Social media is handy when it comes to building personal connections with users. However, people are not interested in being mere spectators any more. They want to actively participate in what’s happening online. 

For brands, that means moving beyond collaborating with influencers and building an engaging social experience around their product. That’s how Augmented Reality (AR) comes into play. 

Confused? Take a look at Shivesh Bhatia’s post for Intel Evo.

What is augmented reality (AR)?

When digital information is superimposed on the physical world in real-time, it is known as AR, or augmented reality. 

Seen lipstick or makeup filters on Instagram, or do you remember the game Pokémon Go? Those are examples of AR. 

Marketers are now using the technology to help consumers experience their brand’s product or services interactively. Typically, to create awareness and educate audiences

What’s the benefit of using AR to build a social experience? 

In simple words, it affects consumers’ purchase decisions by giving them a more intimate and personal experience.

They get to feel the look of the product in their personal surroundings or on their person before buying. So, it has a much higher power to influence purchase decisions than passive marketing. 

Research proves it. 78% of consumers prefer interacting with AR over watching a 30-second video, and they prefer an AR shopping experience 

How do brands build social experiences through AR?

Adobe says 62% of shoppers visited online retail stores using smartphones in 2021. Not just this, online sales using smartphones went up by 13% from the previous year

Let’s put it this way: mobile phones are constantly in the hands of people. So, they are more convenient to use to surf through the web, find new products, and search for relevant information. 

This gives brands a window to turn any stage of the purchase funnel into a fun and social experience. As the founder of Camera IQ says, today’s consumers are “camera-first and mobile-first.” You can easily utilise this behaviour with augmented reality to target potential consumers. 

Remember the Squid Game “Red Light Green Light” filter? That’s a strategy Netflix used to market the show, and the results were amazing. Squid Games is now one of the most watched series on the platform. 

Here’s how you can integrate augmented reality with your brand’s social media strategies: 

The only true way to increase brand awareness

eCommerce turned into social commerce in 2021. In 2022, s-commerce will turn into social experiences. Where before, brands could increase buying intent with static posts or tappable stickers, now they will need more. 

Moving beyond creator endorsements, you’ll need co-created experiences, such as partnering with influencers to livestream shopping or using AR filters to create more fun and interactive events. They bring in way more engagement on Instagram than passive filters do by generating curiosity and boosting brand loyalty.

Provide virtual trials of products or services

Lenskart gives its consumers the option to virtually try on a pair of frames before purchasing. You can create a similar experience for your consumers on Instagram using AR filters. Giving them a virtual trial will boost sales. 

Combine AR with social media ads

While playing any ad on Instagram or any other social media, give users the option to digitally experience the product. For example, how a table will look in their dining room or where to keep a vase in the guest room. It speeds up the decision process.

Augmented reality is the future of marketing

AR is turning out to be one of the most promising and reliable technologies for brands. As social media evolves and more high-tech hardware is introduced, it will rule over the digital world. 

Brands who are ahead of the curve and start implementing AR in their social media and influencer campaigns will reap the most benefits.