While it is true that marketers have been playing with augmented reality for years, industries such as construction, medicine, and architecture have widely embraced it wholeheartedly in their ways of working, with enormous success. Yet some brands still don’t go much further than surface fun and gimmicks.
Now this “just for fun” technology is coming of age. And he brings the receipts.
A study predicted that AR’s overall value would reach nearly $ 89 billion by 2026, up from $ 14 billion in 2020, and many others are predicting the same.
Clearly, the tide is turning and it won’t be long before AR is at the heart of a media plan. But how many creatives and brand marketers really know what to do with it and what do we need to do to make it happen?
Countryside brought two creative leaders to a virtual conversation to find out more. Laurent Simon, Creative Director at VMLY & R and Imogen Tazzyman, Executive Creative Director at McCann Manchester, spoke about their experiences with AR in marketing, the opportunities it brings and why now is the time to embrace it.
The game has changed
While brands haven’t experimented with augmented reality in a while, it’s important to understand how far it has evolved since the early days, Tazzyman immediately acknowledged.
“I remember seeing a very first try of virtual augmented reality and thinking: ‘this is going to be amazing’. But it wasn’t quite there yet; the technology was not yet at the stage of making the experience truly believable. But I knew that when technology caught up, the possibilities for AR were going to be huge. And I think that’s where we are now. I think a lot of people don’t realize how far things have evolved and the opportunities available to us.
Simon agreed: “It was already clear to me in those early stages that AR could connect with people on a different level. [compared with other media]. I knew it was more than just a gadget, but it just took a little while.
“It’s like we’re here now and at a stage where the conversations around AR are changing. In particular, the pandemic has fueled a huge adoption of AR and really pushed it, as brands searched for alternatives to provide consumers with physical experiences.
“I don’t mean to say that he’s matured yet, because I think there is still more to come, but we are at a point where we have the numbers, the statistics and the facts, as well as the experience, to be supported in a media plan now, so it is easier for brands to see the benefit of adding it to their campaign.
“We have the figures, statistics and facts, as well as the experience, to back it up with a media plan now”
Laurent Simon, Creative Director, VLMY & R
Attention and immersion
One of AR’s main selling points is its ability to grab an audience’s attention and engage them longer than more traditional advertising methods.
“AR, when done right, is a lot more powerful and a lot more engaging than most advertising mediums,” Simon said. “And that’s because you’re interacting with your image and the world around you, so it’s totally immersive.
“As a consumer, you are given the tools to play with and you decide what the end result looks like. As a brand, you are in the unique position of having your audience interact with your brand organically; to make them play with your ethics, your values, your product, within their personal space.
“It’s extremely valuable when it comes to brand loyalty and connection, both long and short term – and Snapchat as a platform is doing its best. “
Tazzyman agrees and believes that making your brand part of a conversation is a key way to build a lasting relationship with your audience.
“Self-expression is a rite of passage for every generation at some point in their life, and AR has just opened up a whole new world of possibilities, especially for Gen Z,” she says. “While previous generations may have done it through music or fashion, Gen Z can experiment a lot more with the use of AR, especially with Snapchat.
“Instantly, they can play with the way they want to express themselves, without commitment. As a brand involved in this, you are not only engaging with your audience but giving them that very powerful sense of belonging as they create their own content with you at the center. It’s not you forcing something on them or hindering something they prefer to do. You’re part of an authentic conversation, and I think it’s super powerful.
“As a brand, you give a strong sense of belonging because your audience creates their own content with you at the center. “
Imogen Tazzyman, Executive Creative Director, McCann Manchester
Tazzyman continued, “We know that with Gen Z, three-quarters believe their generation will be the one to change the world. And the AR lenses on Snapchat really allow them to build the world they want to see. is everything from the labor market to the fight against social injustice.
“This is why Snapchat AR is such an amazing way to demonstrate your brand’s purpose, because we know this generation doesn’t really engage with brands that don’t do the right thing. So if you can bring your brand’s purpose to life through something that’s going to really engage and connect with them, it’s going to stay with them. They’ll remember your brand’s message, and when the time comes, they’re more likely to come along with you, in the end.
When it comes to converting sales from AR experiences, progress has been made towards an even smoother experience.
Shopify links have been added in the Snapchat ad format, to facilitate this purchasing path where applicable. However, Simon and Tazzyman agree that focusing on AR simply as a fast track to ROI is shortsighted and misses the deeper value and long-term success it can bring.
“While some AR users may not be spending huge amounts of money right now, it’s important to start building a relationship with them anyway,” Tazzyman said. “They will be entering the workforce very soon, which means they will have money to spend in the not too distant future. If you’re not a brand they’re already committing to, then you’re probably going to be missing out.
Simon nodded, “If they’re not your customers yet, they will be tomorrow.” So to not miss the boat, you have to invest now. You have to show your face in their world and show them that they matter. Doing it through AR is one of the most exciting ways to bring your brand to life and create an experience that lasts.
“Investing in AR is about ensuring the survival of your business. It’s that simple.”
Ommy Akhigbe and Clara Bacou are among a select group of creators and developers from around the world who are collaborating to create new Snapchat AR lenses.
“We are living in a unique time where we can help shape and define the products of the future. “
My name is Ommy and I go through @autonomy in the metaverse. I am a creative technologist. Much of my work is focused on lengthening the lifespan of clothing through augmented reality and creating digital “skins” for contextually or user-customizable clothing.
For me, the future of AR is frictionless – and part of a paradigm shift where augmented reality is based on everyday utility as opposed to novelty – where contextual technology is able to facilitate the daily life of a user.
The platforms are transparent enough with their plans to create new interfaces and hardware to support the next generation of computing and emerging technologies – with AR glasses at the forefront of that.
What should brands do about it? Experiment and explore a range of different use cases. Social AR is especially useful because it allows you to create AR experiences where users are currently – and intend to share and tell stories – on social platforms.
Integrating AR into product activations and campaigns and working closely with platforms and subject matter experts is my best recommendation. We live in a unique time where we can help shape and define the products of the future.
Discover on Snap: @autonomy
“Lenses (and filters) are the ultimate personalized ads because they introduce the user first, which makes the experience always relevant to them. “
I’m Clara, a director at Partizan and a 3D / AR artist with expertise in rendering 3D images, art direction and creating AR Lens. My public work includes mixed reality, animation, and augmented reality projects for Snapchat, Spectacles 3, Universal, Spotify, Cartoon Network, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Coach, League of Legends, and Honor. My goals have been presented in Forbes, Adweek, Elite Daily, The Verge, among others, and specializes in 3D, beauty and character.
The use of AR and the understanding of its usefulness will only grow.
AR will only become more integrated into the world around us thanks to future advancements in AR technology, such as the increasingly intelligent technology of cameras on phones and, to take it even further, glasses. AR.
What should brands do about it? Brands should recognize the potential of the number of additional people they can reach through Social AR through its success in the relationship first with the user. Social AR allows users to interact directly with brands in a way that puts the user at the center of a story.
Lenses (and filters) are the ultimate personalized ads because they introduce the user first, which makes the experience always relevant to them.
Find out on Snap: @Clara Bacou