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30-second summary:

  • As AR matures, it presents a plethora of opportunities for marketers that go far beyond face filters on social media.
  • The continued and widespread deployment of 5G networks will open the floodgates for mass adoption of AR and finally allow the technology to reach its full potential.
  • In addition to 5G connectivity, a number of technological developments are coming together to propel AR into the mainstream. Smartphones and AR-enabled wearable devices present incredible opportunities for marketers.
  • From product launches to test drives, AR can help marketers create virtual experiences and engage audiences in new and innovative ways.

Marketers have been playing around with augmented reality (AR) for years, using it for fun and easy gadgets that can be shared on social media to entertain their audiences.

But technology that was once considered new is now quickly entering the mainstream and is provide grow from over $ 13 billion this year to over $ 67 billion by 2024.

Gen Z already regularly uses AR via filters and lenses on popular platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Tik Tok, while Google integrates AR into mobile search, starting with its popular 3d animals functionality.

As AR matures, it presents a plethora of opportunities for marketers that go far beyond face filters on social media.

AR technologies, such as LiDAR and simultaneous location and mapping (SLAM), open up product visualization possibilities where consumers can try before they buy, actively exploring the features and functionality of potential purchases and seeing how. they fit into their immediate environment.

It allows marketers to present product information in an engaging way, perhaps illustrating how and where an item is made or highlighting its sustainability credentials. It allows them to organize live virtual events to create a buzz around new products or services, where a large audience can interact with the brand and be part of a visceral and emotional experience.

Finally, AR can be fully integrated with ad campaigns to connect deeply with consumers and increase conversions up to 40%.

AR is part of the ‘new normal’ and will support marketers in their 2021 strategies, so what are the key developments that are now making the right time for AR in marketing? Here are some of the events that are helping this disruptive technology take center stage.

Advanced 5G connectivity

Advances in bandwidth and telecommunications infrastructure can have a major impact on the adoption and evolution of new technologies, as illustrated by the rise of streaming platforms and video chat services, alongside supporting developments in broadband, 3G and 4G.

The continued and widespread deployment of 5G networks will open the floodgates for mass adoption of AR and finally allow the technology to reach its full potential. According to research, 5G will unlock AR apps that will generate over $ 140 billion in cumulative revenue between 2021 and 2028

With 100 times the bandwidth of 4G, 5G will enable ultra-low latency and ultimate device connectivity. In turn, this will allow developers and content providers to create an immersive and experiential 3D computing environment in which users can interact with the people, objects and information around them.

5G will not only allow faster browsing on Facebook, it will totally transform the way consumers interact with their environment.

Continuous technological evolution

In addition to 5G connectivity, a number of technological developments are coming together to propel AR into the mainstream. Over the past two years, Google and Apple have invested heavily in integrating AR hardware and software into their mobile technology stacks.

The launch of ARCore and ARKit means that more than four billion smartphones across the world are already AR compatible, opening up incredible opportunities for marketers, especially when combined with cameras and the exceptional batteries of the latest devices.

In reality, by 2022 Mobile applications with built-in AR are expected to reach 4,670,800 million worldwide and downloads of stand-alone AR applications are expected to reach 1,389,000 million.

By switching from AR-compatible smartphones, some sort of wearable device is expected to usher in the next generation of intuitive and immersive computing. Glasses are the most likely candidate, with Google, Facebook, Snap, and many independents all planning to launch AR glasses in the near future.

Over the next decade, these devices could become as ubiquitous as the smartphone, with shipments of smart AR glasses expected to number around 22.8 million units by 2022, up from 150,000 in 2016.

Wearable devices will take the ease of use of smartphones to the next level, with intuitive 3D interfaces and controls driven by gestures and eye movements. They will allow consumers to access relevant content in real time in any vertical and deliver endless marketing use cases.

To drive mass adoption, consideration must be given to how these devices control, process, and deliver information without overwhelming consumers. Glasses and other AR wearable devices will also require an extensible content creation platform that unifies all evolving standards separately and allows marketers to run campaigns anywhere and on any device.

The context of COVID-19

In addition to technical developments, adoption of new technologies is often accelerated by contextual circumstances, and the COVID-19 situation is certainly driving the growth of AR due to changing consumer needs and behaviors.

As consumers have had to avoid crowded places such as city centers, malls and physical events, receptivity and demand for virtual contactless experiences has increased. From product launches to test drives, AR can help marketers create these virtual experiences and engage audiences in new and innovative ways.

AR enters a new phase of his journey. A combination of cutting edge technological advancements and contextual circumstances means that it is moving from an innovative technology to the next generation computing platform.

AR will transform the way consumers interact with their environment, and now is the time for marketers to incorporate the immersive and engaging experiences it enables into their 2021 strategies.

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