AR in Social Media: A More Immersive Consumer Experience.

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With the release of pokemon go in 2016, augmented reality was thrust into the limelight as this technology became one of the most bizarre viral trends in recent times.

That trend has obviously now died out but since then, augmented reality has been quietly progressing and being put to more practical use. From training medical professionals, to perform complex surgeries, to aiding engineers to carry out repairs on an industrial scale, it is pretty clear to see that augmented reality has moved far past the silliness of its over the top pop culture debut.

Augmented reality is able to perform these very diverse and complex functions because of its unique ability to link our digital and physical world. One of those functions - which is now becoming more prominent - is within social media and how brands are developing more immersive experiences that improve customer engagement boost brand awareness and drive sales.

Augmented reality is already heavily embedded within Snapchat with many AR filters, lenses and games. Late last year, Snapchat released several features called Shoppable AR which allow brands to promote their websites and sign up pages, sharing a video and to get people to install their apps. In other words, to give you a practical example, consumers can try out a brands’ products using a lens and then the retailer will be able to direct the consumers to where they can actually buy that product.

This rollout was a huge success with Snapchat AR ad revenue accounting for approximately $236 million out of the $408 million spent on AR ads last year because of this Snapchat is now a leader in mobile AR monetization.

Their success has prompted other brands to get involved with AR ads expected to generate over $13 billion in revenue by 2022. As a result, account for over 12% of all mobile ad revenue by that year, thus it is crucial brands map out their AR strategies now to secure an early-mover advantage.

Business insider intelligence has created a report that details how Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Snapchat, and WhatsApp should integrate AR into their ads and branded experiences. This outlines how brands are benefiting from embracing this new, immersive form of content delivery and probes what's ahead for this space.

The key takeaways are as follows:

  • Consumers' viral acceptance of AR in social media underscores why brands need to embrace this technology to enhance their social strategies. It's already proving to be an effective channel for engaging consumers and expanding their reach.
  • The number of mobile AR users is expected to have grown 100% year-over-year in 2018 to pass 1 billion. Social media is quickly becoming the consumers' go-to channel for mobile AR experiences.
  • There are three clear goals brands are striving to achieve when implementing AR in their social media strategies: escalate converted sales and downloads, drive consumer engagement and lift brand awareness.

In addition, there are numerous indications that the technology will improve in the near future, which will play a chief role in driving brands' AR usage within social media. Once the technology becomes more accessible augmented reality will undoubtedly transform mobile social media marketing.

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