For a peak into the future of augmented reality – and augmented reality marketing – look no further than Google and Apple’s “Measure” apps. Google’s version “helps you with quick, everyday measurements around the house or office – similar to a tape measure,” per its description on Google Play, while Apple’s turns your device into “a convenient tool for measuring objects in the real world” that can “automatically provide the dimensions of rectangular objects,” according to the App Store. They are eerily similar and strikingly banal.
The apps function imperfectly, as you might expect: both require a full room scan prior to measuring an object, and both deliver ballpark figures, with larger objects creating larger margins of error. In terms of accuracy, a simple tape measure is far superior to each.
Flaws aside, the Measure apps are bellwethers for augmented reality’s standardized future – Google’s version is currently available on most high-end android devices, and Apple’s will soon be included on all iPhones running iOS 12. They may not raise pulses, but these apps are indicative of AR’s ascent into the mainstream.
Successful Augmented Reality Apps are Practical
Snapchat and Pokemon Go introduced the world to augmented reality, and over the last two-to-three years tech giants have championed it as the potential future of computing. Google and Apple have been joined by Facebook in their pursuit of AR eminence, making the technology one of the most hotly contested battlegrounds in the business world.
Despite the hype around AR, simple, understated apps like Measure are the key to its eventual ubiquity and longevity. IKEA’s furniture placement app, for example, is straightforward, useful, and extremely popular. Virtual try-ons, like the one we’ve developed, are a common-sense tool for shoppers and retailers alike. Google Maps’ upcoming AR directions could be a godsend for travelers in new cities.
Augmented reality technology is complex, but the most successful AR applications are practical, accessible, and perfectly suited for real-world scenarios. They’re simple to use, solve common problems, and are already trickling into mainstream use, which is excellent news for brands interested in cutting-edge forms of digital marketing.
Augmented Reality Marketing
In July, Facebook announced a new generation of augmented reality ads that allows users to try on products within the News Feed, earning the attention of prominent brands like Michael Kors and Sephora. The ads rely on Snapchat-style facial filters to attract customers to makeup and eyewear products, and on users’ familiarity with basic AR technology. As average consumers become more comfortable with augmented reality through simple apps like Measure, expect marketers to boost spending in this space.
It’s unlikely that the Measure app will become a significant revenue driver for either Google or Apple, but its inclusion on millions of mobile devices establishes augmented reality as a mainstream solution to everyday problems. You don’t need to be particularly tech savvy to use it, you simply need to own a smartphone.
The same will be true of effective augmented reality marketing. It should mesh seamlessly with customers’ mobile experiences and offer smoother pathways to conversions. As users become increasingly familiar with AR, brands will see the return on their immersive marketing investments grow.
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