Posted by Alejandra Rojas
Blog post representative mage

What no one is telling you about the future of Augmented Reality

Brand storytelling works, it makes users feel identified with it and results in them choosing the brand above others. But nowadays, the problem is how to tell these stories to convert users.

Interactivity is key to changing consumers’ attitudes and behavior towards products.

We’re tired of the usual content.

Brands are reaching a point where consumers can completely ignore them. We all are tired of being interrupted by an ad on YouTube; we don’t even watch TV anymore. We developed an ability to scroll so quickly on social media that we don’t see promoted posts’ details. This is from a Millennial point of view, now let’s imagine how Gen Z and the next generations would be… increasingly difficult and with higher expectations. Platforms use new technology and psychology principles to catch our attention because they know it’s getting harder and harder to do it. We live in the Attention Economy, where companies’ most valuable thing is to capture our attention and then keep it by getting us engaged. This can be either a problem or a great opportunity for brands. How to tell stories, be heard, and actually make users spend their money on a brand? Engagement is the key. Everybody’s looking to engage with their customers. Sounds great, but…how to truly engage consumers?

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Interactivity seems the way to go.

Interactivity means two elements that can influence each other. By letting the user interact with the content, it becomes more memorable and engaging, which will make the consumer remember your brand when they’re making a buying decision. So interactive content generates better business results than passive content. In the following sections, we’ll tell you more about studies that prove this statement. You might think interactive just means letting the user click like or leave a comment. Or typing in their email address to receive emails. But that won’t get you the kind of results interactive AR can give. Read on to discover how.

We need a new type of interaction

Augmented reality is a unique medium because it’s natively interactive. Unlike the film medium, the consumer controls the camera, by moving their smartphone to discover the whole experience. Therefore, Augmented Reality is a medium to create stories together with the users. AR can produce the highest level of user-brand engagement when it is truly interactive [1]. In fact, AR experiences can generate almost double the levels of engagement than non-AR ones and can lead to attention levels +45% higher than for online browsing [2].

Then, we can say that AR content only makes sense when it’s interactive. Why? Because if it’s just another piece of information that needs no response from the user, it becomes the same as a Facebook ad.

The interaction between users and AR content improves consumer engagement and makes them enjoy, which means it brings both utility and pleasure [3]. To truly engage and tell a story at the same time, AR content needs to be dynamic and give something back to the users. Here’s when having a gamification approach can be a good idea. Adding game elements such as rewards, achievements, narratives, personalization, etc., can make the interaction both useful and fun.

For an example of personalization, studies have shown that AR for trying glasses [4] and cosmetic products [5] helped generate positive emotions and online purchases. NielsenIQ data [6] reports that more than half of global consumers are willing to try AR to evaluate products and services. Indeed, in these pandemic times, it might be a good idea to introduce a way for consumers to be near products despite not being in the store.

Key elements for Interactive AR

Researchers are starting to realize that the degree to which consumers feel in control and enjoyment when interacting with the AR content is key to changing their attitudes and behavior towards the products [3, 5]. The point is to make them feel they’re not just being bombarded with advertising but to put them in charge of their own experience and enable them to have fun.

Apart from having a good time and finding it helpful, users can also be inspired. In the end, behavioral inspiration (being inspired-to do something) is what matters the most when it comes to AR for brand stories [7]. It’s time to create experiences that inspire users to take action, not just be inspired-by, but be inspired-to.

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How to create Interactive AR?

Hololink can help you create interactive AR. This is made possible with the Storyboard tool you can use to map the whole AR experience and have a clear overview of the different AR scenes and interactions. You can set up each scene to look exactly the way you want and define how the viewers can interact with it. All of this can be done without writing a single line of code, so you can focus on the story and the experience. Our goal is to inspire people to take action and create AR, because we believe it should be available to anyone who wants to use it.

At Hololink we help you to create interactive AR experiences with no need to know how to code and no need to develop apps.

-References:

[1] Scholz, J., & Smith, A. N. (2016). Augmented reality: Designing immersive experiences that maximize consumer engagement. Business Horizons, 59(2), 149–161. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bushor.2015.10.003 [2] Layered: The Future of Augmented Reality Report. (2018) Mindshare Media UK [3] Qin, H., Peak, D. A., & Prybutok, V. (2021). A virtual market in your pocket: How does mobile augmented reality (MAR) influence consumer decision making? Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 58https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jretconser.2020.102337 [4] Pantano, E., Rese, A., & Baier, D. (2017). Enhancing the online decision-making process by using augmented reality: A two country comparison of youth markets. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 38, 81–95. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jretconser.2017.05.011 [5] Park, M., & Yoo, J. (2020). Effects of perceived interactivity of augmented reality on consumer responses: A mental imagery perspective. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 52, 101912. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jretconser.2019.101912 [6] NielsenIQ Retrieved from https://nielseniq.com/global/en/insights/analysis/2020/covid-19-the-unexpected-catalyst-for-tech-adoption/ [7] Hinsch, C., Felix, R., & Rauschnabel, P. A. (2020). Nostalgia beats the wow-effect: Inspiration, awe and meaningful associations in augmented reality marketing. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 53, 101987. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jretconser.2019.101987

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