AR continues to evolve and take shape. Like other tech sectors, it has spawned several sub-sectors that comprise an ecosystem. These include industrial ARconsumer VR, and AR shopping. Existing alongside all of them – and overlapping to some degree – is AR marketing.

Among other things, AR marketing includes sponsored AR lenses that let consumers visualize products in their space. This field – including AR creation tools and ad placement – could grow from $2.78 billion last year to $9.85 billion by 2026 according to ARtillery Intelligence.

Factors propelling this growth include brand advertisers’ escalating affinity for, and recognition of, AR’s potential. More practically speaking, there’s a real business case. AR marketing campaigns continue to show strong performance metrics when compared with 2D benchmarks.

But how is this coming together? And what are best practices? These questions were tackled in a recent report by ARtillery Intelligence, containing narrative analysis, revenue projections, and campaign case studies. It joins our report excerpt series, with the latest below.

AR Marketing: Best Practices & Case Studies, Volume II

Pick & Try

Many of the case studies in this report focus on fashion products. Indeed, AR’s visualization capabilities are aligned with everything from shoes to eyeshadow. But beyond mobile AR lens-based modalities in most of these case studies, AR can be delivered in bigger ways.

Specifically, MAC Cosmetics’ New York concept store delivers virtual try-ons via smart mirrors. Executed with the help of creative agency Valtech, its “pick & try” feature employs mirrors that virtually apply cosmetics to shoppers’ faces to simulate the real thing.

As for the in-store experience, Shoppers can pick up any lipstick shade which then prompts these mirrors (via RFID) to apply the corresponding shade to their reflections. They can also save their looks to a digital ‘MAC Pass’ profile that can be accessed for subsequent online shopping.

And the results? Since launching its AR-fueled store, MAC achieved a 200 percent increase in engagement versus comparative-store benchmarks. The MAC Pass premium subscription also resonated with smart-mirror shoppers, 33 percent of whom signed up for the new program.

The AR Space Race, Part VI: Amazon

Foundational Shade

Altogether, the advantage MAC is going for is a tech-forward and time-saving way to try on makeup. Swatching several shades is otherwise a time-consuming process. Furthermore, automatic skin-tone matching can result in intelligent suggestions for the ideal foundational shade.

The time is also right, given the distancing protocols of the Covid Era. MAC’s smart mirrors not only limit human interaction that’s endemic to high-touch cosmetics try-ons, but it likewise limits touching and sharing physical products, particularly faceworn fare like lipstick.

We could start to see AR branch out from smartphones in the above ways, taking form in physical retail installations like smart mirrors. Indeed, Amazon is already experimenting with such technologies as it continues its physical retail conquests. AR will play a key role in its road map.

Header image credit: Laura Chouette on Unsplash

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