Augmented reality (AR) is no longer the ?Next Big Thing?, as if it is an immature, futuristic technology of tomorrow. Instead, it is a marketing solution that can be used right now.
Most of the articles out there focus on the potential augmented reality development has for marketing and sales. They?re assessing how it could be used in the future to engage and interact with loyal and potential customers, ignoring the strong results for both of these that are already available.
AR is already achieving fantastic results for marketers and businesses who have put this technology to work in a number of ways for their branded campaigns. Real profit has been enjoyed from major companies like IKEA and L?Oreal that have implemented AR into their advertising strategy. These and further case studies are available so that it?s easy to see what?s converting for the marketers of today.
What?s Augmented Reality?s ROI?
As with most marketing mediums, ROI is enhanced branding, engagement, increased awareness and the ultimate aim ? direct sales per dollar spent on marketing with this technology.
Traditional methods of purchasing media exposure in magazines, newspapers, and television still work, but the exact conversion rates and stats are estimates at best. It is impossible to be 100% certain that a customer purchased from you because of your billboard ad, rather than say, your radio spot.
AR allows engagement and conversion rates to be far more tangible and quantifiable than ever before. By incorporating infrared (IR) and/or AR to boost media, companies can receive exact data on their campaigns. Everything from how many people interact with their campaign to how long they interact for and the actions that result from these interactions (purchase, discount coupon, social shares, etc.) are measurable with this technology.
Higher Value Engagement
Whatever action that is taken from a smartphone, wearable or other device, AR apps can be triggered from the real world. In terms of m-commerce and direct response purchases, this means the whole journey can be tracked. When a web visit or video is needed, it can be delivered. If likes or coupon downloads are a campaign KPI, these can be exactly measured and reported.
The value to marketers and businesses of each AR engagement is much higher than that of traditional, ?physical? methods, for a few reasons.
Firstly, with pull-based apps, the prospect or customer has requested your content rather than stumbling across it. More importantly though, these interactions garner the subject?s full and undivided attention. You can?t ?blipp? and do something else, like you might with a radio ad, and it?s not just for a few moments, either. An average blip lasts around 75 seconds which is more than double that of TV and radio spots of roughly 30 seconds.
Secondly, compounding the effectiveness of these blipps is the social exposure and shareability of the content. 10% to 20% of blipps that are shared on Facebook and Twitter are seen by the hundreds of followers that each user has. As a result, your brand is immediately broadening its reach with every interaction.
Considering this, along with the detailed audience information received with each use, the engagement of AR has a much higher value than that of traditional advertising methods. Most campaigns include AR as a single element for engagement within a network of other options in which a direct purchase cannot always be made. Still, it cannot be denied that the value of each AR engagement is richer and unlike anything seen before.
Data to Refine Campaigns
AR doesn?t just provide enthusiastic engagement, provides further insight to marketers based on the data fed back to them. Tracking the details of engagement - how many people interact with their campaign, how often and when, how long they interact for and the actions that result from these interactions ? coupled with A/B testing will help companies to create their own best practice guidelines that can be used on future campaigns.
AR clients will also be able to track their success against brands that have gone before them, creating benchmarks for the industry and a library of best practices from which everyone can benefit.
Four Steps to Ensuring Robust ROI
Strong ROI for AR is not as difficult as you may think. Instead, it relies on content that is both promotional and supportive of your customer?s needs or wants.
1. Investment in well-thought-out content that connects with the customer to entertain, reward, or help them in some way.
2. Concise and easy to understand customer education and call-to-actions let consumers know that you have content available that can be interacted with.
3. Explicit strategies and targets supporting the marketing medium combination used for each campaign ? each platform in the mix will have a direct and varied impact.
4. Promotion through PR and social media.
One-off AR tests and using this technology for its novelty factor are tactics best left in the past. Pull-based AR solutions as part of a long term marketing strategy is the way of the future. The time for reaping ROI rewards from AR is already at hand.