Snap’s head of creative strategy, Haran Ramachandran, explains the remarkable experience of augmented reality and the opportunities for brands to benefit from the exciting technology.
In a digital world cluttered with different forms and forums, how can brands cut through the clutter? How can they reach and engage their target audience in a meaningful and experiential way?
Augmented reality (AR) is a powerful tool that visually enhances the real world. Consumers often use augmented reality for entertainment and gaming or as part of communication, while businesses use it to streamline processes, reduce human error, and support learning. A recent study by Oxford Economics found that augmented reality will soon be used in a wide variety of industries and by next year we will see a 10x increase in value.
Earlier this year, Tie up published the 2022 edition The Gen Z report, shedding light on a specific generation of new audience behaviors, trends and societal impact. The report was designed to reveal what’s behind the Snapchat generation and their relationship to culture, brands, technology and community.
The findings reinforce the sentiment we hold at Snap that connectivity is the key to online success. This means that brands that can make personal connections online are the ones that will win the hearts and minds of the next generation.
Understanding Augmented Reality
For those unfamiliar with the technology, AR is an interactive digital experience where the real environment is enhanced (or augmented) with the power of a smartphone camera. AR is an often misunderstood but increasingly powerful technology being used by forward-thinking marketers in Australia from Pepsi to SWEAT to Gucci. Like the “metaverse” or Web3, AR (or the overlay of technology onto the real world we live in) has powerful implications for various sectors in the here and now.
More than half (56 percent) of people worldwide know about augmented reality and are ready to use it or have already used it. Although the global augmented reality market value was US$37 billion in 2019, the global market value is projected to be US$1,274 billion by 2030 (The role of AR in shopping).
We’re at a point where the adoption of augmented reality is strong and growing in industries including advertising and virtual fitting programs.
AR is fun, but also functional
AR brings utility, history and even culture – brands like MECCA, DIOR and Nike use AR in the form of Snapchat lenses.
Most recently, MECCA Brands launched an augmented reality shopping lens on Snapchat with Resolution Digital. The lens allowed users to seamlessly interact, try on and click to purchase MAC lipsticks available at MECCA.
Brands aside, however, Snapchat’s creator community of more than 250,000 people is moving forward with AR in ways that continue to surprise us at Snap. This community of augmented reality creators is a new breed of influencers defined not by views or number of followers, but by experimentation and self-expression.
There are many AR lenses created by the Snapchat community (not a brand or company) that use AR in really exciting ways.
For example, this lens created by Innes Alpha is based on ML called “HyperEmotionalSkin.It’s a three-dimensional makeup that changes and transforms depending on your emotions.
Is this lensA healthy cell‘ created by Ibrahim Buna, designed to help identify healthy or unhealthy cameras for medical professionals. Unbelievable.
The lenses above offer a glimpse into the creativity that lives in the community of augmented reality creators and the possibilities of augmented reality. Remember, these lenses exist – imagine something that doesn’t exist yet, but can be created!
The influence of AR
In everything, it is important to be able to measure the value of what we do. AR differs from traditional advertising formats in that it is active rather than passive. You’re not just watching it, you’re part of it. You are essentially part of the ad, immersed in it, adapting it to your world.
“Play Duration” shows how long the AR experience has been used on average. It varies depending on campaign, but often runs to one minute, which is four times the length of the average TV commercial. this is a tactile interaction where our community engages with the brand by interacting with it in a different way way to more traditional formats.
AR is also an actively creative format. Snapchat users are encouraged to experiment and create AR brand experiences they can share with their friends. We see more of this with augmented reality an experience that often has high stakes as friends share outfits with each other while searching opinions. In fact, 44 percent of those who shopped with AR say it prompted them to buy something (AR Shopping research).
So how exactly do you measure AR? By measuring its immersion effect.
Immersion is a neurological “state” based on a person’s mind and emotional resonance. In essence, immersion captures what is fascinating. It can be measured by tracking heart rate changes with smart watches, assessment of a person’s attention and emotional resonance with what he is looking at. This is because immersive experiences create emotions, focus attention, improve memory and motivate action.
The power of understanding immersion lies in its ability to predict consumer actions and memory – with 80 percent accuracy (BBDO Case Study – Predicting Sales Bumps via The role of AR in shopping).
AR Offers a Truly Immersive Experience – Research by Deloitte Digital and Snap Inc. showed that interacting with products that have an AR experience leads to a 94 percent higher conversion rate to purchase
To build awareness and hype around the launch of its new B27 sneaker, Christian Dior Couture has partnered with Snapchat. Harnessing the power of AR and newly launched business profiles in the application, Christian Dior Couture created an innovative and engaging experience and placed AR in the heart of the product launch.
In terms of impact measurement, the AR lens in the carousel achieved 6.2x ROI and 2.3 millions of Lens views organically through a business profile.
AR is a great tool, the possibilities are endless. AR is here and it works. Now is the time for brands to not only rethink the way they interact with their customers, but also take immersive experiences into the future. It’s an exciting time as the face of consumer-brand communication is changing thanks to the power of augmented reality.