In 2020, technology is scaling at a rapid pace with revenue from Augmented Reality Marketing projected to reach $19.5 Billion by 2023. That rate is likely accelerating given the current environment moving everyone towards virtual interaction. AR Marketing is the future of advertising. If your business strategy isn’t investing in augmented reality marketing campaigns, you could get left behind.

What is AR marketing? Augmented Reality Marketing enhances the customer experience through digital devices by adding a virtual overlay onto the physical environment in order to sell products or services. It’s interactive, persuasive and immersive nature has proven successful for early adopters like IKEA, Nike and Pepsi among others.

Boost Engagement with AR Marketing

AR is three times more engaging than non-AR advertising. According to Forbes, “the interactivity of an AR advertisement creates an emotional connection that is 70% more memorable than traditional advertising. In fact, 78% of people who’ve experienced augmented reality actively prefer virtual experiences over video. For streaming services like Netflix, maintaining an innovative perception is vital.

Netflix Stranger Things became an obsession by season two in 2017. Its reach and success was partially due to it’s augmented reality marketing campaign on Snapchat. With the Snapchat Lens, users could record videos of themselves walking through the iconic homes featured in the show while monsters pop up all around. This immersive experience let fans be part of the show and share their cult-like enthusiasm on social media. While Netflix does not share its viewership data, According to Nielsen and AdWeek, it was the most watched debut of any Netflix series or movie that year.

Augmented reality in advertising can improve the perception of a brand and deepen customer connection if the content is a good execution of the technology and an appropriate extension of the source material. Here are seven of the most impactful ways AR serves marketing.

1. Create Engaging Product Showcase

In our recent article, “Ten Ecommerce KPIs that Improve with AR”, we mentioned the success of IKEA’s Place app in creating engaging product showcases within the home where users can test a variety of product’s style, color and fit. In the same way, AR is quickly helping automotive brands attract new customers. In 2019, Toyota launched the Hybrid AR app to show customers key features and how the car uses energy. The app overlays images onto the physical car showing the inner mechanics and demonstrating how the drivetrain works helping customers learn the unique value of the product.

Virtual sofa being placed in-home space
Augmented Reality “View in your space” feature

2. Create Virtual Try-On Experiences

Can AR grow equity for your business? In 2019, privately held ecommerce optical company Warby Parker, launched the Try-On app allowing customers to accurately view how eyeglass frames will look on their face using Augmented Reality on their mobile device. Until the app was made available, boxes of eye-glass frames were shipped and returned, that's a lot of added cost. The app downloads doubled monthly in 2019. By August 2020, the app contributed to the company’s valuation at $3 billion and raised $245 million in additional funding.

Likewise, the Gucci app lets customers try on the highly coveted Ace sneaker by pointing their mobile camera at their feet. The try-on feature in the app allows customers to view the quality of detail available on the Ace shoe and experiment with different colors and styling.

3. Use QR Codes on Packaging

QR codes help to communicate more robust product information much faster. For example, one of CGTrader’s customers, Australian based footwear brand Rollie Nation significantly streamlined their sales process with wholesale buyers by adding QR codes in their product line sheets. Providing more information on your sales material can quicken wholesale decision-making.

QR codes can also build brand engagement. Amazon just launched the Amazon Augmented Reality app that activates QR codes printed on shipping boxes. Newly released boxes aligned with Halloween are preprinted with a pumpkin that can be drawn on and embellished further once scanned on the app. Users can overlay the pumpkin they drew over their face in a “selfie” and share it on social media. Amazon becomes part of the conversation with interactive and shareable ways for customers to engage with the brand.

By creating playful activations and providing more robust product information, you could earn more sales and build brand awareness using QR codes.

4. Up-Level Your Printed Advertising

Business-to-business marketing can be a costly endeavor, often requiring printed material and distribution. However, augmented reality in advertising can make printed material evergreen and viral. For example, the 2016 thINK conference app launched an AR feature that activated specially designed postcards for each of its platinum partners. Canon inkjet customer attendees could scan the postcards to experience AR delivered information. Collecting cards gamified the experience as users were entered into a grand prize drawing.

Advantages to AR activations through printed deliverables means that AR marketing campaigns can be switched out while the printed material remains the same. In the QR code example above, this could be a meaningful addition to packaging.

5. More Engaging Marketing Campaigns

AR can create more engaging and memorable experiences. According to The Drum Report, AR activations can captivate attention for over 85 seconds. With human attention spans reduced to less than that of a Goldfish, engagement is the new currency.

In 2019, the Dallas Cowboys opened the season with a ’Pose with the Pros’ AR experience for fans in collaboration with AT&T, Samsung and Nexus Studios. At the home game opener, fans could project images of players and mascots that interacted with objects in the stadium using their mobile phones. During halftime an animated game could be watched through the mobile phone when pointed at the field. Additionally, kiosks placed around the stadium allowed fans to virtually pose for a photo with their favorite players, sharing the “selfie” on social media. The activation earned over 50 million social media impressions of shared experiences.

6. Enhance Brand Recognition

AR experiences create an emotional connection with users which aids positive associations and increases brand recognition. Interestingly, Pepsi Max made mundane waiting at London bus stops a bit less boring. The AR mobile app turned the bust stop wall into a “window” in which viewers could witness flying saucers, attack robots or loose tigers moving down the street. This surreal transformation of an ordinary part of the day was considered one of the most creative uses of AR marketing in 2014.

7. More Engaging Storytelling

Today, Multi-channel marketing is a key strategy that goes beyond social media. Shrenik Sadalgi, head of R&D at Wayfair told Deloitte Insights that if the web experience is memorable, the customer will download the app for more robust interaction with the brand. When the customer chooses to download an app, emotional “buy-in” has already begun.

Nike’s digital engagement shows just how successful branded storytelling across touchpoints can be. The ‘Nike By You’ web feature let’s users tell their story by customizing their favorite kicks and sharing them on social media. By engaging the customer to tell their own personal story through the Nike brand, they expand their reach and sell more products. By building personal experiences using AR marketing you can help customers envision their life with your brand, enhancing emotional connection and building brand loyalty.


It’s clear how impactful, relevant and memorable augmented reality marketing campaigns can be. Looking at brands like Netflix, Nike, Pepsi Max, and the Dallas Cowboys for inspiration towards building immersive experiences can help build new and successful business models like Warby Parker into billion dollar valuations.

What stories could you tell using augmented reality in your next marketing campaign? CGTrader invites you to try it out for free.

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7 Impactful Ways to Use Augmented Reality in Marketing

Haidi Kelly is the CMO at Modelry. Formerly at WeWork, Haidi loves the challenges the B2B space brings. Excited about the transformative power of digital assets and content in eCommerce, Haidi helps individuals, teams, and companies reach their full potential. In her downtime, she is also a foodie, world traveler, and enjoys live music.

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