How Augmented Reality is Reshaping the Way We Consume Media
In today’s rapidly evolving digital climate, innovators are steadily developing new ways to engage consumers and change the way we interact daily. From filters devised by the mobile app, Snapchat, to Google Glass, the access to virtual technology has increased exponentially in just the past few years. One of the growing forms of virtual technology is called augmented reality. Augmented reality overlays virtual information onto a natural environment, as opposed to virtual reality where a user is submersed in a new and fully digitized world. For example, the aforementioned Snapchat filters are a prime demonstration of augmented reality. The filters can warp facial features, add ornaments and accessories, make flower petals fall from the sky, or have a cartoon version of you (called a Bitmoji) engage in a series of hijinks anywhere you put them.
What does this mean for the world of marketing and advertising? We are already familiar with augmented reality in the form of Quick Response (QR) codes – a technology that came along well before the advent of Snapchat. According to Forbes, the augmented reality industry is on trend to reach $117.4 billion by the year 2022. Several movie franchises, such as The Fast and Furious and DC’s Suicide Squad, have already taken advantage of the accessibility of Snapchat by allowing users to virtually transform into characters from the movies or insert themselves into the movie posters which are often animated for Snapchat’s platform. However, it’s not just the film industry that’s taken a jump at augmented reality to boost marketing. As fewer people are turning on their TVs in favor of their phone screens, all companies from Macy’s to T-Mobile have sponsored content on Snapchat to reach consumers.
As the sophistication of augmented reality evolves, so will the way marketers are able to utilize the technology. For example, some wine companies are bringing their packaging to life by having it talk to you when you hold your phone over its label. Not only are you hearing the character’s voice, but the character has a moving mouth and range of facial expressions. Even the United States Postal Service (USPS) is pushing this technology to its consumers. USPS has an app that allows a user to point their phone at any one of their collection boxes and, after a festive holiday display (such as gifts falling from the sky or penguins building an igloo), the app gives users the option to order boxes, stamps and other supplies.
These are only some of the exciting and fascinating ways that the advertising industry is embracing new technology, and it only has room to grow.