AR Advertising 101: What Marketers Need to Know

Augmented reality is growing rapidly, with revenue estimated to reach a staggering $14 billion in 2021, according to ARtillry research. This boom presents an exciting opportunity for marketers. Consumers are hungry for engaging, well-executed extended reality (XR) ad experiences that provide utility, enhance reality and create meaningful connections with brands. Plus, AR experiences can be easily accessed through mobile devices, and widespread rollout of 5G promises increased connection speeds.

But as AR marketing grows in popularity, questions remain about best practices and what the future holds. Here are some of the most common.

What industries are best suited for AR ads?

Nearly all industries can engage consumers through AR ads, with strong campaign examples from auto to entertainment.

However, retail has been the earliest mover. The AR utility that allows shoppers to bring the store into their home is astounding. It enables them to visualize products in their own space. That’s a new value that the in-store experience can’t currently deliver.



Home Depot and Pottery Barn are two examples of retailers seeing great success with AR campaigns. Both brands have seen consumers interacting with their AR ads for an average of 2+ minutes. Compare this to the standard engagement time of 13.14 seconds.

What might hinder AR marketing adoption?

AR software has become increasingly accessible for advertisers, allowing creative, meaningful experiences with a lower barrier to entry. Many marketers are pressing the accelerator on AR.

Still, there is a lack of standards and tools for AR development and deployment. The first viable AR SDK, ARKit for iOS, was released last year.

In February, Google released its first-generation AR SDK, ARCore for Android. The inflection point for mass scale really kicked off with Apple and Google making SDKs widely available to the developer community.

It will take time to build the framework to gain marketers’ trust for this new medium and to develop the strategy for how best to execute with consumers. AR advertising technology and content partners need to commit to creating a framework that reduces the technical burden for marketers and helps drive scale more broadly. Plus, consumers are still learning about AR technology and available experiences. Now, there needs to be a focus on producing content and experiences so we see mass adoption.

How can brands measure AR ROI?

Brands can easily measure AR activations through number of clicks and time spent. What’s exciting is that AR will soon offer a unique set of engagement metrics that further enhance our understanding of the user experience.

For example, object rotation and movement of the device around an object show whether a user is interested in seeing the interior of the car versus the headlights in an auto campaign, or if she is walking around the room to see multiple angles of the chair she just placed in her living room as part of a retailer’s AR experience.

AR also offers direct engagement with a brand and creates utility and a possible next step in the user-brand relationship: product purchase. In this capacity, AR adds to a brand’s always-on media strategy.

XR technologies, like AR, are the next wave of the internet and brands are getting on board. Innovations in visual positioning, 3D scene recreation, and other XR advancements will enable endless marketing possibilities. And the advent of 5G will support these experiences even further. Imagine watching a movie trailer unfold on the street as you walk by, then skipping the ticket line by choosing your seats through a virtual kiosk. By enhancing everyday activities, AR will be a driving force for commerce, sports and entertainment

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