. It’s also critical to set benchmarks based on past marketing efforts or industry standards to measure the success of your AR campaigns. For a good AR experience, you should be able to reduce your cost of customer acquisition significantly. By identifying what success looks like for your AR initiatives, you can tailor your campaigns for maximum impact and ensure that they contribute positively to your firm’s bottom line.

Key Metrics to Track for AR Campaigns

For a comprehensive understanding of your AR marketing campaigns’ performance, certain key metrics should be monitored. User engagement metrics such as session length and frequency of interaction can indicate how captivating your AR content is. The number of AR activations—how many times users initiate the AR experience—is also crucial, as it reflects the level of interest in the content.

Conversion rates are vital when AR is used to drive sales, showing the percentage of users who take a desired action after engaging with AR. Additionally, measure the social sharing rate of your AR content to assess its virality and ability to generate organic reach. Customer satisfaction scores and feedback can provide qualitative data about the user experience. By tracking these metrics, you can gain valuable insights into user behavior, adjust your strategies accordingly, and demonstrate the tangible impact of AR on your marketing ROI.

Final Thoughts: The Future of AR in Marketing

Staying Ahead with AR

As AR technology continues to evolve, staying ahead means being proactive in its application for marketing. To maintain a competitive edge, it’s important to keep abreast of the latest AR trends and technological advancements. Embrace a culture of innovation within your firm, encouraging team members to think creatively about how AR can be used in future campaigns.

Investing in ongoing education and training around AR will ensure your team has the skills necessary to leverage this technology effectively. Additionally, pay attention to customer feedback and data analytics to understand how AR experiences are resonating with your audience. By fostering an environment that prizes agility and forward-thinking, your firm can continue to deliver cutting-edge AR marketing campaigns that captivate customers and drive business growth.

Embracing Constant Innovation in AR Technology

Adapting to the rapid pace of change in AR technology is key for future-proofing your marketing strategies. Embrace constant innovation by actively seeking new AR features and capabilities that can enhance your campaigns. This might involve experimenting with personalized avatars, novel gameplay mechanics, incorporating sound for a multi-sensory experience, or utilizing AR for personalized storytelling.

Keep an eye on emerging AR devices and platforms, as these can open up new avenues for reaching your audience. Collaborating with tech startups or joining industry consortiums can provide insights into cutting-edge developments in AR. By being a first-mover in adopting new technologies, your firm can demonstrate leadership and expertise and get out ahead of competitors. Embracing innovation in AR can not only captivate your audience but also set a precedent for tangible ROI increases your leadership will be looking for.

A Comprehensive Guide to Virtual Reality vs. Augmented Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are cutting-edge technologies revolutionizing the digital landscape, offering innovative ways for users to interact with the virtual world around them. Understanding the distinctions between VR and AR is crucial in harnessing their full potential for various applications. From enhancing customer experiences to boosting engagement in marketing campaigns, these immersive technologies have distinct characteristics that set them apart. In this in-depth exploration, we will dissect the key differences between VR and AR, illuminating their unique features, use cases, and advantages. By delving into specific examples and illustrating practical applications, we aim to equip marketing leaders and digital marketers with a comprehensive understanding of how VR and AR can elevate their strategies and propel their brands to new heights.

Intriguing World of Virtual and Augmented Reality

Distinguishing AR and VR: An Overview

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are often mentioned in the same breath, yet they offer distinct experiences. AR overlays digital content onto the real world, enhancing what we see by integrating virtual components such as images, animations, or information in real-time. AR does not take us out of our environment; instead, it adds to it. Conversely, VR immerses users in a fully artificial digital environment. With the help of VR headsets, users can be transported into diverse settings, from simulated landscapes to virtual classrooms. While AR enhances reality, VR replaces it, offering a complete escape from the physical world. Both technologies have the potential to transform how we interact with digital content, but their applications and implications differ significantly.

In-depth Comparison: Augmented Reality

Augmented reality merges the digital and physical worlds in a seamless fashion. Through AR, users can interact with virtual items as if they were present in their immediate environment. Smartphones, tablets, and AR glasses can all serve as platforms to deliver this technology. AR’s strength lies in its versatility and accessibility, as it enhances the user’s environment without the need for specialized equipment beyond a mobile device. In marketing, AR can provide customers with a more interactive and personal product experience, like trying on clothes virtually or visualizing furniture in their homes before purchasing. This direct engagement can significantly increase conversion rates and brand loyalty. Additionally, AR’s capacity to provide additional information about products in real-time can empower consumers to make more informed decisions, truly showcasing the power of augmented reality.

Practical Applications of AR in Marketing

Augmented reality is swiftly becoming an indispensable tool for marketers aiming to captivate and engage their audiences. One practical application of AR in marketing is through interactive advertisements. These ads allow consumers to visualize products in their environment, such as seeing how a new car would look in their driveway. Another application is virtual try-ons, where customers can see themselves with a new makeup shade or eyeglass style, enhancing their shopping experience online. Additionally, AR can be used for navigation within stores, guiding customers to desired products with ease and increasing the chances of additional purchases. It is also instrumental in storytelling, creating immersive brand experiences that resonate with consumers. These applications not only enrich the customer experience but also bridge the gap between online and offline worlds, providing valuable data back to the marketers.

Role of Virtual Reality in Digital Space

Unfolding the Layers of Virtual Reality

Virtual reality offers a deep dive into a digitally created space where the limits are defined only by imagination. This technology creates a controlled environment, delivering a multi-sensory experience that can include sight, sound, and even touch. The use of head-mounted displays (HMDs) or VR headsets is essential in achieving the immersive experience that characterizes VR. Within the digital space, VR has been transformative in fields like education and training, enabling learners to practice in a risk-free, virtual environment. For instance, surgeons can simulate operations, and pilots can experience flight scenarios without leaving the ground. In the realm of entertainment, VR has reshaped gaming and live events, providing users with an unparalleled level of engagement. As VR continues to evolve, its profound impact on the digital landscape is undeniable, offering users experiences that were once beyond reach.

How VR Transforms Digital Marketing Strategy

Virtual reality is reshaping digital marketing strategies by offering immersive experiences that capture the audience’s attention and emotions. VR stands out for its ability to create a sense of presence, making users feel as though they are truly part of another reality. For marketers, this means the ability to craft compelling narratives that allow consumers to experience a product or service in full context. For example, real estate agents can offer virtual tours of properties, allowing potential buyers to walk through homes from anywhere in the world. Travel agencies can transport clients to a beach resort, offering a taste of their vacation before they book. These immersive experiences are not just novel; they can profoundly influence consumer behavior, leading to stronger emotional connections and improved recall. By leveraging VR, brands can create memorable campaigns that stand out in a crowded digital space.

Understanding the Key Differences

Determining the Ideal Tech: AR vs. VR

Choosing between augmented reality and virtual reality for a digital strategy depends on the objectives and context of the campaign. Augmented reality is ideal when the goal is to enhance the real-world experience with additional information or visual features. It’s highly effective for interactive marketing, where engagement with the actual environment is key. For instance, AR can be used in retail to help customers visualize products in their own space before purchasing.

Virtual reality, on the other hand, is the technology of choice when creating an entirely new environment is the goal. It is suitable for situations where immersive storytelling or deep focus is needed. VR can be powerful for training simulations or experiential marketing campaigns where you want the user to be fully absorbed in the experience without outside distractions. Ultimately, understanding the customer journey and the desired interaction will guide the choice between AR and VR.

Success Stories: AR and VR in Action

Both augmented reality and virtual reality have seen successful applications across various industries. In retail, AR has revolutionized the shopping experience with apps that let customers try on clothes and makeup virtually, leading to an increase in online sales for companies that have embraced this tech. In the furniture industry, AR allows customers to see how products would look in their homes, which has been a game-changer for brands like IKEA.

In the world of VR, success stories include the use of virtual training programs that are revolutionizing the way companies train their employees. For example, Walmart used VR to prepare employees for Black Friday, resulting in improved customer service and operations. The travel industry has also seen wins with VR by offering virtual tours of destinations, which has boosted booking rates. These examples showcase how AR and VR can be leveraged to create impactful, memorable customer experiences that drive business results.

AR and VR: Fostering Future Collaborations

Augmented reality and virtual reality open up new avenues for collaboration across various sectors. In the field of education, AR and VR can bring together students and teachers from around the world in interactive, virtual classrooms. For businesses, these technologies enable virtual meetings and conferences where participants can engage with each other in a more connected way, regardless of physical distance.

Moreover, AR and VR foster collaborations between tech companies and content creators. As the demand for immersive content grows, there is a significant opportunity for creative partnerships that can push the boundaries of what’s possible in storytelling and user engagement. These collaborations are not only advancing the technology itself but are also setting the stage for future innovations that could further transform how we work, learn, and play. As we look to the future, the potential for AR and VR to facilitate more meaningful and productive collaborations is both promising and exciting.

Final Thoughts: The Path Forward in AR and VR

As we reflect on the advancements in augmented reality and virtual reality, it’s evident that these technologies are not just passing trends; they represent the next frontier in digital innovation. The path forward for AR and VR is one of growth and integration into everyday experiences. Businesses that recognize the potential of AR and VR will lead their industries by creating more engaging, personalized, and immersive experiences for their customers.

The future will likely see AR and VR becoming more mainstream, with advancements in technology making these tools more affordable and accessible. As the line between the physical and digital worlds continues to blur, the opportunities for AR and VR are boundless. For marketing leaders and digital marketers, staying ahead of the curve will mean not only adopting these technologies but also pioneering new ways to integrate them into marketing strategies to create value for both the brand and the consumer.