Although augmented reality ideas may be residing in the back of the minds of many marketing heads and social media agency directors, the possibilities of the new technology can bring numerous benefits. The concept of augmented reality is one that is lost on many people, but its appeal is nonetheless there for all to see.
Perhaps the first successful example of such marketing techniques can be seen in the "Hero" movie from Sweden, which takes an image of the user and uses it to portray them as a public hero within a video. Other examples of this have sprung up since, and the one that stimulated this post was the new "Your Team Your Dream" campaign from Sky Sports, which took me on a fantasy journey to becoming a world renowned professional footballer. Not something you'd see every day I hear you say. Here are a few examples of what augmented reality applications can achieve and bring to an overall marketing campaign:
1. It is unique / different (for the moment) - The novelty factor of such applications will obviously wear off as more and more are created and used, but for the meantime, the onus is on brands to make the most of this exciting technology and extend it from infancy. The possibilities of augmented reality are only just being explored, and any new developments are likely to achieve further exposure.
2. Personalisation - The concept of uploading your own media, such as the image in the above examples, helps to create a highly personalised piece of media for the user. It relates specifically to them, which is likely to be far more engaging than a standard video or image.
3. Virality - The novelty factor mentioned above will surely enhance users' desire to share their creation with their extended networks, and the fact that the content is personalised will only add to this.
4. Content - It's likely that the vast majority of users wouldn't possess the ability or expertise to create a complex video like the ones indicated in the examples above; augmented reality apps allow users to create a quality piece of content that they wouldn't otherwise be able to create themselves.
5. Interactivity maintains a viral loop - As well as being high quality, the content created by augmented reality applications is highly entertaining and in many cases fun. The element of surprise that is achieved when sharing such content makes for very entertaining viewing by other users, stimulating them to create their own version and share it once again, completing the viral loop.
Although the technology involved with augmented reality is still in it's infancy, I'd envisage that its development will be relatively quick, and will soon feature mobile technology on a much larger scale. However it evolves, it's likely that augmented reality will become a component of many digital PR and marketing campaigns in the future.