Following on from our LinkedIn post back in July The ‘Pokemon Go’ Distraction we thought it would be worthwhile to do a follow-up post on how businesses and marketers are taking advantage of the exciting opportunities presented by Augmented Reality (AR) Apps and the widespread use of mobile devices.
Also take the opportunity to ponder on the evolution of this new online-offline hybrid marketing phenomenon and how businesses are capitalising on it to deliver practical solutions and services in addition to driving deeper customer engagement.
The Tipping point: Augmented Reality makes it mainstream
But first, for those that didn’t get what all the fuss over a mobile game was about, here is a quick overview, from a marketing and business perspective, of the tipping point that the Pokemon Go augmented reality game represented:
Within weeks of its release in July this year the augmented reality game smashed Apple App store download records and became the most active mobile game ever with more active users around the world than Twitter! Even giving Facebook a run for its money in the engagement stakes with users spending on average 26 minutes on the game each day.
Online driving strong offline sales
It didn’t take long for big brands such as McDonalds and Asda to get in on the action hosting selected stores as Poke-stops where players of the game could turn-up for the opportunity to catch exclusive Pokemon on their devices, driving significant footfall as a result in addition to raucous ‘brand building’ social chatter online. As a direct result of sponsorship McDonalds Japan saw a 27% jump in sales and actually posted a profit for that quarter following a tough run of seven consecutive losses. With huge sponsorship opportunities as well as in-app purchase revenue, there is no doubt that around the world developers in the gaming industry are scrambling to bring out the next big hit AR Game. Perhaps another classic such as Pac Man or Mario bros will receive the augmented reality revamp and have people running around in the real world collecting computer generated oddities whilst spending money at the sponsor’s restaurants or stores in the process.
Augmented Reality’s Viral Marketing potential
But gaming aside, what really stands out as exciting for marketers and businesses is the way that augmented reality brings offline and online marketing together and the potential for buzz, virality and engagement that has rarely been seen before. Ahead of the pack, in 2014, and hitting viral sharability right on the nose, Pepsi Max’s used an AR adapted bus-stop window to augment an ordinary street with a sudden, explosive asteroid crash landing. The campaign saw the brand gain 2 million YouTube video views and 24,000 shares in the first week.
Augmented Reality: crossing the two dimensional limitations of online marketing
In addition to the excitement and novelty value creating a viral marketing buzz, augmented reality has been used to provide practical solutions to cross the digital vs. experience divide. Despite delivering a heavy blow to the high street online browsing and buying experience has to-date limited the opportunity for consumers to assess and experience products to a flat 2 dimensional screen. Now with augmented reality apps and mobile devices it is possible to see exactly how that Ikea couch would look in your front room, or how the new shade of Max Factor lipstick would boost your pout.
AR has been successfully used to drive footfall off-line, increase in-store activity and engagement and bring previously 2d online products to life at home. We are sure that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, according to the Times (2016, Aug, 11) Digi-Capital predicts that the AR industry will be worth a staggering $90bn by 2020! No doubt, there is a multitude of ways that AR can help brands and businesses engage with their audience from the more practical- non-gaming related use to the fun, dramatic and pure novelty application. AR has huge potential to serve, support, entertain, assist and attract.
We’d love to hear your musings and predictions as to how ‘augmented reality’ might be applied in your industry or businesses whether for customer support, services, product demos or customer engagement.
Rossi, B. (2016, Aug, 11). Times: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/connect/media-and-technology/augmented-reality-inspired-by-pokemon-go/
AdvertisingAge. (2016, Aug, 09, 2016). http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/mcdonald-s-japan-posts-profit-boosted-pok-mon/305388/
Knapp, A. (2016, Aug, 16).
The Unknown History of ‘Pokémon GO,’ The Future of Augmented Reality and Other Tech News. Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2016/08/02/the-unknown-history-of-pokemon-go-the- future-of- augmented-reality- and-other- tech-news/#4b4a76303e07