ARtillry Briefs is a video series that outlines the top trends we’re tracking, including takeaways from recent reports and market forecasts. See the most recent episode below, and past installments are here

There are 476 million AR-compatible smartphones on the planet today, and ARtillry Intelligence projects consumer AR revenue to grow to $14.02 billion in 2021. Until smart glasses become sleek enough for consumer markets in the early 2020’s, most of that revenue will be software.

That means the magic (for now) is in mobile app strategies and business models. They’re early stage of course, but quickly developing. So far product strategies follow established mobile app tactics, historical lessons, and recent success stories (e.g. Pokemon Go’s revenue model).

One foundational lesson is that native thinking, or AR-first design, beats porting media into AR. That’s a lesson we’ve learned in almost every consumer tech revolution. But that said, AR’s  delivery vessel can piggyback on non-AR apps in the short term. Case in point: Amazon.

As for usability, build AR experiences that happen in short bursts. That’s simply due to usage realities like arm fatigue, or battery drain from a graphics-intensive UX. Also avoid AR features that are only about novelty. Sticky features like social messaging can drive active use.

As for business models, in-app purchases have been a proven revenue driver in the app era. Consumers are also comfortable with it, especially anything that involves achievement-based gamification. Visualizing consumer products is another key area, such as BMW’s iVisualizer.

Visualization apps not only have real utility, but they’re also inherently monetizable. iVisualizer for example flows consumers into a purchase funnel (think: local car dealer inventory). Visual search is another monetizable area, such as Google Lens (think: storefront visual searches).

But the the overarching lesson: Don’t do AR for AR’s sake. Clear goals and ROI metrics can inform product execution and make or break AR app outcomes. See the rest of the episode below, preview the report it’s based on here, and stay tuned for more educational videos.

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Disclosure: ARtillry has no financial stake in the companies mentioned in this post, nor received payment for its production. Disclosure and ethics policy can be seen here.