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Why augmented reality advertising is the next big step for brands
3D and AR

Why augmented reality advertising is the next big step for brands

Written by

Rod Reynolds

|

December 15, 2023

Table of contents

TOC Example

Immersive technologies offer brands the ideal way to better connect with their customers, create memorable marketing experiences, and craft engaging customer journeys. With 3D and AR, marketers have a powerful new toolkit with which to inform, inspire, and delight their target audience.

Research by consulting giant McKinsey found that more than 71% of consumers expect some form of personalization in marketing communications today – with customers associating personalization with positive experiences of being recognized as “special” by brands they buy from. Immersive technologies such as 3D and augmented reality (AR) can play a key role in meeting this need, offering brands the ability to create engaging customer journeys and unique buyer experiences

How are companies using AR for advertising?

Brands use AR to layer digital content such as visuals and sound onto real-world surroundings, enabling users to interact with digital visualizations of products or objects. This makes for a more engaging experience than a traditional advert, where the consumer is a passive observer.

Companies can now enable consumers to trial or experience products directly as part of their advertising campaigns, offering virtual try-ons of clothes and accessories, recreating scenes and characters from TV shows in users’ living rooms, and allowing buyers to jump behind the wheel of a new car model. The conveniency and immediacy this offers makes for an effective way to create engaging customer experiences and leads to more confident purchasing decisions.

An example of 3D & AR product experiences, try the 'See in your space'

At the other end of the spectrum, businesses are engaging in hyper-local advertising through AR apps. Here, users can find nearby store locations just by holding up their camera and receive discounts and offers in-store.

Benefits of incorporating augmented reality advertising

The average consumer might be exposed to hundreds of adverts a day but will likely recall only a tiny fraction of them. As such, the challenge for brands remains the same: how to gain a customer’s attention, and how to make an impact. This is an even harder task in today’s digital world, where the proliferation of screens and touchpoints can be overwhelming. But it’s here that 3D and AR can offer brands a helping hand – in more ways than one:

Improving consumer reach

According to research by Deloitte, AR adoption is tracking smartphone usage, meaning that by 2025, 75% of the global population are forecast to be frequent AR users.  Of those already using the technology, 94% say they’ll use it the same amount or more in the future.

These numbers show that the market for engaging customer experiences is rising. And AR can help with this by providing immersive customer journeys no matter where the customer is located. This, in turn, helps brands reach out to a global audience.

Boosting sales while reducing returns

With AR technology, brands can offer an in-store experience to consumers from the comfort of their own homes. Shoppers can visualize products and interact with them by changing their position, color, material, and other attributes.  

This removes the guesswork from the online shopping experience, boosts sales, and reduces product returns, with research finding that 61% of online shoppers prefer sites offering AR technology.  

Improving brand perception

Augmented reality advertising makes brands appear innovative, forward-thinking, and exciting. Studies have found that 70% of consumers are more loyal to brands incorporating AR software in their customer journeys.

This demonstrates the critical role AR has to play in the future direction of retail. As such, by integrating AR ads into their business strategies, brands position themselves as future-facing market leaders.

Successful augmented reality ad campaigns: IKEA, Lucasfilm, Pepsi

In 2017, IKEA introduced a Christmas edition of their established AR platform. With their mobile app - IKEA Place - consumers could use their smartphone cameras to visualize how IKEA’s tree options would look in their own living rooms. The campaign drove user engagement by enabling customers to see the Christmas tree from different angles, and with a range of possible decorations.

A second example comes from entertainment giant Lucasfilm, who used AR to promote the second season of its Disney+ series “The Mandalorian” by allowing users to visualize characters and re-enact scenes from the show in their own homes. As well as creating a buzz around the upcoming series, the company kept fans engaged by releasing new AR content each week on what it branded “Mando Mondays.”

Finally, in 2014 Pepsi Max launched a campaign which saw bus stop poster sites transformed into AR screens. Designed to appear as if they were see-through, the screens projected attention-grabbing content such as UFOs and giant robots crashing through the streets. Pepsi Max saw sales rise by 35% YoY for the time the campaign was live, indicating the success of integrating augmented reality in their advertising.

How can brands get started with augmented reality adverts?

The most effective way for brands to create augmented reality ad campaigns is by teaming up with an expert technology partner such as Enhance, who specialize in crafting interactive customer experiences tailored to the product and its purpose. This includes 3D web-based AR projections, which power engaging on-site experiences and virtual showrooms, without the need for changes to existing websites or IT infrastructure.

Enhance helps integrate these AR experiences across different platforms, and their AR solution delivers a new level of granular audience data across a range of metrics, unlocking new insight into consumer engagement and campaign performance.  

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