More and more people are diving into AR (augmented reality) as it is becoming cheaper and more accessible. Let’s take a look at how marketers can pair it with the metaverse in order to create rich experiences.
Many of us know how AR is supposed to function with goggles, glasses, gloves, or smartphones. Data tags and overlays pop up over real and virtual objects, providing details and action points. One is able to see and interact with the real and virtual at the same time.
Many brands have become interested in using augmented reality for marketing in the metaverse. With AR-based product visualizations, for example, interactive advertising experiences can help brands connect with their customers on an emotional level. Moreover, potential customers can use the technology to try out products from practically any location.
Without the limitations of the current mainstream advertising models, AR in the metaverse may well be the incentive needed that propels AR-based marketing to the masses.
Persistent Augmented Reality
Although many people experience the technology through an app on their smartphone — a ThinkMobile report from 2021 indicated over 50% of smartphone owners have already used AR apps when shopping — only a limited number of people have used Oculus, Microsoft HaloLens 2, or any other AR glasses.
The type of augmented reality we are discussing refers to an interactive, virtual experience of a real-world environment, whereby real objects are enhanced by digitized perceptual information, and virtual objects can also appear within our real-world environment.
Persistent AR allows users to create content in virtual spaces and share these experiences with other users. For example, an artist that uses a virtual paint board to create digital artwork can have it seen and experienced by others in the virtual space.
The concept of having persistent AR means that if you were to look away from an AR object, like a statue, for instance, it would still be in the same place the next time you look at it. AR object persistence is a feature of APIs (application programming interfaces) such as Apple ARKit and Google ARCore. For marketers, persistent AR might mean creating a virtual, floating billboard that remains visible in the metaverse, which makes for an interesting prospect.
Why Focus On AR Over VR?
When using augmented reality over virtual reality, the real world becomes metaverse-enhanced and does not require people to leave reality to visit. That is a key reason why AR will likely become a big part of our ordinary world. But VR will probably not, as humans don’t like to be cut off from the real world.
Aside from those in the hardcore gaming scene, few people are willing to stare at screens a half-inch away from their eyes for long.
Metaverse VR and AR worlds include radically different elements from those in real life. Both have persistence and immersion and give you a sense of presence. The view is in first-person perspective, and, with a few differences that are available for personal preference, what one sees, all see.
VR is likely to be used selectively for short periods of time. It will allow people to experience worlds limited only by the imagination, like exploring a virtual version of the Egyptian pyramids, for example.
Virtual reality is unlikely to be adopted by the masses because of the uncomfortable feeling of being completely cut off from one’s surroundings. A VR headset immerses users into a world where what they see and hear is remarkably different from reality, and they can’t hear or see anything from within their actual vicinity.
Because VR requires the user to remain standing or to sit throughout their experience, it forces the brain to create multiple modes of reality — one from the VR world where motion is taking place, and the other from the real world, where one is still standing or sitting.
In some cases, it is possible to dive into an XR (mixed reality) experience using AR headsets, which allows for several marketing applications.
How Can Augmented Reality Be Used For Marketing Today?
What are the advantages of using AR glasses over a computer, mouse, and keyboard? What practical applications exist for AR tech?
Augmented reality has the potential to enable marketers to position products in the best light possible. For years, marketing’s role had involved painting a picture of how brands wanted to be seen. Although this marketing spin offered a clean-cut presentation, it was often not a true representation of products or services that brands were offering.
Augmented reality gives marketers a way to provide a narrative of their products in real-life. It allows customers to craft their virtual experiences around the products they are interested in.
AR In The Metaverse
Where will that leave brands considering AR marketing in the metaverse?
Mass adoption of the metaverse is still yet to occur, but there are enough regular users that brands have ample opportunities to take advantage of.
Many brands are finding Decentraland’s metaverse to be more popular and useful for marketing, advertising, and events. But so far, it’s not an AR or VR experience, and it is restricted solely to Windows PC or macOS.
The concept of the metaverse is more than just virtual worlds, gaming, and PR events. The big opportunities for brands in the metaverse exist in the world at large and not just within metaverse worlds like Decentraland, Roblox, Horizon Worlds, or the Sandbox.
Stylish Wearable AR
The biggest advantage of using augmented reality is that it opens up a world of possibilities that do not exist in real life. Emerging technologies like MojoLens, a contact lens with built-in AR functionality, Argo’s Reality X glasses, and Apple’s AR glasses are bringing the idea of stylish, comfortable AR to the masses. One could create virtual artwork that floats on the ceiling, is animated, is continually changing, and is also persistently available for all to see and interact with using AR glasses.
Imagine virtual tattoos that are animated or- for those who use makeup- virtually applying different colors and styles of new cosmetic products to see what looks best. Walking down a store aisle, you could simply look at a product and see an AR info bubble with the product description, pricing, promotions, available accessories, and similar products, among other things.
In one’s home, rather than sitting in a room with a wall-mounted TV, you could sit anywhere and watch a movie on a wall-sized screen. In fact, for almost anything a person could purchase, they could use VR to view it in their home beforehand, in particular settings, or, if applicable, on their body.
For marketers and advertisers, the types of scenarios AR and VR present are opportunities to interact with prospects and customers. Many brands use AR to enhance their marketing efforts. This is often accomplished through the use of AR-enhanced mobile apps like Amazon’s ModiFace Virtual Makeover, which allows potential customers to try makeup and hairstyles on their own faces, or IKEA Place, which enables customers to see furniture positioned in different areas of their own homes.
Consumers have made it clear they prefer shopping online over in person. But there’s one key element missing from online shopping. Online shoppers may miss out on the ‘experience’ stage of a purchase, i.e., trying on and interacting with a product before they make a purchase. In the metaverse, augmented reality will allow consumers to experience and interact with products before buying, creating a strong bond between the buyer and the product.
With metaverse retail spaces, online shoppers can use virtual try-on filters in order to simulate how they might look wearing clothing, hats, shoes, and watches without visiting a store, allowing users to purchase with confidence. This leads to greater customer satisfaction and also far fewer returns and exchanges. The same principle could also be applied to people wanting to try out services and other experiences that tend to go with the traditional shopping experience.