Augmented Reality and Social Media

Digital marketing is shifting focus in 2018 with new trends firing up you will not want to miss. In particular, emerging technologies like augmented reality will play a big role as customers demand a more personalized, integrated experience. Here is a look at augmented reality (AR) marketing and social media.

AR-Integrated Social Media

More people use mobile devices today as the devices themselves become more powerful and the apps integrate better with AR. Marketers will want to get in the game of engaging with their customers through AR before the competition does. Consider how using location targeting, mobile devices could trigger AR content for your brand that provides an amazing experience. Watch for platforms like Facebook and Instagram to integrate AR into their social media, attempting to captivate users like Pokémon Go did after it was released and downloaded more than 500 million times in 2016.

Who is Working on AR Integration?

Some of the largest companies in the world, such as Apple, Google, Facebook, and others, are working on AR integration. When you think of AR and social media, you might think of Snapchat’s face filters. These filters are at once recognizable, and when Snapchat launched them, AR features became immediately available to customers’ mobile devices.

Before Snapchat, however, Google Glass was at the forefront. Supposed to be game-changing technology, Google Glass allowed digital content to overlay on the world around consumers. But due to market conditions and its reputation as an elitist status symbol, coupled with the disconcerting secretive recording features, Google Glass failed.

Pokémon Go was wildly popular when it launched. At that time, AR integration into our smartphone usage became mainstream. Everyone was chasing characters through their neighborhoods while the drama played out on their phones. Smart social media marketers put AR in the hands of those who were most active on social media, creating the whirlwind effect that characterized the exponential growth of Pokémon Go. The app made a splash by turning your surrounding environment into a virtual playground. More importantly, it proved that AR was not limited to selfie filters like with Snapchat.

With the rise of Pokémon Go, AR and social media became natural extensions of our everyday lives, a strong sign that AR will not fade but is advancing and evolving.

The Future of AR on Social Media

AR brought changes to the way individuals share, communicate, and create content through social media. Consider how Snapchat is re-branding itself as a camera company while Facebook invests time, resources, and money into AR and virtual reality (VR). The forefront of discovering what AR can do for marketers is here.

Facebook is in the first phase of its Camera Effects Platform. Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, aims to develop a more robust AR element that puts the camera at the center of the AR experience. According to Chief Scientist of Oculus Research, Michael Abrash, they are almost a decade away from building AR glasses at Facebook.

Snapchat recently purchased AR startup Imagine Media. Add to that their success with Spectacles, which may be the next $5 billion tech product, and the fact they hired significant resources from the hardware space–perhaps their goals extend beyond Snapchat? Nevertheless, Snapchat filed a patent for “Image Based Tracking in Augmented Reality Systems.” This patent covers AR wearables such as a helmet, reality visor, glasses, and AR glasses attachment that would integrate with smartphones.

What Does This Mean for Marketers?

It is uncertain exactly how AR and VR will impact marketing in the years to come because companies file patents often for products that end up not getting developed. You can find unique and somewhat bizarre ideas buried in the patent archives. Snapchat’s patent, though, turns AR into information and images overlaid on the real world, supplemented with a wearable in real-time.

With Facebook and Snapchat focusing on AR in big ways, AR and social media are in line to burst on the marketplace soon. How marketers can use AR integrated with social media to engage customers on smartphones and mobile devices will transform the relationship between brand and customers. Even the New York Times has an augmented reality app that immerses visitors in current events around the world.

If you have attended any trade shows in the last several months, you have most likely sampled a wide variety of AR and VR experiences. Marketers using AR and VR have partnered with influencers to offer an augmented reality marketing experience to customers. For example, global automotive brand Castrol partnered with professional F1 driver Matt Powers and YouTube influencer Austin Evans to create a fully interactive driving experience. The YouTube video garnered almost 200,000 views in the first five days of release.

AR and VR let marketers place users at the center of an amazing experience. Perhaps users attend an exclusive event, tour a plant or resort, or try a new copy machine—all through an experience that augments their reality. Savvy brands will search for ways they can create these immersive experiences in their next augmented reality marketing campaign.

Are you ready to explore how harnessing the latest trends can enhance your company’s marketing?

Author: Emina Karic