Recently, a very loyal and successful client of mine asked my opinion on augmented reality used in advertising. I was chagrined to admit that I didn’t much about it. It turns out that very few do. Not including a publication that he advertises in, who asked him to address the potentiality of using this very new resource. 

It’s only about a year old and the technology is only recently available as an app to smart phones, which made me feel a little less embarrassed for not yet knowing the ins and outs. Of course, this was my impetus to learn more.There is a difference between augmented reality and the older technology of QR codes. As you have probably seen, QR codes offer a link to a URL to give you more information on the suggested product you are advertising. Once you scan the QR code, you’re taken to a new source of info (all on your smart phone).On the other hand, AR (Augmented Reality) gives you an immediate video resulting from the ad or object you’ve just read about in a publication or are viewing elsewhere. (You’re not taken to a separate URL, instead, a video pertaining to the subject in the ad, comes to life, immediately). You actually see a live translation of the exact ad you were just looking at. It is a blend of computer vision and object recognition. Pretty cool stuff.Yet, is it effective? One study claimed that AR will generate $300 million in global revenue in 2013.
There is even a tatoo artist that claimed to use AR on his tatoos.(Unsuccessfully) He was simply using QR instead. Although, be wary of privacy laws that will limit availability. Another study reported that 62% of businesses are considering using the new technology, but really aren’t sure about its popularity or investment. (See the study results here: If you haven’t heard of this technology, don’t fret, it is new and the success rate is still largely unknown. Another note of caution if you’re considering implementation: be wary of private publications selling this as (for now) everyone has their own app and it is applicable only to their advertising. Best to hire an independent marketer/designer, who will design for each of your ads, in any publication, as long as it doesn’t pose a competition to their current clients.There is not enough data available to convince me of its ROI quite yet.
My advice: Cautious optimism…

January 2, 2013

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