AR – The Next Frontier in Immersive Advertising Experiences
Since Apple and Google equipped phones with Augmented Reality (AR)-ready software, an increasing number of AR apps are being used by consumers on a daily basis. This year, the number of AR users in the U.S. alone is expected to reach 85 million . Consumers, particularly Gen Z, increasingly expect to point their phones at products and unlock additional layers of content. According to Andrew Klein, Director of Content Innovation at Spark Foundry, “These sought after and soon expected experiences are becoming daily behaviors for the digitally native generation.” Accelerated even further by the rapid onset of a contact-free, socially-distanced world, AR is set to become the next frontier of advertising. In fact, 97% of brands on the Forbes Most Valuable Brands list have used or are currently using AR .
What has top brands turning to AR? For a start, AR’s enhanced storytelling capabilities allow brands to forge deeper emotional connections with audiences that boost brand awareness, lift, and recall. According to a study by Mindshare UK on the neurological and brand impact of AR, AR increases ad recall by a whopping 70%. AR has also been found to boost conversions: for example, retailers have had success with virtual try-ons that allow consumers to superimpose clothing or make-up virtually through AR. In addition, AR activations are user-initiated, making them less interruptive and more likely to be encountered by consumers who are in a positive frame of mind. TikTok’s Yinka Taiwo-Peters summed it up well saying, “AR gives our TikTok community the props to tell more immersive stories with unlimited creative possibilities….AR at TikTok is not the story but the prop that enhances the creator’s story.”
To help marketers take advantage of the possibilities afforded by immersive technologies, this year IAB launched an AR Marketplace Board within the Experience Center. The mission of this board is to bring together passionate AR leaders to help inspire and shape the future of AR in advertising through best practices and standards.
The new AR group’s first order of business was to create a Buyers’ Guide to help brands and agencies get the most out of AR. While there are clear benefits to AR advertising, it can be overwhelming to know where to start or how much budget to allocate. The purpose of this guide is to demystify AR for marketers and provide an overall sense of why, what, and how by highlighting:
- The benefits of AR in marketing
- The type of AR experiences available to brands
- Recommended measurement criteria
- How to get started
This guide was written for mid to senior-level marketers by contributors from AR companies including Facebook, Google, Snap Inc., TikTok, Unity and Verizon—companies at the forefront of creating consumer AR products and experiences.
Keith Soljacich, VP/GD for Experiential Technology at Digitas, “By launching the AR Board and the Buyers’ Guide, the IAB solidifies Augmented Reality as a critical component of a modern marketing and media plan.”
“Today’s consumers demand product experiences that engage them in a way that is personal, relevant and fun,” said Tony Parisi, Head of Product Innovation, XR and eCommerce, Unity. “Brands, advertisers, and retailers who quickly implement 3D and AR into the purchase journey will more quickly meet those expectations than those that don’t. It will be those brands who reimagine commerce to include the immersive reality that will be at the forefront of both experience and profit over the next decade.”
Just as retailers had to adapt to the shift from brick and mortar to e-commerce, a new shift is underway from first-wave digital media (e.g., banners) to immersive experiences. Marketers who familiarize themselves with AR will have the easiest time breaking through while the space is still uncluttered.
Download your copy here. If you are interested in learning about the AR Board and joining other AR industry leaders who are working to bring AR to brands, please email [email protected] to learn more.
 Statista, 2021 https://www.statista.com/statistics/1035436/united-states-social-network-ar-users/