Virtual reality has been touted as the next big step for digital marketing, but with adoption rates for VR devices still abysmally low, marketers need to settle for the next best thing. Augmented reality (AR) marketing is now seen as the middle-step between traditional advertising media and what the future holds.
The usage of AR is actually on the rise; with the Boston Consulting Group’s research into the subject showing that 1/3rd of smartphone owners are using AR at least once a month. The marketing opportunities that AR presents appear to provide new and enhanced ways for audiences to experience and interact with brand messaging.
During this week’s F8 conference, Facebook unveiled the next evolution of its AR options, with branded AR features now implemented into their popular Messenger app. As seen in their demonstration video at the bottom of this article, business can now craft unique digital experiences for audiences to interact with, try on or sample products before purchasing them.
This new features draws attention to the distinctive marketing potential for AR, and unlike Snapchat’s masks, is entirely designed for businesses to use. This shows the firm business focus of Facebook as they are eager to get big brands incorporating their messaging in AR experiences.
However, Facebook is not the first to introduce AR marketing on their platform, with Snapchat already using AR advertisements that place new cars in real world environments. The options on Messenger are not very different with car brand Kia being one of the early adopters.
Another example (shown in the demonstration video) shows a woman trying on new kinds of Sephora makeup using an AR mask and this is particularly interesting as it lets an audience directly try a product on themselves without going to a store or spending any money. This kind of use should get marketers brainstorming about how they can use the Messenger AR features to sell their products in unique and interesting ways.