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Posted by Amit Chail on July 24, 2013

Augmented Reality (AR) is the latest sci-fi technology to enter our lives. The basic idea of AR is to bring additional context (augment content in the form of sound, video, graphics or GPS data) to the real world. In this new reality, the view of the reality is modified by different technology elements in real time. With the use of AR, a user gains additional information about his/her surroundings and becomes interactive with digitally manipulated content. More details and background of AR are available here.

Think of AR as using technology to create a layer over the real world and put in the palm of hands thanks to the proliferation of smartphones.

Since AR use in the marketing world is relatively new, not many stats are available to show the effectiveness or penetration of AR. But we can use the number of AR app downloads as a proxy to estimate its usage. The table shows that the penetration seems to be quite high depending on the app. Some apps are about 10-15% of all smartphones in the market.

Application Downloads Platform
Layar More than 30 million Android, iOS, Blackberry
Acrossair unknown iOS
Google Goggles More than 50 million iOS and Android
Google Sky Map Between 10 and 50 million Android
Wikitude World Browser Between 5 and 10 million Android, iOS, Bada, Blackberry, Windows Phone
iOnRoad Augmented Driving   iOS and Android
And many more    

Toyota significantly increased traffic and leads for the Corolla during the week of the augmented reality launch in May 2011. Read more about this campaign here.

With larger brands experimenting with AR, it is becoming more accepted by the consumer.

To effectively use AR as a marketer, it cannot be viewed as a technology.  Instead, brands and marketers must look at it through the consumer lens. When a client expresses interest in integrating AR in their platforms and campaigns, we at BTI will walk them through the basics and benefits of augmented reality. Through this discussion, any brand or advertiser can determine whether AR is right for them, and if so, how best to integrate it.

A unique aspect of AR is that it allows retailers to give online or mobile shoppers a realistic, up-close, three-dimensional or enhanced view of their products prior to purchase.

To quickly getting started with AR, you need to first create content (video, audio, 3D objects, etc.) that will appear over a real life object – let’s say a business card or a building. BTI will then to integrate the content into an AR application. It goes without saying that the content MUST be engaging and connect with the target market to be effective. It must also offer immediate benefit to consumers as well.

At BTI, we have started to utilize AR in small increments using one of the basic AR apps. This has allowed our clients to experiment while building brand awareness. Effective use of AR can also result in priceless earned media. In each of the following examples, simple videos were layers over the printed materials.

Our most recent example of AR utilization at BTI was a legal services firm that is a leader in using technology to cut costs and offer differentiated services. Check out this video in how the client experimented with AR in introducing their firm to potential clients.



Another interesting use of AR came in the form of a favour where we created a wedding invitation card for a relative.  View this video to see how this couple incited their family & friends to RSVP to their wedding.



BTI had also used AR in our own marketing initiatives in late 2012. See this video of our experimentation with AR.



A Tour of Esquire’s Augmented Reality Issue –Augmented reality lets you browse a virtual catalogue of clothes from your favourite brands, shop directly within your Esquire magazine or head to a virtual pop-up store and avoid the lines.

2013 IKEA catalog. link to video.

Anyone can be a mechanic. link to video.

Become a French Soccer Champion. link to video.

Are you ready to leverage AR in your next marketing campaign? Contact us at BTI to see how best to use AR to meet your marketing goals.