- Ad agencies face technical and cost hurdles in creating augmented reality (AR) campaigns for brands, according to a survey that Unity Technologies, the maker of software tools used by videogame designers, shared with Mobile Marketer. The survey of advertising and marketing professionals found that 39% of creatives who have worked on an AR campaign said cost was a significant issue, while 25% said they faced technical challenges.
- However, those challenges haven't impeded demand for AR advertising and marketing, with 80% of creatives saying the technology is an integral part of their work and 62% seeing increased client demand. Most creatives strive to include AR in their products amid increased client demand.
- A majority of survey respondents (78%) said they felt positive about AR's use in advertising, while 56% said they were likely or very likely to consider an AR campaign in the next 12 months. More than half (54%) of respondents who already deployed an AR campaign were satisfied with user engagement, the survey found. Unity announced its survey results at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
AR has been a major part of the advertising landscape for several years, and is expected to have an $83 billion market value by 2021, but that growth has not come without concerns for agency creatives. Even as they find AR to be a key, client-driven part of their work, cost and technical issues continue to hold back AR's development from marketing gimmick to necessary element of the brand experience.
Apple and Google have helped to support the development of AR technology with their own software tools, possibly assuaging some of the struggles felt by agencies. Apple this month unveiled the ARKit 3 and RealityKit to help software designers create more realistic AR environments, while Google last month announced plans to add more AR content to its search results, giving brands a chance to showcase their more immersive creative work. Companies including Burger King, Toyota and Swiss International Air Lines are among the brands that have incorporated some form of AR into their marketing campaigns, alongside the countless examples of virtual try-ons that have hit the beauty and fashion markets.
Ever since the mobile game Pokémon Go helped to popularize AR in 2016, consumer adoption has grown. The number of Americans who use AR at least once a month will grow to 24% to 85 million by 2021 from 68.7 million this year, researcher eMarketer estimated. Meanwhile, the rollout of high-speed 5G mobile service is set to drive growth of AR shopping to 100 million consumers by next year, according to a Gartner estimate, making it even more important for marketers to figure out their AR capabilities now.