AR in marketing – what can augmented reality do?

AR in marketing – what can augmented reality do?
6th June 2019

How is AR being utilised in marketing? Who is using augmented reality?

Augmented reality (AR) is evolving the way businesses market to consumers. AR in marketing is already driving great customer satisfaction amongst brands. 73% of AR users report a high or very high level of satisfaction. Brands such as Ikea, Cadbury and Lacoste are using AR in marketing to communicate product or service information digitally to user’s in real-time.

What is AR in marketing?

Augmented reality uses a user’s present environment and overlays information on top of it. The technology is most commonly found in consumer apps, but still is growing in popularity for B2B organisations. AR works by using a camera to identify visual objects in the field of vision. The latest Mercedes models include augmented reality in their navigation systems, giving users a more realistic directions to refer to.

AR in marketing


How does augmented reality differ from virtual reality?

Virtual reality (VR) creates an experience that transports a user to an artificial environment, shutting off the physical world thought the user wearing a special headset to generate the experience.  VR is used to create the ultimate 360-degree virtual experience and is becoming more widely used for research as well as entertainment.

The main difference between VR and AR is that the latter add digital elements in real-time by overlaying graphics using a camera or smartphone. A good example of AR in marketing is Snapchat’s filters, often used as a tool by brands to promote product or event launches. Both technologies are powerful tools to enhance customer experience.

How can organisations implement AR into their marketing strategies?

Almost 50% of customers are more likely to shop at a retailer that utilises AR. Implementing AR into a marketing strategy can help improve customer satisfaction, increase profitability and drive brand awareness. It can even be used internally for training. How organisations choose to use AR in marketing is dependent on their goals are, their audience and what approach is most relevant to their brand.

Who is using augmented reality?

Creating an experience that allows customers to visualise what products may look like in reality is already proving to be effective. Whether its purchasing furniture, cosmetics or a new car, consumers love to try before they buy, and AR is the digital world’s answer to the traditional sample.

Ikea’s Place App gives users the opportunity to place furniture around their home. Within six months of launching, the app had been downloaded over 2 million times. Not bad for one of the earliest examples of AR on smartphones in the retail space (yet a drop in the ocean in comparison the phenomenal 500 million downloads Pokémon Go received in just under two months of its release).

AR in marketing


The internet of things (IoT) are becoming common-place household devices, such as voice assistants, smart mirrors, locks and various other intuitive devices. AR is a trend well-worth getting ahead of that has the potential to propel brands through a new wave of digital transformation or kick them to the curb.

What can augmented reality do?

Creating a buzz

Social channels such as Snapchat and Instagram utilise AR lenses that are personalised to each user. Snapchat has approximately 200 million daily users that are watching 10 billion videos daily – if your target audience falls into the Snapchat user demographic, you might want to consider it as a paid media channel for your social media strategy. Organisations can either pay for a vertical video ad (up to 10minutes) or use sponsored Snapchat lenses to advertise their products, brand or events. targeting specific user groups, this has been successful with brands such as: Bud Light, Dunkin Donuts and Candy Crush.

Outside social media, some innovative brands have adapted AR to bring traditional mediums to life and differentiate themselves from their competitors. Pepsi installed a virtual window in a London bus stop that showed members of the public unbelievable animations to grab their attention, including robots, monsters under the pavement and UFOs. With the help of AR in their marketing, Pepsi generated conversation around their brand and strengthened their brand awareness.

Product assistance

AR in marketing isn’t all about using immersive experiences to sell a product or service, if implemented throughout the user journey, businesses can use it to help customers get more from products and for building customer loyalty. Leading brands in the automotive industry, Hyundai and Mercedes have been making significant strides with AR technology. The app ‘Ask Mercedes’ partners artificial intelligence with augmented reality to answer customer questions about their vehicles and how to get the most of the car’s features. Not only does this use of AR give users an overall enhanced experience, but it provides Mercedes with valuable information about what features are more important to their customers and how to continue improving their services and products.­­

AR in marketing

AR in marketing

The automotive industry aren’t the only ones to be using augmented reality well. Coffee giant Starbucks and global cosmetic brand, Lush have used AR in marketing to enhance their customer experience in-store. Lush, famous for their package-free bath bombs, political stances on animal testing and the environment and innovation are one of the first cosmetic retailers to trial AR in their stores. When the brand launched their ‘Naked’ stores (where all products are packaging free) they also launched a free ‘Lush Lens’ app that would give users all the product information they needed when they scanned them in their phones. The long-term aim of this trial is to change how customers shop – combining their love of environmentally free cosmetics, with digital.

How can your organisation benefit from AR in your marketing strategy?

We can help. Kagool is a Sitecore specialist digital agency and our teams are experts in helping leading enterprises with their digital strategy. Our team can help your organisation set up a digital roadmap that’s tailored to your business needs and delivers meaningful results. Contact us today to get a free digital marketing audit and to discuss your requirements.