Activation Without Obstacles: AR Makes Immersive AffoRdable & AppRoachable
Three words most people dislike: “Download this app.” It’s a hassle and takes up phone space. So when brands were telling you about the “awesome experience” you could have in Augmented Reality (AR) once you installed a dedicated app on your mobile device, the results were never spectacular. Now, two platforms (8th Wall and ZappAR) enable brands/organizations to get users to step into an immersive experience simply by scanning a QR code with a camera app. The technology has been dubbed WebAR and is responsible for causing engagement and conversion rates to skyrocket. An exaggeration? Not at all: according to data collected by 8th Wall, 94% of AR viewers recommended an experience to friends. A NY fashion brand’s AR experience led to 400% more sales in just four minutes. AR is an immersive technology that leads to a bonafide “Oh, wow!” effect.
In the post-Corona era, WebAR could not have come at a better time. VR headsets still offer unparalleled immersive experiences, but they take more commitment. The Hololens remains amazing, but at $3K a pop, is not accessible. Campaigns built around a “Bring Your Own Device” approach, however, lower the threshold for access; 3.4 billion people worldwide already own a smartphone. Activating an audience takes less push if people are equipped with their very own touch screen.
WebAR technology is literally at their users’ fingertips. And with it, AR has the unique ability to transform objects, the user’s environment, or even users themselves into an immersive world. It gives brands/organizations a technology which their audience can instantly manifest extraordinary digital experiences with only a few taps. Not wasting any time, intrepid marketers have found ways to deploy AR and take advantage of the way it boosts engagement (again, not exaggerating). A Sony Pictures’ WebAR experience had users dwelling in the experience for a full five minutes. Compare that with any typical website bounce statistic.
AR also gives brands/organizations the chance to give richer details and deepen ties. W-in-a-Box is a brand that is putting water in cartons instead of polluting plastic bottles. With a snap of the QR code, an entire story is revealed on the user’s smartphone—and within the user’s own context. If W-in-a-Box is placed on your fancy Nordic kitchen table, the story unfolds atop your fancy Nordic kitchen table. If W-in-a-Box is on your Post-It-papered office desk, then the story unfolds on your Post-It-papered office desk. WebAR allows the product to become the medium. And as the W-in-a-Box video shows, the storytelling and information sharing can be more profound, more elaborate and more colorful than four sides of a carton will allow. Plus, when the experience happens in your own environment, it feels more personal, more relevant. It is easier to forge a better bond.
Marketers are awakening to the financial benefits. Considering that ads that play during the SuperBowl net a 10-15% sales increase during the eight weeks following (provided there’s no competitors), Pepsi’s decision not to run SuperBowl ads was noteworthy. After 23 years of being part of the annual American football tradition, Pepsi cut back their ad spend and focused solely on the half-time show which featured 12 minutes of a musical performance by The Weekend. Pepsi enhanced The Weekend’s appearance by using WebAR. Viewers could enter a portal that popped them into the same tunnel The Weekend was trying to sing his way through during the half-time show. (With or without AR, the legendary tunnel was so mesmerizing/terrifying it lived on as a popular Instagram/TikTok meme afterwards). The reason marketers are including AR into their 360° plans is it creates a new dimension previously untapped, going from watching a 2D flatscreen to experiencing a 3D environment. Incidentally, the combined exposure and multi-dimensional experience netted The Weekend 358% more in sales post SuperBowl.
On this side of the Atlantic, yondr created a WebAR experience for an international consultancy firm. The firm wanted to communicate their internal strategy to their employees in a way that would actually resonate. The AR experience was designed for internal use only, but it created an “out-of-this-world” themed experience linked to the company’s values. The consultant became an explorer and had the chance to dive deeper into the messaging, far beyond what any PowerPoint or employee handbook could convey. With the shift towards more remote working, WebAR made even more sense because it seamlessly integrated the user’s universe with the firms’.
With the exceptional engagement potential, massive reach, no software or app download requirement, and proven results, it is no surprise that, according to Accenture, 64% of leading consumer brands are starting to invest in immersive experiences. The numbers have shown why: Augmented Reality is a powerhouse of an engagement multiplier. Ask the folks at yondr how you can include web-based augmented reality to successfully activate your audience.