Augmented reality can work miracles for your brand – but your money will be wasted if you get it wrong. Here are the 6 dangerous AR mistakes we see most often.
On the ARzilla blog, we tend to write about successful, creative, high-quality AR content. This can create the impression that augmented reality is a sort of a magic bullet: just use it, and your audience will be wowed. Sadly, the majority of AR campaigns we see don’t succeed – and today, we’ll show you why.
Mistake no. 1: Launch and forget
It’s not enough to just toss your AR content out into the world – you have to promote it. Write a catchy press release and send it out to the media – especially AR-related websites. Make nice visuals and publish the info on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Make an announcement on YouTube if you can – get people interested in your piece of augmented reality!
Unless… you want to launch the campaign in a hush-hush, secretive way and let your audience discover it. That’s a tricky game to play, though. If you do it right, the campaign will go viral, but the content has to be explosive. Or you need a strong brand.
Ed Sheeran got it right with his sneaky release of the megahit Shape of You. He hid 30 seconds from the track in a Snapchat lens. Nothing fancy, just a pair of sunglasses – but if your sound was turned on, you’d be among the first in the world to hear the new song.
Mistake no. 2: Making a new app for every campaign
Let’s say your first AR campaign was a success. Tons of people downloaded the app and interacted with the content. Your sales, brand awareness, and customer loyalty increased. Of course, you want to repeat this success – but offer a different AR experience this time. The question is, do you build a new AR app?
Definitely not. Users really don’t want to download yet another app – in fact, a recent study showed that 61% of people won’t install one just to communicate with a business.
One solution is to plan your original AR app in such a way that you can add new experiences to it. This way, you can build a following for the app itself. However, you’ll need to add content frequently. This can work for online stores that offer virtual try-ons, be it cosmetics, furniture, or something else.
IKEA keeps adding new furniture items to the Place app.
But… you know what’s better than using one app for all your AR campaigns?
Not using any app at all.
We at ARzilla are huge enthusiasts of WebAR – a technology that lets users access AR content from their browser. It’s a much more immediate experience that the user can access anywhere – even at the supermarket.
Speaking of supermarkets…
Mistake no. 3: Getting too hung up on traditional formats
Most people interact with AR through Snapchat and Instagram filters, and that’s fine. It’s certainly a format you should try.
There are also a handful of other standard formats for AR: billboards, leaflets, virtual “try-before-you-buy”s in online stores, printed catalogs…
But if you’re using WebAR, there are many more use cases open to you, some of which are unexpected and pack a wow factor. For instance:
– Interactive packaging – such as wine and soda bottles or milk cartons. Anyone with a reasonably new smartphone can scan the QR code on a package and watch an animation or video – like here with Coca Cola:
– Business cards: you can even introduce yourself in a short video
– Birthday and party cakes with edible AR markers (yes, seriously)
– Treasure hunts: hide clues in various locations and send your users to search for them
Mistake no. 4: Producing AR content without real value
You know how sometimes a movie can be beautifully shot, with great CGI and music, but lack a convincing story and characters? No matter how much money was spent on it, the result will still disappoint – because production value isn’t the same as real value.
Think of your AR campaign as a movie in this sense. What will the users get out of it? If it’s a prize or a giveaway, it has to be something they want. If it’s just fun, it has to actually be fun. For example, soccer club Manchester City produced an AR stadium tour that lets users interact with a realistic hologram of the team’s manager, Pep Guardiola. If you’re a true Man City fan, this is something you’ll love:
Mistake no. 5: Expecting everyone to have the latest phones
If your AR content features next-gen 3D graphics or heavy videos, chances are that it will run smoothly only on the most expensive flagship phones. Are you sure that at least 90% of your target audience has that sort of gadget? If not, stick with something they’ll actually be able to play.
How much memory the app requires is also important. You can’t expect users to waste 100 MB of space just to watch a cute video.
Remember: an AR experience doesn’t have to be top-quality to be a success. For instance, when we at ARzilla created this SocialAR filter game, we went for really basic graphics. And yet, we got hundreds of thousands of downloads.
Mistake no. 6: Not testing enough
It doesn’t matter if you go for an app or a WebAR browser experience – it has to be very, very easy to use. Ideally, the audience shouldn’t need any explanations beyond “scan the QR code and watch the magic happen.”
You don’t have to hire paid testers: ask your friends and family to try the experience. The less tech-savvy, the better. If your grandma enjoys it, you (and the AR studio) have succeeded.
Another key factor is device compatibility. There’s nothing worse than getting excited about an app, downloading it, and then seeing a notification like “Sorry, this app doesn’t work on your device.” It’s the job of the studio to test for bugs, but don’t take anything for granted: double-check.
Any of these six mistakes can turn a promising AR campaign into a failure. If you’re thinking about using AR to promote your business but are worried about getting it wrong, shoot us an email at email@example.com. We’d be happy to share some ideas!