Have you ever used filters on Snapchats or played Pokémon Go?
It wasn’t too long ago that the prospect of augmented reality (AR) in electronics seemed like a far-fetched vision of the future. But it didn’t take long for AR to become a reality, or for it to make its mark on social media and marketing. That’s right, augmented reality is already taking over some of the most popular social networks in the world.
In this article I’m going to be exploring how the advancements in AR technology will impact social media, and how brands and marketers can use it on social media to promote their products and boost sales!
What is AR?
The largest companies in the world, from Apple to Facebook, are working hard to make sure that AR becomes a part of our everyday online experiences, and social media is at the forefront of AR’s widespread adoption. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat—it seems like AR is taking over all of the most popular social networking platforms, with new AR features being introduced all the times.
So what exactly is AR, and why is it such a big deal for brands? Augmented reality is technology that takes a look at the real world and projects virtual, computer-generated augmentations onto it in order to enhance our experiences. Games like Pokemon Go and features like filters on Snapchat and Instagram, where you can take a picture or video of yourself with virtual additions like a top hat or a glowing flower crown, are great examples of the everyday application of AR in social media.
Though right now many people simply view AR as a means for harmless entertainment, this technology has the potential for making absolutely amazing changes to our society. It’s already changing the game in many industries, including healthcare, education, navigation, manufacturing, marketing, and many more.
The current influx of AR technologies is just the tip of the iceberg—by 2020, the virtual and reality market is projected to be worth an estimated $150 billion. With those kinds of numbers, you can bet that all of the most successful brands will be finding ways to use AR and VR to appeal to an audience full of Gen Zers that love novelty, and marketers would be smart to continue using VR to do research.
Who is Using AR?
Augmented reality is already closely intertwining itself within social media, thanks in large part to Snapchat. As many companies have already discovered, AR and social work very well together.
Snapchat recently released several features called Shoppable AR. This feature allows brands to promote their websites, while consumers get to try out a brand’s products using a lens. Then the retailer is able to direct the consumer as to where they can purchase the product.
Snapchat has implemented AR in multiple ways, and, in fact, much of AR’s popularity can be attributed to Snapchat. Snapchat has been able to integrate AR features in ways that felt organic to users, instead of having to force AR down consumers’ throats. They were able to bring updates to life with AR filters, games that users can play with one another using Snappables, which are AR selfie games, and allow people to turn themselves into a 3D Bitmoji.
Facebook has also recently introduced the Facebook AR Studio, a very powerful tool for developers and artists who want to build their own interactive Facebook camera experiences. Soon, they’ll also have access to other Facebook products like Instagram and Facebook Messenger.
How Can Your Brand Use AR?
AR will continue to be a huge part of Social media, and brands and marketers, in particular, need to know the answer to this question if they are going to be at the forefront of AR in social media and find new ways to boost their sales.
As AR continues to develop and new features are offered, brands and marketers will have new ways to promote themselves, and their products or services, in unique, exciting and engaging ways. Here are just a few of the possibilities AR offer to creative brand and marketers:
AR Virtual Stores
A consumer can step into your virtual store, try out products, and buy them directly online.
AR Live Events
Your audience will be able to attend an event from the comfort of their own home
Your brand will be able to further engage with your audience by creating interactive AR videos. With these videos, you can show customers how to use your products or show them how to make them. If you are selling a service, AR videos can show your potential clients what they can expect to experience if they bought the service.
Build Brand Awareness with Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality is a great way to get your audience to engage with your business and build brand awareness. The number one thing to remember is that great AR experiences are highly shareable.
This means, if you create amazing AR experiences for your audience (such as lenses, games, and other interactive AR experiences), people will want to share the results with their audience. This shareability is incredible news for brands and marketers, as it’s basically word-of-mouth and UGC (user generated content) on steroids.
Augmented reality is already heavily linked to social media because of Snapchat and more recently, Instagram and Facebook. Not only are these social networks not showing any signs of neglecting AR innovation, but these top networks are also heavily encouraging people to not only use their AR features, but even to create their own AR experiences by giving the tools they need to build AR camera lenses and effects.
If you are eager to learn more about how augmented reality and social media can help you grow your brand awareness and improve sales, then you can enroll in our Digital Marketing School today! You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and visit our blog for more FREE training.