Billboards have become passe. Radio has evolved into podcasts. Video streaming has taken over television. If you look at the world through the eyes of an 80-year old advertiser, the ground in advertising has shifted. The world of advertising is not what it used to be a few decades ago.
What is the propelling power behind this radical change in advertising? undeniably, digital technologies. Search engines. Mobile apps. Cognitive computing. Immersive realities. A combination of all these technologies and many others have contributed to the evolution of advertising.
Instagram was launched in 2010. Almost a decade later, today, it has close to 1 Billion monthly active users. If you are not active on Instagram you are missing out to connect with the world at large and their infinite newsfeed of filtered and “no-filter” images. Like Instagram, other apps like YouTube, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc. have also turned everyday phone users into ravenous media consumers and producers.
In fact, programmatic advertising where automatic buying of ads happens on a real-time basis is expected to touch 57.36 Billion USD in 2019. After all, if you are a marketer you would want to capitalize on the ongoing mad rush of media consumption.
As it is here that Augmented Reality fits in like a precision-engineered cogs and gear setup.
Augmented reality — a new form of media reality
Advertising and augmented reality. How do they both fit in? What does AR have that advertising needs?
The prime purpose of advertising is to give contextual information. Without contextual information, any advert is meant to lose relevance. Unfortunately, delivering contextual information has remained the biggest challenge of advertisers since ages. Cramming in all the highlight features and must-buy reasons for a product in a few character-long copywriting is easily said than done.
When contextual information has to be delivered in short spurts of content, advertisers often resort to jargon usage, which is a sure recipe for disaster. To quote David Ogilvy — the mad man of advertising, “Our business is infested with idiots why try to impress by using pretentious jargon.”
Is there a channel to deliver contextual information for mass consumption without using jargons? Augmented reality it is.
Augmented reality is touted as a new form of media which can reduce the cognitive overload that users often have in this digital age. There is too much information available online which makes them lose track of the big picture.
But, with augmented reality, advertisers can deliver contextual information in easily digestible formats that have high recall value as well. All the three pain areas of advertising addressed in a single shot.
Augmented reality encapsulates large chunks of information into tiny snippets that are visually easy to see and understand. For example, you can point your smartphone camera at a restaurant and get instant updates about star ratings, customer reviews, and much more. The best example is the Yelp Monocle.
Human beings are visual creatures. Studies conducted by 3M have found that humans process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. This makes users engage with visual data more than any other form of data, including textual data.
Also, in the past few years, the amount of visual data created would easily surpass the amount of textual content created in the past century. What can we infer from these statements? Augmented Reality, which is both visual and textual in nature has the capability to heighten user engagement. It has a magnetic pull that will both amuse users and also hook them to the content.
Isn’t that what every advertiser strives for? In advertising terms, this heightened engagement and ability to recall a brand name is referred to as brand recall. That summarizes why Augmented Reality will be the lynchpin of advertising in the days to come.
What Benefits Will Augmented Reality Bring to Advertising
Thanks to the Pokemon Go game, Augmented Reality has been recognized as a platform for building games. However, AR more to it than just gaming. From healthcare to construction, and advertising, it can positively influence several industries and their functions. At the present moment, it is Facebook and Snapchat who are dominating the AR offerings. Both the social media apps have their own AR features which are increasing in adoption on a daily basis. Will it have any impact on advertising? Studies by eMarketer found that global Augmented Reality ad revenues are expected to top $2 Billion by 2022.
What benefits will augmented reality bring to warrant such big-ticket investments?
Broadly, there are three major benefits that augmented reality will bring to advertising.
- Immersive media experience
- Innovative brand image
- Repeat engagement
- Immersive Media Experience
Augmented reality forms part of the mixed reality, a suite of technologies that bridge the gap between physical and digital worlds. It gives users an immersive experience that gives them digital experiences in a real-world physical environment. The novelty of experiences makes them pay close attention and stay hooked to the content (or advertisement).
Innovative Brand Image
Innovation requires stepping out of the usual path and doing things as they have never been before. For example, selling a limited edition of sneakers through street signs (Nike). Or giving self-service car manuals that require no technical interference to understand (Hyundai). Brands that devise Augmented Reality advertisements are assured to attain an innovative brand image.
The thrill of engaging with augmented reality is so high that once is not enough. If you can recollect, the Pokemon Go game made people so eager to find virtual avatars in random places where they will never think twice before going. Repeat engagement, which is every marketer’s prime challenge is and augmented reality crushes with unimaginable might. The success stories of Coca Cola, Nike, Audi, all prove how augmented reality can ensure repeat engagement of advertisements.
The success of an advertisement can be measured in three ways. First, the initial reaction it creates in the target audience. Second, the prolonged attention it manages to receive from users. Third, attention turning into a strong emotion to make a purchase. When all these three goals are achieved by a single technology, doesn’t it deserve to be called the lynchpin of future advertising?