Apple’s latest AR play majorly impacts marketers. Here’s how

Last week at WWDC18, Apple launched ARKit2, its update on the “world’s largest” augmented reality development platform. Brands like IKEA and Lego have taken advantage of the first version of ARKit, experimenting with buzzworthy branded AR apps. ARKit2 takes branded AR a giant leap forward, enabling marketers to move from quick hit experimentation to launching full campaigns at scale.


Scale is key. Previously, users were forced to download an app to play with a brand’s AR experience, which leads to a huge drop off in customer engagement, posing a reach issue for marketers.

But this is no longer the case. Apple’s ARKit2 includes AR Quick Look, a tool that allows users to experience AR by placing 3D objects into the real world directly from a browser. Users can also share objects across standard apps like Messages, Safari, Mail, Files, and more.

Apple ARKit2

This means users no longer have to download an app to experience AR, giving marketers the chance to share immersive brand experiences broadly using web-based 3D / AR for iOS. Apple has made it clear that its iOS update efforts intends to push 3D and AR adoption by enabling easier content distribution, which is good news for marketers.

What about Android? Despite Apple being the charging bull in the race, Google isn’t too far behind. Google’s recent announcement of Chrome’s AR support indicates that they too have put forth effort in web-based AR development on their devices. As Android has a 45% operating system share in the market compared to Apple’s 54.4%, it is strategic for Google to ramp up on their AR support. This helps marketers access a hugely significant audience for their AR campaigns–99% of the operating system market.

As scale becomes a feature rather than a barrier for AR, marketers should prepare to more heavily incorporate web-based 3D/AR as part of their campaigns. The content progression from flat to immersive is happening (see the NYT’s recent announcement that it will be using 3D and AR in its articles) and it is marketers that can and will lead this shift. In fact, some brands have already taken advantage of web-based branded 3D/AR.

Taki’s, a chip brand from Barcel, launched a web-based 3D / AR campaign in an effort to build its brand equity and awareness. By giving consumers a unique way to experience the product in 3D through 3D display ad units accessed on both mobile and desktop, the campaign was able to reach millions (disclosure: my company, OmniVirt, built and distributed this campaign). With Apple’s latest update, iOS users can access AR experiences directly from their web browser just like the Taki’s campaign.

Takis 3D ad

Brand and consumer demand for accessible 3D and AR exists and is growing. For advertisers to stay on top of recent tech advances, it’s imperative to push forward new creative that will keep consumers engaged. Mobile developers are on the edge of developing something new and advertisers must lead to stay relevant.