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What Is Augmented Reality Marketing?

Tara Barnett
Tara Barnett

Augmented reality marketing is a marketing technique that places content related to a product over reality in real time. More simply, this type of marketing relies on a computer device to place pictures over a live video of reality, thereby augmenting that reality. Common examples of augmented reality marketing include allowing visitors to virtually try on clothes or jewelry, play with interactive characters, or view information about products on top of images of those products. One of the major problems with this type of marketing is that it requires technology that not all people have.

In its most basic form, augmented reality marketing adds something to reality in some way. Most commonly, the way this is accomplished is with visual information. A live video coming through a camera is augmented such that the image being seen represents reality in nearly real time. This video can be a reflection of the person using the camera, or it can be used as a window through which the user sees reality. Either way, an additional program is necessary in order to augment that reality.

Woman holding a disc
Woman holding a disc

Most of the time, the augmented reality marketing program needs a cue in order to display related information. Special barcodes, images, or even spatial information can be used to trigger the augmented content. One possible use of geographical augmented reality marketing is housing advertisements, in which actual information about houses and apartments could be displayed over real time footage of the houses themselves when potential buyers view the locations through their phones. Barcodes are often useful for playing cards, posters, or magazines. Images can be difficult to work with, but can be more intuitive for potential customers to use.

Augmented reality marketing is particularly popular with children. Marketing of this type often incorporates a product into an augmented reality game, making it necessary to purchase the product in order to play the game. Additionally, interaction with small animated characters can also appeal to children. Collecting virtual prizes can be a very effective augmented reality marketing strategy, as this encourages additional purchases of goods that exist primarily as virtual objects.

Problems with augmented reality primarily relate to technological limits. The speed at which reality can be augmented must be quite high in order to keep up with changing perspectives. People who view this type of marketing must also have the technology required to access the advertisements, which becomes less of a problem with reductions in cost of smartphones and web cameras.

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