By all accounts, augmented reality is poised to be the tech innovation of the decade—fundamentally transforming the way we experience the world. Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, has even predicted that AR “will be as important as eating three meals a day” within the next 10 years.
Understanding that the technology is expected to be this disruptive (think: the introduction of iPhone in 2007), it’s time for marketers to take notice. In fact, Ad Age recently called AR a trillion dollar opportunity for those who plan early and earn consumer trust.
Nonetheless, there’s no doubt that introducing AR can seem like an intimidating and technical task for the uninitiated. Luckily, social media platforms provide an effective and approachable entry-point, with both Facebook and Snap chat offering native Augmented Reality solutions to brands so far. This means that it is easier than ever to create meaningful connections with customers online, and to deliver tangible experiences with your product.
Social Offers Multiple Options for Delivering Augmented Experiences
Although Snapchat is widely known as the pioneer of AR on social, Facebook has been taking aggressive measures to compete. Most recently, the platform rolled out Facebook AR Studio, a self-serve suite of tools that enables developers to create responsive 3D effects that can be accessed through Facebook’s camera. This marks a major shift in AR for social, which was previously limited to expensive Snapchat ad units with few useful metrics behind them.
Now, early reports suggest that Facebook is experimenting with metrics that would better tie its AR effects directly to desired actions. This means that a consumer would be able to interact with or learn about a product using AR, then shop or subscribe directly from there.
It’s also possible to integrate more complex, third-party created experiences into social platforms. For example, Estee Lauder built a Facebook chatbot that would guide customers through the process of choosing a lip color, then allow them to try the shade on using augmented reality before buying. Eventually, it will be possible to direct customers to a URL to unlock AR experiences, opening the distribution opportunities even further.
AR as One Piece of the Puzzle
Keeping up with the expanding capabilities of AR on social is only part of the battle, however, and doesn’t necessarily translate to a winning strategy. It’s critical to approach AR in the same way that you would other content types in your toolkit—as an opportunity to enhance a customer’s experience with your brand and drive action at various points in the funnel. Consider that practical use cases can often be as impactful, if not more so, than those that are simply novelties. For instance, AR could help a customer quickly locate items on crowded store shelves or educate them on how to set up and use a new appliance. Go that extra mile to make a consumer’s life a bit easier and you will be rewarded with their loyalty.