Experts are predicting full consumer adoption of augmented reality (AR) in 2017 – and this is something you should pay attention to.
Why? For the same reason the U.S. Post Office is offering postal discounts for marketers who use AR, QR Codes, personalized URLs, and other print-to-mobile technologies. It sells more print.
Today’s consumers are all about “experience.” If you want to grow your print business, you need to show your customers that digital isn’t the only channel where they can get it. Print offers experience, too. To make the case that print provides experience, it’s time to start encouraging your customers to adopt interactive technologies like AR.
Of course, this means adopting them as part of your marketing, too. You can’t just talk about how great technology is. You have to show it.
According to “Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Market – Global Forecast to 2022” (Markets and Markets, 2016), the global augmented reality market is expected to reach $117.4 billion by 2022. This is a CAGR of 75.72% between 2016 and 2022. Digi-Capital is showing similar numbers. In its “Augmented/Virtual Reality Report 2016,” augmented/virtual reality is forecast to hit $120 billion by 2020.
The specific numbers don’t matter to printers so much as the trajectory—up, up, and up. It’s not just data telling the story. When, after 100 years, Cracker Jack ditches its classic “prize in the box” strategy for AR experiences instead, you know we’re experiencing a tidal shift in consumer behavior.
With consumers increasingly driven by experience, AR offers an experience that QR Codes cannot. I don’t think AR will replace QR Codes in the near future, but the two will exist side by side. Different technologies for different experiences. To understand who, what, and why of these differences, it’s important to get a feel for where each approach is effective, for what markets, and for what applications.
QR Codes we know. So here are three ideas for getting up to speed on augmented reality:
- Google it, then do it. Google “augmented reality in marketing,” then go to the store, pick up the products you read about online, and scan the package, signage, or poster. Experience AR the way a consumer would.
- Get a partner. There may come a day that you produce all of your AR applications in-house, but for now, you can find a digital marketing firm with experience in AR, pick their brains, and form a partnership so you can start offering AR right away.
- Use it yourself. Create your own marketing campaign(s) with AR. As human beings, we learn by doing, and you’ll come up to speed fastest when you are putting what you learn into practice. When your customers see that you are using AR (and not just talking about it), you’ll have that much more credibility.
Are you making an investment to understand the opportunities of AR? If not, what’s holding you back? Jump in! It’s time to go swimming!