Top AR Ideas for Marketing

Augmented Reality is now an important tool in a marketer’s arsenal. To get started, consider the following AR ideas, which primarily target the pre-purchase search, discovery, and research phases of a customer’s brand journey.


Utility AR Idea 1: Object Placement in User’s Environment

Brands like IKEA and Wayfair have been market leaders in using AR to help customers in their shopping experience, thereby positioning themselves as partners in customer’s home improvement and decoration journeys.

Their AR experiences rely on rendering 3D models of their products–think sofas, tables, rugs, etc.– into a customer’s home, as seen through the mobile screen.

Other brands have taken utility literally. Lowe’s created a Measuring By Lowe’s AR app too that’s meant to help users measure distances in their home during home improvement projects, turning the phone into a design aide.

Utility can also marry story.  The New York Times is now using object placement in a user’s environment in its storytelling.

Most brands have created native apps to distribute these AR experiences, requiring customers to download a separate app. This leads to drop-off and a larger issue of distribution. OmniVirt solves the distribution challenge by distributing AR over the web.

Utility AR Idea 2: Virtual Product Try-On

Brands like L’Oreal and adidas have embraced augmented reality to aid the a critical part in the shopping experience: trying on products to determine fit.c

For L’Oreal customers, matching skin tone to makeup colors is critical to making purchase decisions. And as more purchasing happens online (and on mobile), makeup and fashion brands like L’Oreal must scale its in-store / counter experience to enable product try-ons…digitally. Which explains its acquisition of Modiface, an AR app developer. See below for a screenshot view of Modiface’s prior work for Sephora.

ar ideas makeup try on

Brands can embrace virtual product try-ons for many products, but it’s important to understand what’s technically feasible at present. Facial mapping and floor mapping make digital make-up application and furniture placement possible. But, mapping digital objects to moving body parts (like hands) or the wall is not yet ready (but Apple has publicly stated it’s working on the latter for ARKit, a development kit that enables mobile AR on iPhones).


Experience AR Idea 1: AR Portal

When a marketing campaign’s purpose is less about conversion and more about general brand awareness and forming emotional connections with customers, AR can play a helpful role.

An AR portal is a phone-accessed digital portal that can be “entered into” through physical movement towards the portal. Once “in” the portal, a user can move her phone around to view a 360° video or photo. Brands can design this 360° environment.

For example, consider a luxury hotel that can create a portal into a 360° luxury hotel suite video complete with a butler, enabling a user to get a sense for the size and amenities as if it they were really there.

AR ideas like AR Portals encourage users to actively engage with an experience–literally, by walking towards the portal and moving a screen around–and thus encourage far deeper  interaction with a brand than by passively scrolling through a quick-hit banner ad.

Experience AR Idea 2: Gamified Experience

AR can be interactive, too. Imagine a sports equipment company using an AR game that allows players to shoot basketballs into a hoop, both products that are sold by the company. Or a user considering buying a new sports car encountering a AR game unlocked from a banner ad on their phone that allows a mini race experience with their kitchen table serving as the track.

Liz Keen, Partner at Silicon Foundry, writes “There are ways to engineer any type of AR game to maximize results by playing into the power of basic gaming mechanics and fundamental human dynamics around winning. Within games, brands can create dimensional experiences that encourage consumers to continuously engage to unlock increasing degrees of access. Brands can also leverage winning moments to drive amplification, which can be as easy as integrating social sharing functionality or building a tiered referral scheme that encourages people to recruit others from their networks into the experience as a way to get additional prizes or access.”

How to execute your AR ideas so that your branded AR experience makes an impression

Distribution is #1. To avoid customer dropoff from native app download requirements, consider distributing your AR experiences as ad units across the web.

Consider your campaign goal and determine if a utility or experience-based AR idea best delivers on it.

Contact OmniVirt to get started today.