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Can Augmented Reality Add Value to Print?

August 2014 By Summer Gould
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Neither print nor digital alone are enough to truly lift your ROI for most applications. You often need both, working together strategically, to create the lift you're looking for. Print is tangible, easily saved for future use, can be passed on to others, can be very targeted, and is memorable. Digital is fast, has a cool factor, can be personalized, is easily accessed, and is used by consumers more and more each day.

When print is integrated with digital, it can produce great results. There is a real symbiotic relationship between them that benefits both.

Here's an example of a print magazine using augmented reality (this particular publication was featured in the April 2013 Target Marketing case study "Nexos Makes Augmented Reality Sing" by Heather Fletcher).

Nexos Latinos magazine leaders wanted to increase magazine ad revenue and enhance print advertisers' brand reputations. So they created an augmented reality app with the help of Aurasma. The app helped position the advertisers as tech-savvy and audience-aware-a belief reinforced by increased ad spending that coincided with the introduction of augmented reality in the magazine.

Bridging the gap between the print and digital world also increased revenue for Nexos Latinos: A 20 percent increase in revenue from a frequent advertiser in Fall 2012, a 156 percent revenue rise from another advertiser in Winter 2013, and 1,027 views from 193 downloads in the debut issue.

One of the benefits they found in AR is that it allowed far more freedom for Nexos Latinos and its advertisers. Unlike QR Codes, AR is flexible. The app can toggle "between video elements, websites, e-commerce sites, social media, etc., through [a] reader's smartphone or tablet." There is also a real cool factor about bringing print to life on your phone or tablet. They learned that not only do readers like AR, but advertisers do, too. So they got an increase in both reader involvement and advertising dollars.

Summer Gould is president of Santee, Calif.-based direct marketing services provider Eye/Comm Inc. Reach her at



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