You Don’t Need an App for That: How to Create Engaging Print Marketing With AR Enhancements
Smartphone battery-draining apps aren’t many consumers’ idea of fun. Neither is having to download a different app for each augmented reality experience from a brand — no matter how cool it claims to be. Seemingly in answer to this situation, Google ARCore and Apple ARKit were developed. These tools allow consumers to point their phones at an enhanced print ad and experience the campaign without having to download additional apps.
Sarah Mannone, EVP at ad and marketing agency Trekk, answered Target Marketing’s questions about this emerging tech, and shared the types of experiences that Trekk is seeing (and creating) in the marketing world.
What's the best way for marketers creating print pieces to ensure the highest customer engagement?
For the general public, augmented reality is still an emerging technology. The newness of it will make some users curious and excited, but it will make others hesitant; unless you proactively work to overcome that barrier. We make the technology more approachable through friendly, inviting microcopy sprinkled throughout the print piece itself — step-by-step instructions that are user-friendly and make it clear the benefits people will get when they engage. AR experiences that include an incentive, app-less interactive customer experiences in print marketing such as a promo code or a chance to win a prize, usually perform well.
What are the main misgivings marketers have about using this tech?
The toughest part about AR for most marketers is the strategy. It’s a new channel, so marketers aren’t sure how to set goals for their campaigns or how to track their results. The good news is that this technology makes it even easier to measure the performance of print campaigns and, more importantly, to understand how people are interacting with a given piece. It does take a bit of up-front experimentation to understand what reasonable goals look like for an individual audience.
What are some permanent ways to use this tech for marketing?
When deployed strategically, [AR] can help marketers create more evergreen print pieces. Marketers can turn objects like training manuals, sales leave-behinds, posters, and mugs into super-sticky content delivery systems; update the AR experience regularly and simply alert your audience that it’s time to scan for the latest information or promotion.
What are the best uses of this tech in campaigns? Are some campaigns better suited to it than others?
Any campaign that would benefit from more interactivity … is a candidate for AR, but the quality content has to be there. Augmenting a print piece with a purely promotional video commercial is not going to engage an audience. Augmenting it with information that is new and useful has a better chance of connecting. As with any good marketing campaign, it’s all about putting the user experience first.
What needs to improve about this tech, going forward?
A: We’re facing an issue with feature disparity. Apple’s ARKit introduced new features really quickly, and Google’s ARCore has yet to replicate some of them. This means that most AR experiences don’t actually take advantage of the newest possibilities the tech has to offer, because it would silo them on a single platform (iOS). ARCore will eventually match ARKit’s capabilities and offer its own new features, but we’re probably looking at a perpetual game of catch-up.