The tide of Augmented Reality is rising. And it is merging Virtual Reality to digital marketing in a convergence of physical and digital fronts.
One out of three smartphone users engage with AR at least once a month, a Boston Consulting Group study shows. And the numbers will rise to 120 million by 2021.
It opens new possibilities on how we interact with businesses. And Facebook is quick to adapt.
The social network announced better AR tools for businesses at its F8 developer conference in San Jose, CA, on Tuesday.
Better yet, the company will integrate AR options for brands into Facebook Messenger.
The new Messenger AR tools will allow your brand to create new, digitally enhanced experiences on the platform.
“Blending AR effects and messaging solves a real problem for people shopping online. There are so many situations where we need to visualize a product before we feel comfortable buying it. We often seek input from our friends and family before making a purchase. This feature — launching in closed beta — leverages the nature of messaging to help people get valuable, instant feedback about purchases, customizations, and more, without ever needing to set foot in a store,” said Messenger head David Marcus.
The options play up the marketing potential of AR, as several social networks are welcoming the technology. Snapchat’s digital masks have been successful so far.
The Messenger AR tools are specific for business use though. It offers an easier way for brands to immerse their products into the users’ augmented reality.
Snapchat has been using the technology in car ads. These ads allow users to place a vehicle in AR and experience what it is like in real-world conditions.
To the same tune, Messenger partnered with car maker Kia, one of four brands involved in testing the AR tools, to customize the Kia Stinger.
— Messenger (@messenger) May 1, 2018
Messenger also released a Sephora make-up example to highlight its AR tools.
Though filters and Lenses allow you to put on different looks personally, it has yet to gain traction in commerce.
It lets you think how to use the new Messenger option—beyond text and images—into your world.
“To date, there are over 300,000 active bots on Messenger, and over 8 billion messages are exchanged between people and businesses each month; that’s 4x the amount of messages exchanged since just last year,” Marcus added.
He said that people shared over around 1.7 billion emojis every day and 18 billion GIFs in Messenger last year. It highlights the interest in visuals and its immersive experience.
While Messenger has yet to make a milestone in brand interactions, the numbers show that usage has grown.
With this news, you have to consider where messaging fits into your digital marketing.