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Impact of Augmented Reality (AR) on Digital Marketing

Impact of Augmented Reality (AR) on Digital Marketing
May 13, 2019

Impact of Augmented Reality (AR) on Digital Marketing

May 13, 2019
Surya S. Das
Surya S. Das is a budding Digital Marketer with great dreams

Augmented Reality (AR) is the Future. You must have come across these technologies recently, but If you don't know about it yet, then it is the right time that you have come across this article. Do you fascinate the Iron Man movies and the technologies used in it? Did you like the interface of the Jarvis which helps Tony see his surrounding in a futuristic way and get extra information about everything and anything? These technologies seem to be so alien and advanced but thanks to our developers we can realize the same things shortly. We can do similar things or even better stuff than Iron Man using these technologies. The Future which we are going to witness will be full of such insane technologies. And as a Digital Marketer, we will have to evolve with the changing trend or else we are gone. The way people experience the internet will change entirely with these technologies and so the way we show advertisements and content should also change.

What is Augmented Reality?

Augment reality is a technology that changes the way we know and observe the World with our naked eyes. This technology has the power to merge the virtual world elements into the real World seamlessly. Technically there are two forms of AR, Constructive and Destructive AR; In constructive AR, some virtual items are added to the real World so that it acts as an added information of the real World. But in Destructive AR, virtual elements are created in a way that it overlaps the real world object to mask it. It gives an illusion that the real world object doesn't exist and the virtual object has taken its place. For now, this technology to work it requires a target Image, a camera or app that recognizes the target image. But in the Future, the technology may even be more significant than this. Reading and experiencing are two different things.

Reading doesn't always guarantee that you might have understood, but when you experience something, it sticks in your mind. It is so cool and can give us powers like the Iron Man. Imagine you are wearing a glass in which you will get extra information about every particular thing you see. You don't have to check your phone separately, look at the objects and get additional information like Iron Man in his suit. Apart from that if we use a mobile device, in that too, the possibilities are endless. Imagine you look into a simple advertisement poster. Just point your phone camera towards it, and you can see a lot more information popping up on that poster in your screen. You can see animation to describe the brand and products better, or you can even directly shop that particular product just by pointing the camera towards the poster. The possibilities are immense, and even we can't imagine what the Future might look like actually. But one thing's for sure. Future will be fantastic. Currently, this technology is getting  used in many ways, and many more are yet to come.

Filters in Snapchat and other Apps are the most common uses of AR technology by the people world wide. Apart from that many games and applications have come up which deploys AR to give a unique experience. You can try playing Pokemon Go, Stack it AR, Ingress, ARrrrrgh, Army of Robots and many more by just downloading it from Play store.

Google is trying to encourage these new technologies a lot already. Google Lens and Google Translate are some commonly used examples where Google is using AR. Apart from that Google has its development platform for Developers named ARCore, where they can create projects related to AR.

We can discuss a lot about its uses and applications but the more important thing is why are these technologies essential and as a digital marketer why should we start focusing on this new trend. 

If we look closely, then the primary purpose of introducing AR and VR is to enhance the user experience and usability. These technologies are focused on how we can develop a better world for all the people and how we can empower the general crowd. And technologies which are built keeping in mind the people, those technologies rarely fail. People may feel this is new, but once they are used to it, then it will be an essential part of their life. And moreover, new technologies tend to draw more attention from users.

These technologies are trying to provide a better world by empowering you with more information and that too in a convenient way. In today's World the cell phones and computers have become an essential part of our life, but they cut us away from the real World. But with the incoming of AR, your virtual World will be merged with real World, and that will give you the power to manage your life in a better way. So do you think we will not like this possibility? 

Now if we agree that we are going to engross these new technologies, then it becomes crucial to understand that as a digital marketer what are the things to be taken care of and how the introduction of AR and VR is going to impact the digital marketing space.

Change in the way we display ads

The ads we show today focus on images, Text or videos. But with the changing World, we may have to focus on rich media ads to grab people's attention and stand out from other advertisers. 

Imagine you are in the year 2025 now and wearing a hi-tech AR glass operated with brain waves and in that you are scrolling facebook feeds while walking down the street. While walking, you cross a Pizza store, and suddenly in your feeds, a pop-up or ad comes up. In that you see a virtual cartoon coming up in front of you and tell you about their unique pizzas and also tell you that you can enjoy the same right there in a store located nearby and if you agree to visit that store then he will walk you down to that location just like an old friend of yours. Such personalized and engaging advertisements might be the Future. Just imagine the possibilities that are lying ahead. 

If you are a digital marketer then in Future with the intervention of AR and VR you too will have to indulge yourself in such futuristic ads, the Future of advertising will change, and so we will have to change our ideas and methods also. Even today every marketer is struggling hard to stand out from the crowd by looking unique in their advertisements, and this quest is never-ending. But if we start trying to adopt AR and VR from now, then that will give us an edge over others because now, only a handful of companies use these technologies and so trending your advertisement will be comparatively easy. 

The Whole World will be our canvas to advertise

Yes, the whole World will be a platform for us to show advertisements. You can add ads to every element in the real World. Do you remember how AR can trigger using images and say a complete story? So likewise we can use every object to tell a story about brands in the Future. We can create magazines like the ones in Harry Potter, all characters and elements from the magazine coming alive to interact with you while you read. We can use virtual characters as the face of a brand, and that character can stay with the user always to help him in some way or the other and in that process promote the brand. For an example, a watch company can develop an application wherein a virtual AR character pops up to greet the user "good morning" with the alarm, and in this process, your brand's name can get promoted. 

And when we talk about VR, then we can create our own world according to our requirements. Suppose you are a Digital Marketer and you want to market a brand. You can create a virtual world which will help enhance the whole story of the brand. In the advertisements, you can show the background, the struggle, the hard work and what not to make the people realize the greatness of the brand. You can create a world for the user where you can say your own story and even show the elements from the story in front of his eyes and make him believe that he is watching everything live in the scene. So you can imagine the level of attention and impact we can create in the minds of the user. 

So it is not wrong to say that the whole World will be our canvas to showcase our advertisements. Because either we are using the the real life objects to say our story or we are creating a simulated world to narrate our story. So we are in control of the whole world and that makes the Future of advertising unimaginable. 

More focus on Images and Modern Search Techniques

In the present day, we make google search by typing in the words or phrases. But do you think that in Future too we will be doing the same thing? We will not forget that entirely but apart from typing in the keywords to get results; we will be heading to newer and advanced ways of searching on the internet. One prime search category might be the images. Even today Google Lenses allow you to search about objects by just clicking a picture of it and hitting the search option. And in Future too we might avoid typing in for searches which are in our sight. We will point our phone towards the object, and we can expect details about that popping up. 

Apart from that even better technologies might come up to enhance the experience of searching on the internet. And with every advancement in search engines, we too need to update our campaigns accordingly. We can only predict the Future now, but one thing is always sure and known, that change is inevitable. Digital Marketing never had a fixed path and is still subject to change. So it is for sure that what we know today about digital marketing will change completely tomorrow, and if we don't adjust ourselves according to that, then the World will wipe us out. 

Providing a taste of your product Online

While shopping an accessory for your home, have you ever faced any challenge to imagine whether the accessory will suit your interior or not? If yes, then AR has good news for you. Many apps today are utilizing AR to help you visualize how an item would look and feel in your existing environment. 

You can try apps of Lenskart, Dulux Visualizer App, IKEA to see how they are already giving you a taste of their products without actually owning them. In Lenskart you can see yourself wearing those eyeglasses inside the app, and that will give you an idea of which glass will suit you the best. Dulux Visualizer App lets you see which color will suit your wall and in that you can see through the app how your room might look like after applying that particular color. So these apps are trying to boost the buying decision by giving them an experience of their product. 

Likewise, these technologies can be utilized to give an even better experience to the customers. The shopping experience will change entirely because in Future you will first try the product virtually and then if it suits your need only then you will buy it. In today's world people have become lazy and want everything served to them quickly. Now if a company can cater to the need of a customer at the comfort of his house, then that is going to add some positive points in converting the sale. 

Imagine if a Hotel App can let you see the complete room through VR before booking it. It will make the company transparent in the eyes of the consumer and will help customers make a better decision as well. So the Digital Marketing of tomorrow's World will not only be limited to providing information about your product but also to give a taste of your product to the customer even before he buys it. 

Engagement more important than brand

In Future with AR and VR in the scene, a lot many advertisers will come up with new and great content everywhere. So to keep your customers loyal and to build a long term relationship, it will become essential to engage them with your brand so that they remember it always. 

Every company will have comparable services to provide, but while purchasing a product, customers will only refer to those companies which they are familiar to and with whom they have developed some relationship.

In the Future, brand engagement will reach a whole new level. Let's imagine a brand is having a social media website wherein they upload VR videos of their concerts and announcements. The user or customer can be a part of that concert through VR as if they are watching it live in the scene, but in reality, he will be sitting in the comfort of his house. So the level of customer engagement will be very high along with the impression in the minds of the user will also be intense. 

In the Future to come, it will hardly matter how big a brand you are. If you cannot provide a pleasant experience to your customer and keep them thinking about you, then you will lose your customers. There will be many companies who would be ready with newer ideas to entice more and more people always. So be prepared with plans to take customer engagement to a new level.

Competition and costs will be higher than ever before

In the World of advertising, competition is always high, but in the future coming, the level of difficulty will only increase. The costs involved in producing advertisements will also go high as the VR and AR technologies will require specialized developers to develop the ads. Apart from that, the advertisements cannot be simple like texts and images. So again that adds up to the cost of advertising. In the Future, rich media advertisements might be trending because people would have already tasted a lot of modern technology by then. So to grab the attention of consumers, we will have to create content which will try to entice the user to interact and explore more.

But this is something debatable because with growing technologies creating and sharing AR and VR related content might become cheap. But as the technology is new for now, so you can expect it to be costly for some time, and so brands should be prepared enough to have even bigger budgets for advertising in the Future.

And as said earlier the competition will also increase so spending massive amounts may go in vain sometimes if your content is not good enough. So apart from the money you also need to have good content. 

Integration of All aspects 

Advertisements now are just focused on showcasing the product or service, but Ads in the Future should be capable enough to do everything right from giving information, allowing the user to shop and to providing customer service too. Yes, this sounds ridiculous, but it will be a great idea to do so. With the power of VR and AR, you can give your brand one identity in the virtual World and let it interact with your customers to provide them with a personalized feel. 

Let's take the example of a brand here to understand it better. Let's say we are advertising for Amul in the Future when AR and  VR technologies are at its peak. The mascot of Amul, that little girl on the cover of Amul products, was an excellent success for Amul in the past and now when we are advertising in the Future, we can again try using the same mascot. But this time we will bring that girl into life. We will create a virtual character which will look like the girl on Amul posters, and she will be the face of the brand. We can make interactive advertisements in which she can be seen standing in front of the user and explaining things and many more possibilities. We can use her as our customer care executive too. To create a brand, we need to create an impression in the minds of the people. People should be able to recognize us from our symbols and signs; only then we are a brand. So incorporating AR and VR to create one identity for a brand can be a good idea.

And it might happen soon enough that brands will be coming up in the online space and every brand will have their online Avatar or Identity. 

Information to be served and linked to everything

Data is the first thing why we search on the internet or use the internet. So everyone wants to get information quick and easy now. Even a small piece of paper lying on the floor should be able to tell your story because you never know at what instant your customer might develop the urge to know about you or try your services. So with the introduction of AR and VR, it is possible. Many things define a brand, and we mostly recognize brands through its signs and symbols. So AR technologies can be triggered every time someone points his camera towards those signs and symbols anywhere. Depending upon the location and history of the user some useful information should be shown to the user always and make your presence felt by the user.  

Introduction of New Shopping Techniques or Online Stores

With the advancements in technology the shopping trends and the way, we know shopping will change completely. We may experience Online Malls where all brands will have their Virtual stores, and people will visit them in VR and try shopping. So at that time presenting and marketing the products will be a significant challenge. Even Digital Marketers might have to think about how to advertise products in those Online Spaces. We may have to use techniques of marketing by Offline stores or create something new which attracts the customers, and we don't get sorted out. If we have such Online Malls, then customers will have full power to restrict or allow sellers in their Virtual Mall. So you need to have a brand image so that you don't get silenced out by the customer.

Customers will have more power than they have now and so our advertisements cannot be pushy and irritating. They need to be pleasant and drive customers interest, or else they can kick us out, and we become non-existent for them. In Future, with the increase in the number of brands it will become tough to spread the word about us effectively to all. 

Targeting patterns may change

Now we focus on keywords to rank high on Google and use other demographic combinations to reach our customers. In Future with more and more brands coming in, we might face high bids for each keyword. So we will have to be very specific in placing our bids and use of target keywords.

Even it may so happen that apart from keywords and demographics something new may come up to place to target our ads. WIth AR and VR in the scene, searches will be more focused on images, and hopefully, Search Engine will start understanding the content of images too as well. So we will have to target customers based on the pictures they are searching. This space is unimaginable for now because we have not seen much of it yet. But be assured that search patterns are going to change in Future and so will the Targeting patterns too.

Website designs may change 

Today we experience the website in 2D but the site of tomorrow will not be the same. We will have to create websites that can work in AR as well as VR. We will have to change the way we present data on our sites now. Websites will provide information, but apart from that, it should also offer an experience to the user. 

And with the introduction of such changes in websites, the task of a Digital Marketer is undoubtedly going to increase. 

Conclusion

Change is the fundamental law of nature. With time everything changes. It was not very far away when mobiles arrived, and suddenly they gained so much popularity. So again these technologies of AR and VR are something that is going to boom in the market unexpectedly. Developers are working hard to make things for the Virtual World. And their hard work will excel because new technologies always fascinate people, and they get attracted to them quickly. And if the technology can prove to be beneficial and improve their lifestyle, then people will make it an integral part of their life in no time. 

In the past, we have witnessed some fantastic campaigns using AR run by companies like Coca Cola, Pepsi, Pizza Hut, etc. and they have received an overwhelming response from the consumers. 

So if you are a Digital Marketer, then the time has come that you look forward and start preparing yourself for the Future of marketing. Try exploring such new technologies so that when it's time to perform and deliver with these technologies, then you are not surprised. Instead, you lead the way for others. So go and explore more.

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