By Rimma Kats
December 20, 2012
Walmart's augmented reality app
There is no doubt augmented reality has made a name for itself in the mobile space and marketers are flocking to incorporate the technology into their efforts. However, companies are still making several common mistakes, which can deteriorate the user experience.
Over the course of the year, it seems that augmented reality has become the new QR code. Companies such as Domino’s, IKEA and Walmart have invested heavily in the medium to offer consumers a unique experience.
Here, industry experts sound off on the five common augmented reality mistakes.
Nothing is more important than educating consumers about new technologies.
To this day, there are still consumers out there that do not know what a QR code is or how to use it.
Same goes for augmented reality.
Education is key and essential in executing a proper AR experience.
“I've seen this for years – marketers or brands put time and effort into a great augmented reality experience, app or campaign and then barely communicate it,” said Trak Lord, a spokesman for metaio. “Augmented reality is an amazing technology, but it's not a household name.
“Agencies and brands need to better educate users on how to access and use the AR,” he said. “This goes for promotion as well – I often see an AR app as an aspect of an integrated marketing campaign, yet without any kind of sufficient promotion.”
Not investing in content
Realistic and entertaining content is the best way to draw people in to an augmented reality experience.
Augmented reality is all about the experience – that is why the technology is becoming a huge hit among brands.
When creating a campaign, marketers must make sure that their content is engaging and really takes that user experience to another level.
“Even a ‘light’ experience – let's say just overlaying something onto a single print ad – can make jaws drop,” Mr. Lord said.
Different AR app for every campaign
Creating a new app each time there is a new campaign just confuses users.
Nobody wants to download various applications that ultimately have similar functions.
And, consumers will probably steer clear of augmented reality campaigns if they have to download different apps.
“Brands often want their consumers to download their own app for a more/less mediocre augmented reality experience,” said Jessica Butcher, marketing and founding director at Blippar, London.
“What they need to realize that, unless they are a top 5 branded app with millions of users, no one wants to download a specific app for each magazine they read, each beverage they drink or each product they buy,” she said.
“Brands need to go for a single lens platform app where a cumulative audience is being built which the brands can access – and where, as a consumer, multiple real-world brands, magazines, signage and logos can be 'unlocked' via a single lens.”
AR and 3D for the sake of 'AR'
Marketers should not use augmented reality for the sake of using augmented reality.
“While the triggered AR experience can have an initial wow experience – 3D animation or photo that seems to jump to life – for however many seconds, it is the subsequent features and content value that is key to long term consumer adoption.
Make content engaging
Similar to QR codes, augmented reality needs to have a purpose.
Consumers need to make sure their campaign features engaging content to help drive word-of-mouth and user engagement.
“This tech will remain a gimmick and novelty if used for gimmick and novelty effects,” she said.
Companies should invest in the content delivered.
“Go beyond simple animation.”
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York