There’s growing sentiment in the mobile AR world that apps aren’t the optimal vessel. Yet the technology lives on a device where apps rule. 90 percent of mobile users’ time is spent in apps versus the browser. Can AR break that cycle? And if so, could web AR be the answer?

What is web AR? In short, it delivers AR experiences through the mobile browser. Advantages include dynamism for AR’s serendipity and short sessions, versus the friction of app stores and downloads. There, “activation energy” dampens already-challenged AR adoption.

For example, will consumers spend 90 seconds downloading an app for an experience that lasts 30 seconds? Consider this in light of dynamic AR activations within a store aisle or real-world social interaction. These scenarios happen fast and need AR formats that can be the same.

In these moments of dynamic activation, AR formats that can launch with minimal friction and maximum compatibility will gain the most traction. These factors will also grow in importance as brands and retailers increasingly plant AR activation markers on products and spaces.

But how will web AR reach that potential? What are best practices for web AR experiences and marketing campaigns? And who’s doing it right so far? Our research arm ARtillery Intelligence tackled these questions in its recent report, which we’ve excerpted below.

Web AR: Best Practices & Case Studies

Marketing Playbook

The question that flows from the above scene-setting is: what’s the best way to build experiences that lean into web AR’s advantages? After the last installment examined web AR user-experience tactics, we’ll now dive into marketing best practices. How can brands build effective campaigns?

Goal Setting: In the case of web AR marketing campaigns, the discovery phase is critical, says Rock Paper Reailty’s Patrick Johnson. It’s all about goal-setting, including mapping out campaign objectives, such as brand awareness (upper-funnel) or revenue lift (lower-funnel).

It’s also about defining targeted personas that the campaign — and thus the brand — is meant to engage. These steps directly steer campaign strategy.

For example, when working with brand clients, Johnson sometimes advises them not to do AR. This happens whenever it’s discovered in early phases that their goals don’t align with AR and they’re instead driven by “tech for tech’s sake” (see “silver bullet” section below).

What are Top Web AR Tactics? Part I

Commitment Level: Related to goal-setting, it’s important to gauge advertisers’ financial commitment. What’s their paid ad budget? This will impact what and how many channels an AR experience can be distributed to (see calls-to-action section below). Sometimes more is better.

Not a Silver Bullet: Though AR continues to broaden into new product categories, Johnson says that it shines today in a few specific areas. One example is commodities that differentiate mostly on marketing (think: Budweiser versus Coors). Apply AR deliberately and carefully.

Calls-To-Action are Critical: Another important campaign tactic comes down to activation points. Where and when is the AR experience activated? Calls-to-action should be placed in the paths of targeted users, whether that’s websites, social posts or print QR codes.

Effectiveness traces back to the all-important discovery stage referenced above. Know the campaign’s target personas and the media touchpoints to which they’re endemic. Beyond the initial call-to-action, it’s advisable to map out the entire experience and clickstream.

In other words, optimize the flow from call-to-action to activation to post-AR action. The latter goes back to campaign goals and can include things like social shares, or buying a given product. Build the experience around that flow and steer users toward intended actions.

What Differentiates Web AR from Apps?

Listen to the Data: Building on the previous point, how do you know where to place calls to action and optimize AR experiences? The answer is to work with an agency like RPR and platforms like 8th Wall that have refined AR playbooks. And develop your own competency through testing.

Saatchi Art has done both. It stresses the importance of analytics, as its marketing team is evaluating where to place AR calls-to-action. Buttons are currently on individual product pages, but should they also exist further up the funnel as more of a discovery tool?

We’ll pause there and circle back next week with more web AR analysis and tactics…

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