Augmented Reality (AR) is no longer a science fiction. But, it is a reality. Years ago, we only saw it in those sci-fi movies, what Augmented Reality is actually performing today with a real-time blending of the virtual objects into the real-world environment.

Today, AR is easily accessible by most of the smartphone cameras and it has successfully moved to the mainstream. Even brands have started taking notice of it, in a big way.

It has been found in Deloitte report that almost 90 percent of the firms with annual revenue of $100 million to $1 billion have begun leveraging VR or AR technology. A poll conducted by Purch, for smaller firms, reveals that 10% of the marketers are utilizing AR, while 72% are planning to utilize it in the coming times.

Finally, businesses have come to the realization that AR has the potential to do much more than to just entertain. In fact, the early adopters succeeded to firmly establish AR’s potential, not just as a marketing channel but even as a brand differentiator. This technology provided them with a new level of speed, convenience and has left a lasting brand impression.

“AR has the potential to provide consumers with an experience they want and they will tell their friends about,” states Tony Effik, CSO at Publicis Modem.

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As indicated by Markets and Markets research, AR marker is estimated to reach $117.4 billion by the year 2022.

So, here we have discussed ways in which businesses can use augmented reality technology creatively in the arena of the advertising and marketing industries.

Create memorable & unique brand interactions: AR is a prominent technology that facilitates experiential and compelling brand interactions by overlaying virtual elements on top of real-world experiences. You must remember the extensive adoption of Pokémon GO as well as the super success of Snapchat filters and lenses. These are just two of the many examples of how brands successfully used AR to create new and exciting ways to connect with the customers. Hence, proved that cute characters & local marketing tend to be a powerful combination to attract people to the specific locations.

Focus on brand strategy: Regardless of what medium you choose, it is vital that messaging and brand’s strategy always tops the list of consideration in case of any marketing or advertising campaign. This clearly means that advertisers need to stay restrained along with being creative as it comes to bringing AR into the equation. They need to remain focused on highlighting the unique value of the service/product instead of the latest & cool effect.

Localized promotion: This is going to enable businesses to make profits with the localized promotion & creative stimulation of their clients in the nearby locations (or in the vicinity). You can make a lot of ideas turn into reality that’ll be specific to what your clients are normally doing around you and what kind of client you are searching for. Certainly, the tourism industry is going to benefit the most from it.

Product Placements: In high-traffic areas like Sana Monica Boulevard or Time Square, brands tend to spend tonnes of dollars on the marketing and marketing, however with Augmented Reality, the brands are offered a new mean to get in front of the potential users. Thus, it has become vital for the big brands to become a part of reality experienced in the new virtual or augmented worlds or they are chances of them being replaced by the new or imaginary, innovative marketers.

Plan Video Strategies with AR Technology: A number of enterprises have begun to use Instagram and Snapchat since the past few years and now with AR, they can go further and implement this technology into their current social media strategies. Like, they can add creative animations, filters, and interactions to everyday products and objects, as well as correlate to their brand values to enhance brand experiences. Thus, it goes without saying that AR can do wonders as it comes to taking the video strategies to an all new level.

Enable customers to view products in real-life settings: You can use your customers’ imagination to guide them as they experience the products offered by you virtually. Firms like IKEA and Lego have followed this route and has attained tremendous success. Both of the companies allow their users to scan a catalogue to view what the end product appears to like or how does it fit into your room. The simplicity offered by AR studios makes it accessible to more number of creative minds, who may help the bridging the experience gap in e-commerce platforms.

Extend enriching Live Experiences: Partnering with Instagram or Snapchat as part of the campaigns (think Kylie Jenner’s custom Instagram filter to promote her make-up brand) is proving to be a great usage of AR technology. It holds immense possibilities ahead, with the best part being how it augments real-life, without taking away from what the people are experiencing. Thus, it’s potential to extend the live experiences in such a way that it feels authentic and enriching.

Digital virtual element for brick and mortar shops: AR technology enables the marketers and agencies to come up with unique experiences for the buyers in brick & mortar shops, as it brings in the digital virtual element. When virtual tours are created in the stores, it will add an element of fun as well as will allow buyers to learn more regarding the products or services. Like, Jura has an AR app enabling the customers to try on the watches virtually and then compare the looks.

Use AR to tell a brand story: Basically, the job of the advertisers and marketers is to tell stories. With AR, they get a more engaging platform to tell the story thus directing the audience to game-like features, deeper content & also bringing consumers into the experience. As we all are trying to determine the ROI of AR, however, if we connect with the brand story and our owned properties, then it will get easier to start showing value via engagement & brand affinity.

Possibilities in third-dimension: In the case of the display network, usually, the ads are shown in the two-dimensional interface. However, with AR you get wide-ranging new possibilities in third-dimension. Earlier the viewers were able to see ads only once directly ahead of them, however, now they can see display ads in the peripheral vision. This technology allows for the more detailed advertisements, owing to the higher pixel and display size ratio seen in the AR as compared to 2D monitors.

Experiment AR technology with as many clients: Agencies can benefit greatly from experimenting with this new technology with as many clients as they desire on wide-ranging small projects. This paves way for great and exciting opportunities to learn about the AR’s benefits, capabilities & issues before they invest in a larger scale project.

Facilitate Customer Journey: Augmented Reality makes it easier for shoppers to take actions to post their interaction with the technology. Hence, if that’s what you target with your market campaign that stays assured that AR will do wonders. As we mentioned above, IKEA is the best example of the same. All you need is to find a way to integrate AR experience with your traditional and online commerce channels. This is what IKEA did with their AR catalog known as IKEA Place.

Their Place mobile app allows users to pick items from the IKEA furniture range and then ‘try out’ the 3D scale representation of these items by placing them in the photos taken on their mobile phones or tablets. Now if users like how a virtual item appears and fits in the real-world setting, they can then use the same app to reserve that actual item and then head to IKEA’s local website to place the order.

Hence, it is clear that the AR technology offers immense opportunities in the arena of marketing and advertising. Meanwhile, there are certain limitations as well, which we have mentioned below:

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Challenges faced by AR technology in the arena of Marketing

Once your objectives are clear for the AR-driven advertising, it’s then time to ensure that your team is well-aware of challenges that might come in the way and how to overcome them. Three of the primary challenges have been mentioned here and they should definitely feature in your preparations for AR marketing:

Platform Readiness:Most of the mobile devices which are being used by the people at moment, except the latest iPhone & flagship Android smartphones, lack the capability to unlock the full potential of AR. This certainly limits a part of your audience that can well appreciate the latest levels of Augmented Reality sophistication.

This issue relates to both platform software and hardware, specifically for the Android users, as at any one time, the percent of devices that run the latest software version is less and in order to access most advanced AR technology they would need nothing less than Android version 7.0 (Nougat).

Meanwhile, mobile device graphics proficiency & other onboard components are constantly enhancing. Even Deloitte has predicted that by the time 2018 ends, the major part of a billion smartphones is going to have the necessary software & hardware to support the high-quality AR experiences.

User Adoption: AR software overlays digital data onto a person’s view of the real world, hence it needs to be delivered via some hardware that has this feature of visual functionality. However, this may change in the future if projected holograms turn into a reality. But, in the meantime, marketers do need to invest in these types of hardware which were Pepsi used for public-delivery AR campaigns or to create app-based experienced that can be accessed by people on the personal mobile devices.

However, as the experience goes with most kinds of the mobile marketing, this dependence on the apps may tend to pose certain obstacles. As, here, the business requires persuading people to download these apps. Thus, prior to using AR for product/service marketing, you’d need to have a strategy to advertise the AR concept and market the AR apps to your target audience.

Development Complexity:Does your firm have an in-house development team, if yes, then does it also include the AR developers? You need to understand the fact that AR apps are not most straightforward to create, even though the process has turned easier with the recent launch of Google’s ARCore SDKs and Apple’s ARKit.

In order to create apps which are compatible with older versions of Android and iOS, then you’d need people with great knowledge of coding skills needed to create AR software. If you lack internal resources, then you will need seeking help from a development firm that specializes or has immense experience in Augmented Reality software engineering.

Once you have understood the challenges, find a strategy that minimizes their impact. Meanwhile, one thing that shouldn’t be a cause of concern is whether your audience is all set to engage with your brand via augmented reality. As per a survey by Accenture, it was found that 61% of consumers are keen on using AR technology for the augmented cloth fittings, and 54% are keen on using this technology for shopping in general. This certainly is favorable in terms of using AR in marketing.

Evidently, your customers are ready to interact with your brand via AR, and even though device capability may still be a limiting factor, for now, that’s certainly a temporary issue. Thus, the only question that remains is whether your business is ready for it. In case, you are contemplating to integrate this technology, then this is the best time to begin.

Choosing an Augmented Reality App Development Company

It is vital to choose the right firm for your Augmented Reality mobile app development process. It is advised to go with a firm that offers quality in its services and consists of a team that is skilled in the AR development.

Meanwhile, various factors affect the cost of AR app development , such as features, complexity, business model, platforms (Android or iOS, or both) and also the region. Yes, the AR app development rates will vary according to the region the app development agency is based in. Like in the US & Canada, they charge from $40-$240/hour, and in Western Europe, it is $40-$180, whereas $25-$70 in Eastern Europe. Meanwhile, in India, they charge $5-$70.

Ultimately, as all the above factors are considered, the average AR app development cost in all probability is certain to cost somewhere around $30000-$150,000. However, in extreme cases, it may even reach $2,500,000 (mostly in case of the game app).

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