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Augmented reality is where it's at

News, 18 January 2016

LONDON: Virtual reality (VR) may be grabbing all the publicity but augmented reality (AR) is where marketers can make the most gains, an industry figure has said.

Writing in the current issue of Admap, Liz Faber, a digital strategist at SapientNitro, argued that VR was a total immersion technology that lends itself to deeper gaming and entertainment experiences.

But as AR incorporates virtual images into reality, it can be more seamlessly integrated into consumers' daily lives.

"The ubiquity of mobile technology combined with a large user base means that AR could be a major source of revenue for brands," she said.

The mobile angle is crucial, as it offers greater scope for how, when and where consumers can engage with campaigns, branded collateral, packaging and product.

Further, AR relies on existing mobile behaviours that users are comfortable with, Faber noted, such as using the camera.

AR, she maintained, is "easy to set up and brands can use existing apps such as Aurasma and Blippar, which come with a ready-made user base".

And those brands that have their own mobile apps can simply upgrade to offer AR functionality.

The real benefit of AR, she suggested, is that "it offers the ability to create fluid journeys; it can be the bridge that connects all the marketing touchpoints, in particular visual search, which uses image recognition for search, as opposed to text".

The implications, however, extend far beyond being a mere bridge. Ultimately, AR technologies will "destroy boundaries" between physical and virtual media space, Faber stated.

In this world, consumers will be able to control "brand realities", only viewing messaging that enhances their "personal realities".

Citing the Harvard Business Review, she concluded that "share of experience" will become a more important marketing metric than share of voice.

Data sourced from Admap