8 Steps to Build an Effective AR Strategy

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Augmented reality (AR) technology is thriving. 

Each day we read some news about AR-based projects of a technology company. Tech giants like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Snapchat are working hard to develop AR technologies that will take them one step further. 

Because this technology promises a bright future.

According to recent market research, AR market is expected to reach approximately USD 30 billion at a CAGR of roughly 39% during the forecast period 2017-2023.

So, there has never been a better time to include AR in your mobile technologies. But before getting down to this job, make sure you have an effective AR strategy.

Below tips, might help you to build a convenient AR strategy in 8 steps. 

1.     Understand customer expectations

Although AR is a buzzword and continues to pull attention, it still needs to offer a benefit. In other words, developing an AR-based app for the sake of following the hype would be wrong. Instead, adopt a customer-oriented approach while building your app. 

Try to understand what users expect from AR. This helps you offer tailor-made solutions that answer their needs. Make sure you contribute to the user’s life with your app. You can do this by enhancing experience, improving productivity, or simplifying a process. When you develop your product around this concern, you can have a chance to build a stronger bond with your audience. This will also help you develop a compelling messaging strategy.

2.     Understand the competition

The number of AR-based applications is increasing each day. We see different use cases for both consumers and enterprises covering fields like entertainment, education, manufacturing, etc.  So, the competition is increasing, and you need to be prepared to have a strong position. 

Try to understand the competition. Who are the main actors? Who produces what? How do they position their solutions?  Which communication channels do they use? How do their messages sound? Questions can vary.

 The answers to these questions will help you to gauge your app’s position among its rivals. Having an idea about current AR apps can help you build a better one. This would help you to develop the right differentiation strategy.

3.     Build a successful mobile development team and train them  

Mobile devices are at the center of AR applications. Their developments shape the progress of AR technology. In other words, AR and mobile devices influence each other. That is why AR has been a critical area of promotion for technology companies like Google and Apple. Since mobile is the core of AR technology, the most significant task falls to your mobile developer team. 

AR is quite new and still in progress. So, your team would need some training to catch up on the latest updates. Besides, they might also need to develop new skills like content creation, computer vision, 3D modeling, and user interface design. 

AR resources abound. Technology companies like Apple and Google offer their resources to promote the use of their platforms. There are also many other useful resources, like online courses and materials provided by independent developers. So, make sure that your team reaches these resources to improve their AR skills.

4.     Choose the right developer platform

The number of developer platforms that support AR is increasing. Large technology companies already developed their platforms. Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore are among them. 

On the other hand, many independent AR platforms offer their SDKs.  EasyAR, Vuforia, MaxST, DeepAR, and Wikitude are among these platforms.  

So, the options abound. Your job is to choose the best fit for your needs. To achieve this, you should bring together your app development teams and discuss their requirements and current platform options. Understanding what these platforms offer and comparing them with your team’s expectations can help you to make the right choice. You should always consider possible support needs you might have in the future and make a decision accordingly.

5.     Find experts when necessary

 Even if you bring together a group of experienced mobile developers, their experience might fall short when it comes to AR. 

AR is a new concept, and its best practices are the result of lessons learned. That is why developers need a deep understanding of this technology. And this is possible when they have enough experience.

So, outsourcing experts with direct experience in AR and getting them together with your mobile development teams is the right step to take.

6.     Develop quality content

AR is pulling constant attention-grabbing by nature, but content still plays a crucial role in the success of AR apps. Whether you develop a business app or a game, you need to focus on the content you provide. For AR apps, content means the story, and, the visual elements like 3D models. 

While creating your content, consider your target audience and the nature of your app. Choose the right tools to create quality content. Try to combine all your content elements consistently in a way that answers your audience’s expectations.

7.     Make sure your app is ready

Testing is a crucial part of an app’s launch process. But when it comes to AR, it becomes more critical. 

AR is totally about user experience and testing an AR app is more like testing a video game. That is why, while testing an AR app, it is essential to focus on enhancing user experience. To achieve this, test your app with as many variables as you can. For example, use different devices to evaluate the performance of your AR features.   Include different target groups in your tests to assess if your app is understandable and easy-to-use enough for different groups of people.

8.     Help users to understand the technology

So, your app is ready to meet with your audience. Now, it is time to promote your app to reach a wider audience. Make sure that you developed the right communication plan to convey your message. Think about your audience. Who are you targeting? What are the best channels to reach them? Your answers will shape your messaging. 

You can develop your messaging around the benefits of your app like enhancing the user experience or improving productivity.

Since AR is still a novel concept for many people, consider including a short definition of this technology at the info section of your app. Thus, you might give your audience an idea about the AR and help them to understand what your app is about quickly.

Conclusion

As a thriving technology, AR promises a lot for different industries. If you are planning to include this technology in your products, now is the best time to set to work.  By developing an effective AR strategy at the beginning of your efforts, you can take the right steps to get the best out of this technology.

Startup Tips for Using Augmented Reality in Marketing

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Do you remember all those people searching for Pokémons in the streets? That was the first time many of us had heard about Augmented Reality (AR), and many brands began considering how they could use this technology.

Although Pokémon Go was not the first AR application, the technology went mainstream as a result of the app’s phenomenal popularity. Today, more and more brands are turning to this technology to surprise their customers and to get one step ahead of the competition.

AR overlays virtual content onto physical images in a way that allows them to interact in real-time. The technology does this either through displays, such as HoloLens and Google Glass, or through the camera view of a smart phone, tablet, etc.

AR’s popularity is growing each day, because the technology:

• Enhances our experience with reality.

• Efficiently combines the digital and the physical.

• Is unique and noticeable.

• Offers a competitive advantage for businesses.

The Rise of AR

Tech giants Apple and Google have already introduced their developer frameworks for AR apps. Both companies are making huge investments in this technology. Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, is a strong proponent who is constantly advocating the use of this technology. He even mentioned that one day we will wonder how we ever lived without it.

While AR is not quite yet mainstream, according to Deloitte Global: “2018 is far from the endpoint for AR; many further years of evolution are likely to enchant users and enhance their creations. AR will merge into camera-based apps; we will struggle to recall a time when AR was a mere novelty. And at some point, in the future, it may become increasingly hard to tell reality from AR-enabled fiction.”

AR is driving advances in various fields including sports, medicine, education, entertainment, healthcare, and broadcasting. AR is pushing new frontiers with lots of creative marketing applications, as well.

AR and Marketing

Today, more companies are including AR in their marketing plans. AR offers tremendous opportunities for marketers by:

• Contributing to an interactive customer experience.

• Increasing the chances for WOM and social sharing.

• Enabling personalized experiences.

• Increasing user engagement.

• Improving user experience.

• Encouraging product trials.

• Increasing promotion opportunities including real-time marketing.

• Differentiating brands.

Increase User Engagement

The Drum reports that AR can capture people’s attention for over 85 seconds, increase interaction rates by 20 percent, and improve purchase click-through rates by 33 percent.

 AR transforms traditional promotion methods into creative ones that increase customer engagement. When used for promotion, the technology draws customers’ attention, reaches more people, and increases customer interaction. Many companies are aware of the power of AR. They use the technology in their advertising and promotional efforts.

AR, which is expected to play a role in shaping the future of social media trends, increases WOM and social sharing opportunities as well.  

Snapchat Lenses

One of the early adopters of the technology is Snapchat. Snapchat offers various AR-based lenses which allow users to take selfies, choose one of several face filters to bring their snaps to life, and share their AR-integrated selfies on their profiles. Snapchat also allows users to create their own lenses. Thus, users can create lenses that reflect their characters and interests. They can also make these lenses available to other Snapchat users. This not only increases user interactivity but also Snapchat’s popularity.

Credit: https://lensstudio.snapchat.com/news/introducing-lens-studio-1-7/

Chairish

Chairish, a marketplace for vintage furniture and decoration, offers an AR-based app with a “View in Your Space” feature. With this feature, users can preview items in their own homes. To do so, they use a phone camera, snap a photo and share this to get feedback.

Chairish ran a contest on Instagram and asked users to create a space using items from Chairish’s inventory via the AR app. The contest not only received many submissions but also caused a spike in app download. This example proves that AR is an effective tool for increasing customer engagement and social share.

Siemens

Siemens has been using AR in its marketing materials. Since the technology eases giving instructions and sharing information, customers can better understand product features. Using interactive content help Siemens to increase user engagement and ensure a better introduction of the latest products and solutions.

Encourage Product Trials

Imagine being able to see how a couch would fit in your living room before actually buying it — or being able to see which sunglasses suit your face or which lipstick looks good on you without physically trying anything on.

 AR creates a more realistic representation of products. Customers can find out whether or not a product will fit their needs. AR allows customers to test drive new products, such as furniture and cosmetics, without even leaving home, thus helping them to make the right buying decisions without risk.

Facebook AR-Based Ad Campaigns

Facebook allows businesses to use AR to show off products on Messenger and on Newsfeed. For example, Michael Kors was among the first brands that tested AR-based ads of Facebook. These ads let users try the latest sunglass models of Michael Kors by using the phone camera.

Credit: Facebook

Credit: Facebook

L’Oréal Makeup Genius App
L’Oréal offers a virtual makeup app called Makeup Genius. The app transforms smartphone cameras into virtual mirrors and allows users to apply L’Oréal makeup products. The app which is only available in the US, allows users to find the makeup style that suits them and purchase makeup products accordingly. With this app, L’Oréal improves encourages product trial by providing a personalized experience. 

IKEA
IKEA has an AR-based app, called Place. The app allows users to see how IKEA furniture items look in their homes. By using this app, users can find out if the furniture they’re planning to buy fits in their homes.
Users can scroll through a catalog of furniture, point their smartphone camera at the location they want to furnish, and see how each piece would look in the space. The app eases customers’ lives by showing users how IKEA products will look in the surroundings of their own home before buying.

Offer Entertaining Experiences

AR can be used to create entertaining experiences. This technology is frequently used in gamification, which applies game mechanics to non-game experiences. AR-based entertainment apps not only offer something fun and challenging, but also increase customer engagement.

 Disney Coloring App

Disney created an AR-based coloring app that transforms 2D images created on a printed page into animated, 3D characters. For example, a child colors a character such as an elephant in a book. The app monitors the drawing and fills in the chosen colors in real-time. So, the character on the printed page comes alive as a 3D character.

Pizza Hut’s AR Menu

Pizza Hut’s AR menu is a successful example of AR-based entertainment applications. This app allows users to browse through the menu and place an order, and it even has a game that allows people to win free pizza.

Le Petit Chef

Le Petit Chef, an AR-based app designed by a company called Skullmapping, is an animated 3D character for the restaurant industry that provides unforgettable entertainment for diners. Thanks to AR technology, this animated Chef appears on guest's plates at select locations and times. He spends a few minutes preparing the main ingredients of each ordered dish, and as soon as he’s done, the waiter appears with the meal.

Tips for Marketers Planning to Use AR

  • While using AR technology in your marketing efforts:

  • Consider your target audience, offer something they would value.

  • Don’t rely on novelty, offer something functional.

  • Deliver quality content that is relevant and useful.

  • Provide a meaningful interaction.

  • Think about the context and offer something accordingly.

Conclusion

AR creates new opportunities in marketing. By using this technology, marketers can transport their brands and stories directly into the customers’ world. The technology also helps to create a unique and creative experience which improves customer engagement. By investing in this technology, startups can boost the efficiency of their marketing efforts.

Introduction to Video Marketing

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A few years ago, video as a content type, was the shiny new toy. Now it’s the king of content. From million-dollar companies to small businesses, companies can’t afford to ignore the video.

As a self-explanatory term, video marketing means including videos in your marketing strategy to promote your brand and products.

From raising awareness to creating interest and from influencing your audience’s decisions to persuading them to purchase, videos are used in every stage of marketing now.

Because people expect to see videos…

The Video Marketing is on the Rise

With Youtube’s becoming mainstream in 2009, video expression was opened to the public. Since then, watching videos is an indispensable part of our lives.

According to Nielsen, U.S. adults are now spending almost 6 hours per day on video, on average. Global numbers are not different either. This is a fairly high number and the situation is not different for global figures either. For example, almost 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every single day.

Cisco predicts online video will account for 72% of all internet use by 2019. The financial commitment to supporting branded content is predicted to double by 2019 as well, and budgets for mobile video ads will increase by 70%.

This is why more businesses include videos in their marketing strategies. According to Hubspot, 81% of businesses use video as a marketing tool.

 Why is video so popular?

Thanks to increasing use of mobile devices, we don’t use our laptops and PCs for a simple web search anymore. Because mobile devices are so handy, we pick them up to get the information we look for. And reading on a mobile device doesn’t always mean a practical experience. We almost always need to increase the font size, but this may not be possible without spoiling text justification.

On the other hand, watching videos is always easy on any channel or device. Videos fit any device ranging from computers to mobile devices. This expands their reach and makes them more user-friendly and consumer-focused. So, your content always performs well on any device and you don’t lose traffic.

Besides videos do what text doesn't. Not only they simplify getting information but also contribute to user interaction. This is why people love sharing videos.

Hubspot suggests that, if you create video content that your specific audience enjoys, 83% of consumers would consider sharing it with their friends. According to Promo, 85% of the most shared Facebook posts in 2017 were videos and videos get 6 times more often than static images and 3 times more often than GIFs.

 How can video marketing help you?

Video marketing can help you in many different ways. By using the power of videos, you can raise brand awareness, position yourself as a thought leader, increase your website’s traffic, engage with your audience,

Build brand awareness

Video marketing offers a great way to tell your story. Even if you own a startup or a middle-size business, video marketing can provide you with tremendous opportunities to get your name heard. We know hundreds of people who became an overnight celebrity with the help of a video they posted on YouTube. Even if you don’t aim for such popularity, videos can help you to build brand awareness.

Showcase your thought leadership

Sharing valuable content on a subject which you have an expertise, not only helps you reach more people but also position yourself as a thought leader in your area. Videos would serve better by making it easier to understand your message. To showcase your expertise, create videos that include answers to frequently asked questions of your audience. You can also cover industry updates and the latest developments in your field. To do this, you can use explainer videos, video tutorials, and testimonials. 

Increase social engagement

People love watching videos. This is why videos have the highest engagement rate when compared to other content types. By sharing high-quality videos on social media, you can increase your social engagement. Attracting more people means more subscribers and followers which can be transformed into customers over time. As social videos will continue to evolve, including videos in your marketing efforts will be a good choice to reach more people.

Boost promotion

Videos which can be combined with different marketing tools, also increase their influence. By including videos in your marketing mix, you can increase the overall efficiency of your marketing efforts. For example, by integrating a video into your landing page, you can increase the time that visitors spend on your page. Including videos in your email marketing campaigns also increases open rates of your emails.

 Increase organic traffic

Videos increase organic traffic. This is why more companies see videos as crucial components of their marketing plans. Even though YouTube is the dominant video platform, Facebook, Instagram, and even LinkedIn promote video use. By adding to your website, landing page, social media posts you can increase organic traffic they get. This also improves your company’s SEO results which means your pages appear higher in search results.

Video Marketing Tips

Build a video content strategy

  • Define who your audience is and what kind of videos they would like to see.
  • Decide what kind of videos you will use to tell your brand story: entertaining, educational or inspiring?
  • Try to list the topics that align with your core values and what you can tell about them to your audience.
  • Once you’ve determined the content of your videos, set up a schedule and share your videos consistently.
  • Analyze the performance of your videos and collect feedback from your audience to make the necessary adjustments in your strategy.

Create valuable video content

  • Try to create high-quality and visually-appealing videos that people would enjoy sharing.
  • Think about how your video could appeal to your audience. 
  • When you’re thinking about video ideas, ask yourself whether it is useful, interesting, educational or emotional?
  • Create evergreen videos that answer common questions or solve a problem.
  • Transform your well-performed written content (press coverage, blog posts, etc.) into video format.

Get discovered

  •  Use as many social media platforms as possible to share your videos.
  • Each platform has its own consumers, dynamics, and way of engagement.
  • Taking place on more platforms helps you reach a wider audience increases social sharing potential.
  • Don’t ignore SEO principals while creating and releasing your videos. Check out this cool manual to learn more about video SEO.
  • Include trending topics in your videos by using resources like Google Trends and Twitter Trends.

Encourage Interaction

  •  Talk directly to your audience in a way that encourages interaction.
  • Allow your audience to join the dialog by accepting user-generated video content.
  • Create videos that encourage interaction by asking your audience questions.
  • Make your audience feel important by giving them a chance to participate in what you create.
  • Answer your audiences’ comments and questions on time.

Use videos for branding and promotion

  • Use a video overview to give your audience an understanding of what makes your brand unique.
  • Share new features or a brand-new product.
  • Announce special events and advertise special promotions.
  • Give tips related to your product or service and allow your customers to see them in action.
  • Take note of trending events and incorporate them into a seasonal video.

Be consistent

  • Brainstorm ideas to be able to share new videos continuously.
  • Have a plan for what you’ll deliver to your audience after shooting each video
  • Make specific elements of your channel cohesive, like your personality, tone of voice, theme etc.
  • Have a clear video format and a durable idea that will continue to pull attention in future videos.
  • Share videos on a regular schedule like a certain day of each week.

Conclusion
Video has been increasingly popular worldwide and it’s no longer a question whether it is a worthwhile investment. The sooner you include videos in your marketing efforts, the sooner you see their benefits. Video marketing can help you build brand awareness, position yourself as an industry expert, engage with a wider audience, increase visibility and boost the influence of your promotion efforts. You can enjoy these benefits by implementing an effective video marketing strategy and sharing high-quality videos in a consistent way.