AR as a way to interact with the brand and increase loyalty

Today, everyone is familiar with AR using masks on Instagram, although they appeared 6 years ago on Snapchat,  which at that time was not yet popular in Russia. Everyone remembers their friends using dogs and bunnies masks! At that time the appearance of such entertainment was not taken seriously, today AR masks have become a new part of communication and an excellent marketing tool.

Augmented reality surrounds us everywhere – masks on Instagram and TikTok, digital creatures in games. More recently, such things seemed like science fiction from the films about the Terminator. Despite the fact that AR technologies are in everyone’s smartphone, the term “augmented reality” still has to be explained. VR, AR – people often confuse these terms.

The difference is actually simple. VR creates a virtual world, and AR — complements the existing one with digital elements. Thus, VR works with the senses, while AR interacts with the entire environment (and this is the main trick for marketing). Using VR requires special gadgets – glasses or a helmet, while AR fits into any smartphone or tablet. That’s why AR is in the lead – the global AR market is estimated at $ 11.14 billion, while the VR market has reached only $ 7.9 billion.

The peculiarity of AR, for example, on Instagram is that people are interested in sharing their experiences with friends — to create stories using masks, play AR games and compete in scoring points. This leads to a viral effect.

In addition, Generation Z and Alpha are growing and for example, only Generation Z in 2 years will account for 40% of the working population. It’s a generation that cannot imagine their lives without the Internet and smartphones, and for these people the real and virtual worlds are maximally united. This is where AR will do its best.

AR effects are one of the main trends in marketing today. Why?

  1. This technology helps a potential customer to test a product in a virtual world, and then go to the website to buy it, which increases the speed of the purchase decision. For example, it is much easier to try on a virtual living room carpet than to complicate things with searching and measuring.
  2. AR also guarantees the rapid spread of brand information, thereby expanding the audience (remember about masks virality).
  3. Also AR reduces costs and minimizes the number of steps from selection to purchase.

Many experts believe that Instagram will radically change the AR market and this transformation has already begun. The reasons for such opinions are in the platform’s capabilities — 90% of users are subscribed to at least 1 business profile, 1 out of 3 published stories is branded content, and 500 million Instagram profiles use stories every day.

For example, in preparation for the premiere of the third season of the WestWorld series in Russia, an AR-mask which was based on it was created for the Amediateka service, which identified a robot you or a person. This mask was also promoted by several bloggers who tested the mask and shared it in stories. As a result, the campaign collected more than 540 thousand impressions and 1,208 link clicks that led to the Amediateka service and gave a promo code for purchasing a subscription.

According to Mark D’Arcy, the creative director of Facebook, 700 million users play games on Facebook every month. Therefore, he and his team were looking for a way to use the gaming experience in advertisements familiar to users. So the introduction of AR masks into communication represents the Ubisoft experience. To raise brand awareness and encourage purchase of Assassin’s Creed Origins, before release, they launched a Facebook mask that dressed users in authentic costumes for the game. The success of such a mask is obvious: in the UK, the ad recall has doubled, while in Germany, the awareness of the game has increased by 1.46 times and the desire to purchase the game has increased by 2.35 times.

Our agency dacompany also has a successful experience of implementing AR technology on Instagram. In 2020,  our client, an American-style donut company, contacted us for promotion in Russia. The target audience are children and teenagers, so for the promotion we chose a game AR mask in which people have to catch donuts with their mouth and score points. With the help of teen influencers, we promoted the giveaway with the mask, and also sent prizes to the winners of the giveaway, and success was not long in coming – over the entire period of the mask’s operation (which is 7 months) more than 22.7 thousand people played it. For a brand that has just entered the market, this is a very good indicator. In addition, we increased loyalty and got a lot of feedback and thanks for the mask that came to the client’s social networks.

In short, if earlier AR was perceived as entertainment, today it is an effective tool for advertising campaigns that is very user-friendly and interactive. In the context of the pandemic, AR has become not only a visual image tool, but also a sales and marketing tool that allows brands to increase conversion, awareness,loyalty and reputation.

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