Augmented reality is gaining huge interest among online consumers, and social media platforms are investing in new ways to incorporate the technology. Here is how brands can leverage this emerging experience to boost engagement and increase sales.
Augmented reality (AR) is a live view of a real-world, physical environment with augmented elements created by computer-generated perceptual information. If that sounds a bit confusing, think of AR as computer-generated images superimposed over a user's view of the real world.
Unlike virtual reality (VR) which moves the user from his or her environment into a digital world; AR transforms the user's current environment by adding digital information to his or her line of sight. In essence, AR enhances reality, while VR replaces it.
While it may sound like science fiction, AR is already being used in a number of apps. Ikea Place, for instance, leverages AR to let users place virtual furniture into their homes to get a better idea of how everything will look once assembled. Sephora's Virtual Artist app also uses AR to let consumers see how certain beauty products will alter their physical appearances. The Dulux Visualiser app also uses AR to let people see how the walls in their homes will look with a specific color of paint. Lowe’s has also incorporated AR functionality into an app that lets users take real-life measurements of walls and furniture via the cameras on their smartphones.
With so much potential, it shouldn't be surprising to learn that AR is making inroads into social media, where people are always looking for fast, convenient processes. What began with humorous Snapchat face filters has now become a game-changing technology that promises to alter the way users create, communicate and share through social media.
The major social media platforms are already investing considerable funds into optimizing their AR capabilities. With social media giants making huge bets on AR, it's obvious that the technology has a bright future ahead of it. Since 60 percent of Americans are active social media users, it also makes sense for brands to understand how they can leverage AR to increase engagement with consumers.
Imagine, for instance, a scenario where a customer could try products using AR technology and make a purchase without ever having to enter a store. Big brands are already designing processes around this potential , since Augmented Reality users are projected to reach 200 million in 2018.
While AR technology appears to hold big promise for social media marketing, it could also serve to widen the competitive gap between smaller businesses and big brands, which are already investing millions of dollars in AR marketing campaigns. In turn, it's important for small companies to become more aware of AR technology and look for innovative ways to incorporate the technology into their social media campaigns and overall marketing strategies.