How AR is Changing Social Media Marketing

Embrace an Alternate Reality in the COVID Era


Let’s face it – right now, reality bites. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a seismic shift in consumer behavior, affecting the way people shop and entertain themselves. Since the ability to go out is limited, marketers must find a way to provide entertainment and bring traditionally outdoor activities into their consumers’ homes. A great way to accomplish this is through augmented reality (AR).

Unlike virtual reality (VR), which uses headsets to replace vision with a new reality, AR enhances reality by adding graphics and animations to vision via a mobile device. The most pervasive example of AR is Pokemon Go, which took the entire world by storm in 2016. Since then, AR has expanded from gaming to social ads, story filters, and websites. Learn more about the basics of AR below, as well as how to add them to your marketing mix to better entertain and convert customers.


What AR the Basics?

Facebook has partnered with Spark AR to assist in the creation of AR social assets. 

It’s important to note that, right now, AR ads can only run on Facebook’s mobile news feed. Despite the limited ad placements, AR ads support a handful of objectives: brand awareness, reach, traffic, and conversions. Additionally, paid AR ads must include one of these 3 call-to-actions: “Tap to Try It On”, “Tap to Interact”, and “Tap to See It In Your Space”.

Not quite ready to put money behind AR creative? That’s fine – you can build AR Instagram Story filters and upload them organically to Instagram.


AR Tactics:

AR ads aren’t just cool and customizable – they’re a great tool to use to capture interest and drive businesses forward. We’ve identified 3 different tactics that AR ads can help support: education, driving trial, and brand awareness.


AR ads provide a more interactive way for audiences to learn about product details. There are a couple of options available to execute this. One way is to create a barcode that, when scanned by a mobile device, triggers product information to populate on-screen. Another method is to link to a website with an AR experience feature; users can click that link on their mobile phones and a moveable AR render of the product will appear on-screen, showcasing all product features. Allowing consumers to “see” the product by providing a more hands-on learning experience is more memorable – and exciting – than listing product benefits on a page, thus making your brand stand out among competitors.

Drive Trial:

Online shopping has one major drawback – the inability to try items on. Luckily, AR ads can turn mobile devices into dressing rooms. Michael Kors was the first brand to test paid AR ads that allowed consumers to “try on” different styles of their Lon aviator sunglasses. “We were curious to see how using Facebook Augmented Reality ads could help us tell a product story and offer a meaningful experience for our fans,” said Linz Shelton, Director of Global Social Media at Michael Kors. “We found that, by allowing customers to virtually “try on” the Lon aviators in a range of colors, we enabled immersive shareable interactions that drove strong campaign results.” 

Great results, indeed – this campaign resulted in a +14% incremental lift in purchases and a +20.4-point lift in ad recall. Conversion AR ads not only provide a tangible experience for your consumer, but the process of virtually trying on and testing products generates excitement that prompts them to purchase.



Looking for a unique way to stand out against the competition? Capture the attention of prospecting audiences who have

 had little to no brand interaction by piquing their interest with an AR experience. To gain awareness on a large scale, you can serve your prospecting audiences a gamified AR ad that encourages interaction. Capitol Records UK used this tactic to raise awareness for Liam Payne’s latest album and it worked well, garnering a +5.2-point increase in brand awareness and a +19-point increase in ad recall.

However, raising awareness via AR ads doesn’t just happen via paid social; creating a fun Instagram Story filter people can use and share is a great way to provide audiences entertainment and content for their own feed. “Which Disney Are You” quiz by arnopartissimo, omg_arfilters’ “Hogwarts Sorting!” filter, and the “Who Is More/Couple Edition” AR quizzes by vanmonke have used this strategy to great effect.


In Conclusion

AR ads are not only versatile and customizable; they support a multitude of objectives that can help brands stand out from competitors while achieving business goals. As lockdowns continue into the summer, audiences are going to be hungry for content that entertains them and delivers traditionally public experiences into the comfort of their home.

So – are you ready to give your campaigns a reality check?

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