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AR advertising is a mobile ad unit that uses the smartphone camera to superimpose 3D assets, such as game characters and scenarios from the advertised game, onto the user’s real-world surroundings. AR ads can run on both iOS and Android in-app traffic, within rewarded video and display placements.

Augmented reality (AR) has already become a buzzword in the world of technology. It’s difficult to find someone who’s never heard of Pokémon GO, a bestselling AR mobile game played by millions of people all over the world.

However, AR isn’t just about games. It goes far beyond gaming and entertainment. AR has breathtaking prospects in many industries, from education to healthcare to construction. Now AR has come to advertising, and it’s going to change the way the digital advertising market functions in 2020.

AR makes advertising interactive, allowing marketers and advertisers to reach out to consumers in totally new ways. Many companies have already embraced this cutting-edge technology. If you still aren’t sure whether it’s worth going for, you should clearly realize what benefits augmented reality advertising provides and how exactly you can use this technology in real life.

Reasons to Adopt Augmented Reality in Advertising

The modern world is a digital world: according to a report by We Are Social, there are almost 4.5 billion active internet users globally. There’s plenty of work for advertisers and marketers. No wonder the digital advertising market is booming: worldwide spending on digital ads is expected to grow from 283 billion in 2018 to $517 billion by 2023.

And though augmented reality ads have been used mostly by early adopters so far, they’ll become more popular soon as the number of AR users rises. Statista forecasts that AR market size worldwide will increase from roughly 3.5 billion in 2017 to more than 198 billion in 2025.

There are several major reasons why the future of advertising belongs to AR ads; let’s go over them.

Emotional Connection

Augmented reality ads are immersive, which means they help marketers create a certain emotional connection with customers. Unlike images or banners, for example, AR ads are interactive and lifelike: consumers can see and even interact with them.

Imagine, for instance, an eye-catching billboard advertising a just-released movie. Now think of the magic AR can do: passers-by point their smartphone cameras at the billboard and watch the trailer on their smartphone screens. Which of these two strategies (a billboard or an AR ad) is likely to incite more interest? No doubt, most customers will opt for an AR ad.

Interacting with AR ads, consumers feel like they’re playing an engaging video game. This builds an emotional connection with customers, encouraging them to make purchases. Needless to say, an emotional connection is a great tool for increasing brand awareness. People better recall brands they have positive associations with, so AR ads are perfect not only for promoting sales but also for building a company’s reputation.

This strategy was used in the Arctic Home Campaign by Coca-Cola and the World Wide Fund. The campaign, aimed at the protection of polar bears and their natural habitat, included an augmented reality event at the Science Museum in London. Visitors could see themselves interacting with virtual animals in their natural environment. This event helped the Coca-Cola company create deep emotional connections between people and the brand.

Money-Saving Advertising

Though digital ads are extremely popular, traditional print ads are still far from obsolete. There are many print magazines with catchy images advertising a whole spectrum of goods and services. However, placing ads in popular print magazines can be rather expensive.

Augmented reality advertising is usually more affordable and far more immersive than print advertising. Of course, the price for an AR ad varies depending on its quality: a simple AR ad can cost around $5,000 to develop, while a sophisticated AR campaign with eye-catching graphics may amount to $100,000.

There are two major types of augmented reality: marker-based and location-based. AR ads can be built with the help of either of them.

Marker-based AR ads require a marker (i.e. a target image) that customers scan with their smartphone cameras to bring virtual content to life.

Location-based AR ads don’t require any markers (so there’s no need for a print image), as they overlay virtual content based on a user’s location (with the help of GPS).

Launching an AR advertising campaign is usually a lot cheaper than placing a print ad in a bestselling print magazine. Moreover, the same AR application can be used for many campaigns.

Boosting Sales

Augmented reality ads aren’t the only way of promoting products or services. AR offers other ways for marketers and advertisers to increase sales volumes: virtual try-on.

Imagine coming across a conventional advertisement for, say, sunglasses. You see nice pictures of the glasses, but can you be sure they’ll suit you? This isn’t a problem if augmented reality technology is used: you’ll be able to virtually try on a number of glasses and choose the ones you like the most.

Needless to say, consumers can try on many other items with AR: shoes, clothing, jewellery, watches, and more. This makes AR ads a powerful tool for driving sales and increasing revenue.

Improving Hyperlocal Advertising

Digital ads use advanced machine learning algorithms to analyze user behaviour and interests in order to recommend the right products and services to the right people. Augmented reality ads offer marketers an even better opportunity: advanced hyperlocal advertising.

Unlike traditional hyperlocal ads that, for example, tell customers about establishments such as cafes and outlets, AR hyperlocal ads are truly immersive as they can show objects right on a smartphone’s screen. This way, customers are not only informed about places that might be interesting to them but are guided there as well.

AR ads are, therefore, extremely useful for business owners and can help them attract more customers.

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