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What is AR?
Augmented reality (AR) is the integration of visual, auditory, and other sensory information with the real world, therefore allowing brands to create rich and unique experiences for consumers to access. Unlike virtual reality (VR), which creates a totally artificial environment, AR users experience their real-life environment with generated information overlaid on top of it.

Examples of AR
Looking at how this combines with digital marketing, the applications are vast, with a range of original technology already created over the last few years.

Google Lens
One of the best examples of AR is Google Lens image recognition technology, which has several different uses. You can take a picture of text to translate into another language, or can take a picture of a fashion outfit, piece of furniture or any ecomm product to find out more information and where to purchase the product. Other uses of the app include solving a problem with your homework or discovering more about the environment, such as flowers or animals you take pictures of and more.

The Ikea Place App
This app allows its users to visually see how the furniture Ikea are selling would look in their own home. For example, you might want to see how a new sofa would look in your living room – answering users’ questions such as ‘How would it fit?’, ‘Would the colour match the wallpaper?’, etc.

Pokémon Go
Another huge hit internationally is the Pokémon Go app. Combining the popular game with the real world, as you walk around your city, the game uses GPS to create an AR world where you can catch and train Pokémon characters in real locations.

Interactive games and content like this help to utilise “gamification” to build a better relationship with the user, meaning people are more engaged and interact with the brand for longer.

The benefits of AR
As the content brings immersive storytelling to life, brands can educate consumers on their products and services through visual, bite-sized snippets. Through improving brand perception through innovative and personable campaigns, the emotional connection with the person is stronger than with traditional methods.

Therefore, the main advantages of this type of activity in digital marketing are: increased user engagement, interaction, and conversion rates.

‘Try before you buy’ on fashion items is also a massive advantage to online shopping, helping to convert more people. There have been several successful ecommerce campaigns for products such as glasses, make-up and clothing, all of which could have been reasons for people to visit stores in the past, now AR has meant an improved online experience.

The future of AR
In the next five years, augmented reality is predicted to be one of the fastest growing markets, along with AI… so far, we have just scratched the surface. As AR becomes more intertwined in digital marketing, the scope for original and innovative campaigns will increase.

Eventually people may view this technology as the “norm”, with unique, personable ad campaigns being the standard, and replacing traditional methods. Therefore, it’s an exciting time to be in digital marketing and seeing the developments to come.