The psychological impact of augmented reality (AR) can be used in an OOH advertising context to build emotional connections and bring consumers closer to a brand, research suggests.

Writing exclusively for WARC, Jennie Roper, head of insight at Kinetic UK and Dr Alastair Goode, cognitive scientist at Gorilla in the Room, argue that AR is a new media channel that can enable brands to connect to people in better ways.

Already, the technology has become integrated across multiple touchpoints via mobile and wearables, they note, and it will become far more accessible with the advent of 5G.

To better understand the implications of AR, they suggest, marketers need to consider its psychological impact. (For more read their article in full: Out-of-home, 5G, augmented reality and the impact of a new media channel.)

Central is the notion of ‘presence’ – the sense that you feel you are somewhere when you are not. VR does this via a headset, AR by the much simpler means of a smartphone that can add an object to the place you are in.

Their research asked respondents to compare the sense of presence from seeing a product via AR on a mobile device – where it is possible to see a product in their environment (a tin of beans) – compared to an isolated digital image.

This exercise found that AR does make objects feel more present across all measures compared to the digital image.

With 5G set to transform the tech landscape, Roper and Goode posit that consumers will be able to use AR experiences to try products out anywhere to have a better experience of what they are like.

“The technology already exists to trigger a product experience from OOH,” they point out, “making that product feel more present to people, as well as deliver an AR product to an individual, and direct them to where the product can be bought.”

The combination of AR and OOH, they add, “can deepen the brand experience and provide direction by building stronger emotional connections. In effect, OOH is the new in-home.”

Sourced from WARC