If you’re thinking: “Jack, do you live under a rock? AR’s been around for an eternity in digital years; Adweek pondered if 2010 was the ‘Year of Augmented Reality’.” Well, technically, you’re right. But hear me out. (And BTW: I live in a house.)
Up until very recently, AR has been an advertising gimmick that asked too much of consumers in exchange for a fleeting payoff. Sure, you can watch snowflakes fall on your latte or bring your print ad to life, but you’re also asking people to download a special app for a 10-second brand experience. Newsflash: they won’t.
So why is now AR’s moment?
The number one reason is augmented reality just got something every emerging channel desperately needs: the backing of a major tech player. While Google and Facebook have set their sights on virtual reality (virtual selfies, anyone?) and struggle to create virtual experiences with expensive, goofy headsets, Apple has recognized AR opportunity in a technology where they own a 50% share in something that is already in 80% of American pockets.
At their keynote event Apple launched ARkit—software that helps developers easily create and integrate AR experiences into apps. And to further the push, they’ve updated all their new devices to seamlessly run these experiences and have been highlighting AR executions heavily in the App Store.
This next part is up to us, marketers. We must push AR beyond just another advertising gimmick. We have the unique opportunity to merge our digital and real worlds in a way that can build more immersive brand experiences and provide actual value to consumers.
IKEA is leading the way with their IKEA Place app, which improves the catalog experience by allowing you to see how different pieces of furniture would look in your home while eliminating measurements and crossed fingers in the process.
In 2018, Major League Baseball will be taking AR into the ballpark with their updated At Bat app, which will allow you to identify players, plus pull up stats and other info without taking your eyes off the game.
Now revitalized, AR provides the opportunity for brands to truly integrate their digital and in-person experiences with nearly endless storytelling possibilities—marrying the context of outdoor and experiential marketing with the nearly limitless creative potential of digital media and animation.
Move over virtual reality, augmented reality is here and ready to go mainstream.tweet it
Have a great, back-to-augmented-reality weekend with this list of cool AR apps from Verge.
– Your friends who honestly can’t tell what’s real anymore at Brokaw.