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AR is being applied in all kinds of places as an engagement driver for brand advertising and commerce. So it was only a matter of time before it reached one of the oldest but consistently-effective digital marketing mediums: email. Movable Ink has done just that.

The company lets marketers create email components that activate AR experiences for recipients. So clicking on an AR call-to-action activates the front-facing camera and launches AR interactions that involve the sender’s product. This can involve style items, travel, food and several verticals.

As part of its trials, the company announced some solid key performance indicators (KPIs) to the tune of 81 percent email open rates. To put that in perspective, average open rates in email marketing and newsletters is about 21 percent (our newsletter averages about 27 percent).

source: MailChimp

In a separate email campaign for Virgin Holidays, the company saw a 40 percent boost in email open rates. Beyond open rates, post-open engagement was also favorable at 75 percent more than the benchmark of previous campaigns (see the full campaign results below).

Email marketing KPIs usually measure clicks, but an equally telling metric is time, where it saw half of email opens lead to 1-minute+ AR engagement. 50 percent of opens also resulted in the recipient taking a selfie with the AR animation and 45 percent of those shared it on social media.

Of course, this means the opportunity is limited recipients opening these emails on their smartphones, as opposed to desktop, but mobile email engagement continues to grow. Moreover, engagement KPIs like open rates are much higher on mobile, averaging about 55 percent.


One of the innovations here isn’t just bringing AR to email but making it dead simple to create these admittedly basic AR animations. As we heard recently from Facebook and Amazon, brand and enterprise AR adoption requires lowered barriers to entry, and more drag & drop creation.

Another bucket this goes in is the “building block” tools that we’re very bullish on. AR will require such lowered barriers and democratization on the supply and demand side (users). It’s going to be a big theme in 2019. Meanwhile, see the video above from Movable Ink to get the full picture.


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Disclosure: AR Insider 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.

Header image credit: Lowes