How to Use Augmented Reality

Chris Burgess, head of professional services at Aurasma, shares advice and lessons learned from his time as an AR (Augmented Reality) creative director.

Aurasma Chris BurgessWith the popularity and success of Pokémon Go this year, AR seems to be top of mind for consumers and companies alike. Companies are eager to jump on the bandwagon to incorporate the technology and apply it across their business and communication channels.

As a creative director for a prominent AR technology company, I see many companies come to us with questions around what ROI they should expect from deploying it in their business. As with any new medium or technology, there seems to be a lot of confusion around what AR can and cant do.

Below are some lessons learned and general advice for anyone currently using augmented reality, or anyone thinking about trying out augmented reality.

The consumer education problem
Despite the rise of augmented reality apps and recent media hype, holding up your smartphone to view an AR experience is far from routine consumer behaviour. For companies and organizations launching programs with AR, consumer education is therefore key.

Clients I have worked with often forget about the time and effort needed to inform their consumers that augmented reality exists across their printed material, and marketing and education has sometimes become a hidden cost.

My advice to companies piloting AR: spend time on increasing awareness for your AR campaign, and help your audience understand how and why they would use AR.

The success of your AR campaign is largely dependent on how much thought and effort you invest into marketing and education around the technology. This could be as simple as including a call to action on your printed materials, ‘Hey! Scan me with this app to see me come to life’, or sending out a couple of tweets about your new snazzy AR-enabled product packaging, catalogue, or CD cover.

Any successful marketing campaigns needs eyeballs. Create awareness and extend your reach so your campaign and content can generate engagement.

Creating compelling augmented reality content
The initial ‘wow’ factor is easy to achieve, but getting people to stay engaged, and even coming back for more is the next challenge. Now you’ve got eyeballs, how do you keep people engaged? My role at Aurasma is specifically to work with clients to achieve this.

We have found that the most engaging and compelling campaigns reward customers for interacting with the AR experience. Experiences that are rewarding, with exclusive content like behind-the-scenes footage or character selfie opportunities, offering extra ways of using a product, or sweepstakes that offer customers a chance to win. These experiences should offer:

Reasons to stay: Offering customers exclusive content they cannot find online, while offering them multiple touch points inside the same experience will see the length of engagement increase significantly.

Reasons to share: Giving customers social capital for sharing. This has to be something that they will want to share and will get people posting, e.g. selfies with Disney characters or celebrities.

Reason to rescan: Offering the chance to win prizes using sweepstakes where each scan is a new chance to win, or coupons that customers can redeem in-store is a great way to get customers to come back again and again.

How do you measure an AR campaign?
Let’s talk about metrics. It’s important to be aware that AR won’t magically sell more items for you. It is simply a different communication medium (albeit an exciting and engaging one), much like any other marketing channel you might use to move your audience to the next stage in the conversion funnel.

Given this, the success of your campaigns largely depends on your content and overall business goals.

Trying to increase sales? Use an AR click-to-buy off a catalogue or direct mail. Measure clicks to your purchasing page and subsequent e-commerce sales. Does your AR campaign feature a virtual try-on? Measure engagement duration, colour/style options clicked, and screenshots taken.

Is your goal to generate leads off a print ad? Add a click to lead form and measure views and form submissions. Do you care about generating social media shares and buzz? Measure the number of photos and videos shared to social media. Include a hashtag to easily search from the other end.

Craft your content to be successful for the KPIs you care about. Success looks different for every company; just as different marketing campaigns prioritize different KPIs.

If you are considering incorporating AR into your business, don’t just ask yourself ‘what can augmented reality do for me?’ but ‘what am I using today to communicate with customers, and how can augmented reality add value to my existing marketing strategy?’

This sponsored article was written by Chris Burgess, head of professional services at Aurasma, and is editorially independent from Mobile Marketing Magazine