Remember 2007?

I certainly do. I had a 2007 Sony ‘Walkman’ phone and spent days grappling with settings so I could watch Sky Sports News on its tiny screen, I even made a video about what was my first ‘smart’ phone. In 4:3, of course.

Wowzers, I thought. This is the future for advertising. Definitely, absolutely not bonkers.

The reality was rather different. No way could TV work on mobile phones. That’s what big screens were for. Why would anyone pay to advertise to ‘nerds’?

But one day, somehow, it all changed. Suddenly, boom. There it was. In 2017, total advertising spend on mobile devices was £5.2bn (AA/WARC figures).

So how can Augmented Reality snatch a piece of the pie?

Familiarity with AR is growing within the advertising industry. Mobile operator Three has launched an AR game called Puggerfly to promote a new data deal, while Snapchat have a dancing hot dog. Then there’s the AR behemoth that is Pokémon Go.

puggerfly
puggerfly

These are all great for jolly japes, but where does the serious stuff happen? What raises the cash?

First of all, these examples show that AR is hitting the mainstream, much in the same way that mobile TV did in 2007. And the big boys are taking notice.

Facebook, Google and Apple are welcoming AR developers with open arms, while Google lens is upping the ante in terms of image recognition. Google Glass, while not a roaring success, certainly fired the starting pistol in the race to develop AR eyeware.

And don’t forget companies such as Ikea, of course, who are already using AR to place items in homes. All with their own apps. Amazon are getting in the act with a similar app to that used by Ikea and Ebay now use AR to help work out packaging options.

In today’s hugely competitive marketplace, the use of AR to grab any advantage is an absolute must. A supermarket that can advertise offers in the aisles with AR has a head start over its competitors, as does a restaurant or café that has its specials board available when users point an AR device at the high street.

DIY stores can offer assembly instructions via AR markers, or even suggest complimentary purchases. How often have you bought the latest DIY gadget, but forgotten the batteries or essential cabling? Car showrooms with suggestions on colour, interior, or even – shudder – rear spoilers. All can be seen in virtual working condition via AR.

These are all incredible opportunities for AR to work in daily life. Not just for a giggle in the park, but actual, hard-nosed commerce. The bit that makes money for advertisers and their clients.

Of course, we can’t ignore the fact that AR needs to be part of a coordinated campaign to work. It has to compliment an existing strategy, not stand alone.

Here at Laduma, that’s how we approach AR, together with out clients. As an award-winning immersive tech consultancy, we show companies where immersive media can fit into their strategies, how they can benefit from where it’s at at any point in time and if required, support them through our content creation, development, implementation and customer engagement expertise.

Don’t just leave AR to fend for itself. Allow Laduma to fashion a narrative.

AR already has a head start on where the smart phone sat with advertisers in 2007. Nobody thinks it’s bonkers.