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A hand holding a smartphone displaying the game Pokemon Go

Why haven’t you joined the ARvolution?

Advertising for the future...

This has been predicted as the biggest year for the development of Virtual Reality (VR) and 360 degree video and so far it is living up to the hype. This is due mainly to the amount of engaging content being created and the big three social media platforms, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter giving users the ability to upload, share, live stream and view VR and 360 content. Add to this the amount of companies including VR in their marketing and communications strategy and we now have VR within the mainstream.

In regards to Augmented Reality (AR), Pokemon GO has shown consumers and marketers there is a desire for this technology. It has had 750million downloads (a massive 1 in 10 people globally have downloaded Pokemon Go!) and received over $1.2billion in revenue.

You would think this would have started the ARvolution (hashtag!!!) but, it has not followed the VR boom as of yet.  It is still moving forward, but we are in the classic chicken and the egg phase. Not enough accessible and good AR content is being created by marketing and brand leaders for consumers to warrant downloading an AR app.

There are many AR apps out there, Metaio, Blippar and T+ink to name a few.  But, speaking to marketers on a daily basis, I am hearing the hesitation in their voices as to whether they feel AR can really add value to their marketing and branding strategy. The challenge with any new technology and its adoption is the need for innovators and organisations to step up and become leaders in the ARvolution.

Below are a few challenges with (what I will phrase as) static media: print, billboards, etc. and being able to monitor its effectiveness.

Print Media
For more than a decade there has been talk of how print media is dying and people are not purchasing newspapers, magazines or publications and would prefer to engage digitally. BUT, print media will clearly remain a major advertising player.  For it to complement digital and other types of advertising, we must focus on better ways of reporting the effectiveness of print advertising. Particularly, we must be able to measure the ROI of print not only on its own, but also in relation to other advertising platforms.

One of the clear advantages of digital advertising is how easy it is to gather data about the performance of ads. When a potential customer clicks on your ad, you can see not only exactly where they came from, but also how they interact once on your site. When enough data is collected you can adjust your marketing plans accordingly.

Previously, readership numbers, QR codes and voucher codes have been used to monitor the effectiveness of a print media campaign but this is heavily reliant on consumers utilisation and it is difficult to understand who has seen your advertisement and engaged with the content.

Old black and white photograph of men in suits and hats reading newspapers
Reading newspapers yesterday

A person using a smartphone to access AR content from a newspaper
Reading newspapers tomorrow

Outdoor advertising: billboards, bus stops, etc.
Marketing and branding executives consider billboard marketing as one of the most effective and valuable advertising mediums at their disposal. A common misconception is that the messages on outdoor billboards are too brief and simple to be persuasive and also difficult to quantify their effectiveness. Billboard advertising is used mainly to build or reinforce brand recognition and bolster the company’s image.

To quantify its effectiveness can be a challenge - you can monitor sales before, during and after the billboard, add codes and track their usage to quantify, but this is still not an exact science and there are too many other factors that can muddy the waters when calculating the ROI. The simplest way to measure the effectiveness of outdoor advertising is to take a metric such as sales, and look at sales impact before and after running an outdoor campaign. Has there been a noticeable increase? The difficulty here is working out if there are other factors that have influenced the change. If your brand had two separate campaigns (say, Outdoor and Online) on the go at the same time it would be difficult to isolate the impact of Outdoor as brand engagement and sales may have been influenced by either campaign.

A street billboard showing a Dominos Pizza advert
Outdoor advertising today

An imagining of an AR billboard, with elements emerging from the screen
Outdoor advertising tomorrow

In 2017, we have started seeing a rise in AR embedded into publications we read, billboards we pass by and even walking down the street which can be viewed.

Below are 3 examples of where AR is currently being used and how you can join the ARvolution:

1. US-based movie theatre chain AMC Cinemas has dipped their toe into augmented reality marketing with an AR app that keys off of movie posters. Moviegoers can point their phones at a poster, either in the theatre lobby or in magazines, and immediately bring up information that includes a trailer and cast info. Of course, the app also allows customers to easily buy tickets for the film. Watch it here!

2. Marketing can be a force to make the world a better place, as well. By using augmented reality and other techniques and technologies to market causes and practices just as they do products, advertisers can help to save the planet. In Buenos Aires, that is exactly what happened. In an augmented reality campaign sponsored by the city government, attendees to a concert were treated to an AR game in which they had to catch falling trash in a recycling bin.

3. The May 2016 issue of The New Yorker featured the work of talented illustrator Christoph Niemann on the front and back covers of the magazine. Using the app, readers could bring the illustrations to life and explore the cityscape created by Niemann. Click here to see what all the fuss was about!

Come and talk to us and join us in the ARvolution!

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