Most people know about AR (augmented reality) as a gaming/entertainment engine that Pokemon Go has brought the concept to the attention of mainstream consumers. But what if AR went much deeper than an immersive source of entertainment? Augmented reality has shown promise of innovation in a number of industries and as we begin to really see the concept develop into a fully realized technology that could disrupt the way we experience life – it’s time to consider how to use it to give your brand a competitive edge.

Augmented reality has come to advertising, and it’s going to completely change the way your brand approaches user acquisition. AR makes your campaigns interactive- you can build relationships with your ideal customers in ways that weren’t previously attainable. Digital marketing has historically used tactics that users deem as intrusive or dubious– everything from pop-ups to scroll throughs and content gateways have long earned a well-deserved side eye from users. This undisputed fact is possibly the one thing that everyone can agree with in regards to their online experience – these are meddlesomedisturbingscheming and even misleading. It’s likely that if you are in marketing, you are all too familiar with how users perceive these campaigns. Those banner ads, pre-roll videos, scroll-throughs and pop-ups amount to consumer frustrations that cost advertisers billions every single year.

We’ve watched the world respond to these marketing tactics with disdain- and then block them. The dread over the persistent rise of ad blockers looms large over the industry, with blockers seeing a consistent 30% growth in use year-over-year since 2014.

‘Traditional’ Forms of Digital Advertising Are On the Way Out.

The ‘death’ of these tactics has been a long time coming- there isn’t a single relationship alive that can survive that amount of resentment and the relationship with your customers is no different. It’s unsustainable- augmented reality just puts the nails into the coffin. As campaigns focus on the bare bones metrics like clicks, the downward spiral drives ad quality to even lower standards- creating an ecosystem where both the advertiser and the end user suffer.

But we have to be frank here. As we see the revenues from television advertising and other traditional means of generating revenue for brands decline, augmented reality advertising is rising fast to take its place. Within the next 10 years, we will see augmented reality change the way consumers work, shop, and play.

Turn Your Campaigns Toward the Experience Economy

One thing resonates with these motivated, engaged buyers: experiential marketing- positioning your ‘audience’ as active participants. The major problem with experiential marketing? Scale. The same things that make experiential marketing campaigns so great, are the things that hamper their reach.

That is all about to change.

The widely accepted definition of experiential marketing has historically been these low-reach, highly immersive experiences. While the relationship-building with users in campaigns like these has been extraordinary, they are generally unattractive to advertisers due to the lack of efficiency and scalability. Immersive advertising has almost always taken place offline in the past, but new technologies make it possible to put experiential marketing campaigns onto user’s screens.

Digitally, experiential marketing is deliverable at scale in ways that were previously impossible. Programmatic advertising may have disrupted traditional advertising channels, but experiential marketing campaigns (including those involving augmented reality) disrupts the entire way that both brands and end users perceive marketing.

Let’s take a look at this in the context of a shopper at a grocery store. Low cost augmented glasses are quickly becoming easily accessible to the average consumer. Imagine walking down a grocery aisle and seeing the products that fit into your current Whole30 diet marathon, or only seeing the products that you wrote on the shopping list in your app on your smartphone. You found that awesome new recipe on Tasty’s Facebook page today– those glasses could highlight only the ingredients you need to make it and be on your way.

This may sound like a promise of flying cars, but I assure you, Elroy…this is no episode of the Jetsons. Google Lens is currently aiming to improve the smartphone camera capabilities by training it to accurately identify most objects by sight.

Sure, only 24 million digital reality headsets are slated to be sold next year. But in reality? That’s expected to increase to 500 million by 2025.

Happy Consumers Increase Revenue

By marketing through immersive campaigns using augmented reality, brands are now able to build relationships with consumers while minimizing intrusion. Brand gatekeepers will be able to earn user’s trust by communicating to them and inviting them to join in on the conversation. It offers opportunities to reach users on a very personal level- in a way that benefits the entire ecosystem.

Brands can turn this into a valuable opportunity to establish relationships and gain the social proof needed to cut through the noise in today’s busy market- an opportunity that allows advertisers to establish long-lasting and meaningful relationships with their customer base.