What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality is a technology that superimposes digital information like sound, video, and text onto your view of the real world.2
Think of Snapchat’s filters where, with the flick of a finger, you can take dog-eared selfies or swap faces with your BFF.
However, AR isn’t just for fun photos, it can be used brilliantly in mobile marketing to boost engagement and create realistic, virtual experiences with products.
Apps like IKEA Place allow shoppers to virtually see how a couch or lamp would look anywhere in their home so they can make sure it fits their space and aesthetic before they purchase.
As similar as they sound, augmented and virtual reality are very different technologies.
While augmented reality superimposes digital images onto a real picture or video, leaving the majority of the surrounding environment unaltered, virtual reality (VR) creates an immersive 3D experience.
Customers can easily access AR using only their smartphones, while VR requires additional equipment like goggles or headgear. Because of this, AR can reach a wider audience.
AR and VR can be used by marketers for both fun and informative initiatives. For example, a fashion brand may create a VR campaign that allows customers to “attend” their fashion show, or they could use AR to allow them to try on garments from their latest collection.
How Does Augmented Reality Work?
As futuristic as it may seem, augmented reality is actually quite simple to employ. Large tech companies like Apple are even creating AR toolkits to make development more accessible.
In most forms of AR, the user sees both natural and artificial light through a layering effect. The real world acts as the first layer. The camera recognizes the target, processes the image, and then augments digital assets onto that image. This layering effect is visible through the device, so users can see both the real and synthetic worlds at the same time.
These artificial layers are where mobile marketers can show off their skills by adding in virtual messages, signs, and objects to get consumers interacting with the app, and their brand, on a whole new level. Ray-Ban does this successfully with their “Virtual Try-On” feature where users can test out different lenses from the comfort of their webcam.