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Huge investments in AR: What does it mean for marketers?

by Dominyka Vaičiūnaitė

November 5, 2021

Almost 5 billion people are actively using social media. Out of that, there are 0.81 billion augmented reality (AR) users this year. Because of the promising start, businesses continue to implement AR in novel ways. This time, Facebook and Snapchat have come up with some exciting new products (and names).

But the fundamental question remains: what’s in it for marketers?

Status quo: Facebook and Snapchat examples

Snapchat pioneered the use of AR technology with 'World Lenses' in 2017. However, much has changed since then, and more social media platforms are now leveraging it.

Snapchat’s new baby is Arcadia - a global creative studio for branded AR. It will cater as an advertising platform, but the main focus will be AR. It will allow marketers to:

  • Create branded AR infused ads;
  • Record and launch AR ads on any social media platform;
  • Directly talk to AR experts for advice and guidance on creating AR ads.

This is a predominantly B2B approach. Aiming to cater to brands guarantees catering to agencies too. Adding AR services to your marketing agency portfolio becomes an increasingly viable strategy to land more clients as interest grows and AR tool prices drop.

Then there’s Facebook - now rebranded as Meta - and dropping not only cool new features but the promise of the metaverse future with AR as a centrepiece.

Facebook Messenger introduced AR features. It’s a library with more than 70 Group Effects, AR games, and AR effects and sounds. As Facebook states, ‘Group Effects provide a more interactive way to connect with your friends, and it also supports the creator community by giving people more ways to express themselves’.

This can be called a B2C approach. Appealing directly to the users of Messenger and Facebook, Meta is fighting for the ultimate money-maker: user attention. And attention is what agencies need to provide marketing services with substantial KPIs.

AR explosion

Mark Zuckerberg spent $10 billion to transform the social network, Facebook, into a metaverse company. Amazon launched AR view in 2017, Google Maps AR in 2019, and Apple included lidar sensors embedded in the iPhone camera in 2020. Why the buzz?

  • 83.1M of consumers in the US used AR monthly in 2020;
  • 61% of consumers say they prefer retailers with AR experience;
  • 71% of consumers say they would shop more often if they used AR;
  • 1 billion people use AR apps every day;
  • It is projected that in 2024 there will be almost 2 billion mobile AR users

In short, there are many eyeballs on the screen with more potential customers for brands to sell to.

State of AR marketing

So what can marketers get out of AR? As mentioned above, there are two fundamental factors that augmented reality brings to the table:

  • Accessible and affordable tools;
  • User attention (i.e. time spent using and engaging with content on social media).

Ultimately, both are monetizable - and it shows.

Goodfirms.co lists 493 studios that build AR/VR systems. These range from games and apps, to e-commerce solutions, to large-scale projects for architects, events and more.

On the agency side of things, AgencySpotter.com has come up with a list of 57 agencies that already provide services related to AR. An overarching focus of these agencies is the “immersive experiences” for businesses. From simple solutions, like Estée Lauder and their AR campaign, to expansive projects like VR experiences of companies’ shops and locations.

Note: AR and VR come hand-in-hand and are always used interchangeably. That’s not strictly speaking correct, but it’s a story for another time.

Social networks are smelling the money here. By opening up their platforms and services for more AR implementation, they’re inviting both developers and agencies to invest their money and efforts. In return for their investment, they’re offering their large user bases - and potential customers - with AR as another marketing channel.

Question: How many ICPs did our AR campaign bring in this month? Would you be interested in answering that to your client?

Future of AR marketing

Much like influencer marketing became a must-have, AR is following the same trajectory. Ad revenues from AR marketing are projected to reach $2.86B in 2022 (now standing at $1.98B) and $6.68B in 2025. No wonder social media platforms are investing heavily.

Facebook’s shift to Meta is a clear signal this is where the future is headed. Marketers should take the opportunity to add AR to their portfolio as soon as possible. This is no longer hype, but a very real tool and a strong marketing channel that needs to be exploited.

Tags

marketing
Social Media
social media advertising
Augmented Reality Marketing
augmented reality
AR experience