AR continues to evolve and take shape. Like other tech sectors, it has spawned several sub-sectors that comprise an ecosystem. These include industrial AR, consumer 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 $3.4 billion in 2022 to $14.5 billion in 2027 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.
Name of the Game
Building from AR marketing platforms examined so far in this series – such as Snap and Meta – we now move on to the latest entrant: TikTok. It has exploded as a user-generated media powerhouse, differentiated by authenticity and a use case that engenders deep engagement.
Among other things, these attributes compel long sessions of content discovery for TikTok users. This means greater exposure for creators, which incentivizes and stimulates their production work. All that creation energy fuels the content that’s the lifeblood of any social platform.
So how does that foundation prime the pump for AR? TikTok’s Effect House launched in 2022 to compete with Snap’s Lens Studio and Meta Spark. In fact, TikTok now sits where Snap and Meta once sat at earlier stages of their AR platforms’ life cycles before they really scaled up.
But the question is if TikTok has the organizational drive and commitment to AR that Snap has. As we examined earlier in this series, AR is in Snap’s DNA, and remains an organizational north star. This fuels Snap’s ongoing AR dominance, including six billion daily lens engagements.
Does TikTok have that same level of commitment in its corresponding AR efforts? Will it invest in Effect House to the extent that Snap has invested in Lens Studio? Having a platform only gets you so far… ongoing investment and deep-rooted commitment are the name of the game.
Drilling further into Effect House itself, the platform (like Lens Studio) requires some degree of technical abilities, but much of its UX is object-oriented (drag & drop). It also offers documentation, templates, tutorials, and a “knowledge lab” to guide creators’ AR effects.
It also offers functions that provide a creative baseline for users to build on. These include interaction templates like segmentation, face mask, head tracker, face stretch, and others. There are also elements like textures, materials, lighting, and shadows that creators can use.
One flavor of AR that’s become popular on TikTok is randomizers. These display a small container above a user’s face that rapidly alternates text or graphics before stopping on a specific attribute that’s meant to characterize that user (think: what animal would you be? ). They’re fun and simple.
In other words, these lenses carry a low technical cost in that they don’t require AR graphics that dimensionally interact with their surroundings. Randomizers are just a simple 2D overlay. This is a good example of AR whose value lies in a fun factor, rather than technical complexity.
Beyond randomizers, we could see novel AR formats emerge that are based on TikTok’s unique properties and dynamics. For example, TikTok’s signature “Duets” can inspire AR use cases where effects morph and cascade through several progressive remixes among users.
We’ll pause there and return in the next installment with AR marketing platform profiles and campaign case studies that demonstrate best practices. Meanwhile, see the full report here.