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 $4.7 billion in 2023 to $11.8 billion in 2028 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.

How is this coming together? And what are best practices? These questions were tackled in a recent report by our research arm, ARtillery Intelligence, including 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 4

Augmented Aisles

H-E-B is a grocery chain with 340+ stores throughout Texas. Like many retail businesses, the name of the game is to increase and engage in-store foot traffic, especially around the holiday season. So it turned to AR to create holiday magic, including in-store and offsite engagement.

With that set of goals, H-E-B worked with digital agency Groove Jones on its “Holiday Even Brighter” AR campaign. It included front-facing (selfie) filters to pose with Santa and rear-facing filters to turn one’s room into a snow globe. Each included a “Learn More” call to action button.

To distribute and amplify the AR experience, H-E-B took a multi-channel approach to get it in front of customers. For example, to engage in-store shoppers, it placed QR codes on in-store signage, Christmas tree tags, and holiday pies. When scanned, AR filters opened on Instagram.

H-E-B also targeted ads over Facebook and Instagram to individuals 16+ in Texas. Working with agency Adaptiv, placements included Facebook and Instagram feeds; Facebook, Instagram and Messenger Stories; Instagram Explore, Instant Articles, and In-Stream Auction.

How Big is Mobile AR’s User Base?

Extra Push

And the results? H-E-B’s campaign achieved a 6-point lift in ad recall, which jumped to 9.6 percent among spending-empowered 45-54 year-olds. It also saw a 3.1-point greater purchase intent than non-AR benchmarks and a 60 percent decrease in cost per incremental ad recall.

Given those results and H-E-B’s execution, what are best practices and transferrable strategies to point to? First, on a surface level, the campaign was given additional oxygen by piggybacking on holiday cheer. Sometimes AR needs that extra push to achieve the above results.

Another key component of the campaign was the paid media component that gave it another extra nudge. AR can thrive on its own in terms of organic and viral growth for a given lens. But to get the ball rolling for brand marketers, sometimes paid amplification can set it off on the right foot.

Paid amplification is also an incremental cost that can ensure the rest of the campaign’s investments (lens creation, agency fees, etc.) are fruitful. It takes risk out of the equation and guarantees a certain level of user engagement, which can grow naturally and virally from there.

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