Augmented reality has changed the game of social media advertising. When used well, it can enhance consumers’ experience with your brand.
The key to advertising through social media is to integrate augmented reality into your brand’s marketing mix. Snapchat’s interactive lenses, for example, have opened the door for an entirely new form of marketing. Their efforts have been so effective that brands like Facebook have already jumped on the bandwagon.
Some brands are willing to pay $750k for a custom Snapchat lens, knowing the price is well worth it. These lenses not only expose brands to consumers but also engulf consumers into their brand story. This creates a more intimate user experience than ever before.
Below, Julia Melmon, Megan Rogers, Savannah Smith, and Joachim Scholz discuss why utilizing social media networks’ augmented reality features is the future of advertising. This article focuses on Snapchat, the first social media platform to bring augmented reality to the masses.
Augmented Reality in Practice: Snapchat Lenses
Snapchat set a new standard for social media interaction by creating disappearing messages and interactive AR lenses for users to play with. There are always multiple lenses interact with at any given time, and users can snap a photo or quick video of themselves engaging with the lens. They can then share this created content directly with friends. Or, they can post these snaps on their “stories” for all of their Snapchat friends to view.
Brands can develop their own Snapchat filters for consumers to utilize. An example of a popular Snapchat advertisement campaign is the Gatorade Super Bowl lens. This lens allowed users to step into the shoes of the winning coach at the Super Bowl. More importantly, it gave users a chance to “soak” in the glory of winning the game.
Giving users the ability to become coaches in the comfort of their own homes allowed Gatorade to integrate their brand into the lives of consumers. This lens had 160 million impressions, which is more than the 115 million viewers that tuned into the actual game.
By displaying your own brand through an augmented reality lens, such as those offered by Snapchat, you have the possibility of reaching millions of users and their peers in a unique and fun way.
Snapchat Advertisement Lenses Create Physical Brand Engagement
Most advertising today lacks true social brand engagement. Both digital and mass media advertising leave the brand outside consumers’ lives. With digital ads, consumers are simply hearing about the brand. With social media, they talk about the brand.
To keep your brand present in consumers’ daily lives, it’s vital to increase customer engagement and create relevance. There has to be that something extra to gets consumers talking.
Snapchat augmented reality differs from usual methods because it actually merges the brand into consumers’ lives. Incorporating a brand into the daily lives of your customers triggers genuine brand engagement and thus increases brand relevance. But what is it that makes AR features such as Snapchat lenses so effective for social media advertising?
Augmented Reality Lenses Place Advertisers In Front Of The Audience
With so many users, there is no doubt Snapchat advertising is excellent for reaching the maximum number of young individuals. It is also extremely convenient, considering that users don’t have to download a separate app to use the lenses.
Makeup brands Urban Decay and Benefit Cosmetics used this to their advantage when they ran promoted lenses on Snapchat. These interactive lenses encouraged sharing across social media networks, increasing interest and sales.
Benefit’s VP of Brand & Digital Marketing, Nicole Frusci, was pleased with the results:
“Everyone is incredibly happy with what it’s done for the brand as well as for the launch day. We noticed there was a huge amount of usage from consumers to beauty influencers to other partners of ours. We saw a huge spike in the cross-sharing on other channels that was greater than we expected.”
Leaders from both companies testified that the lenses were successful in raising awareness and driving purchase intent.
While costly, augmented reality advertising on social media platforms allows you to reach your target market without paying for the development of a full-blown app.
Furthermore, since so many users already have social media apps like Snapchat, they are more likely to play with these lenses than download another app. With over 100 million daily users, aging 18 to 34, just imagine the potential eyes that could see your brand every minute.
Augmented Reality Lenses Give Consumers Control
What further differentiates augmented reality advertising is that users ultimately create the ads themselves. It gives consumers full control over advertisement selection.
To consumers, the brand simply provides them entertainment as it merges their reality with AR.
When a new filter is released on Snapchat, users are eager to find out what funny and exciting face-changing effects the filter will have. Ultimately, this causes them to interact with the filter; their curiosity and desire to be entertained is what drives user interaction with lenses.
While some lenses feature sponsored content, users still try them out and share their interactions with friends for their own enjoyment.
The balance between sponsored and non-sponsored content keeps Snapchat users interested in the lenses. Avoiding advertisement overload is what Snapchat is doing right, especially with young users who are fatigued by digital ads.
This two-way street essentially allows you as a marketer to create genuine, authentic relationships with consumers. Consumers do not like to be forced to see advertisements, which is why the free choice to use sponsored Snapchat advertising filters is key.
AR Lenses Are Highly Shareable
Snapchat’s use of AR creates an increase in customer engagement by allowing consumers to experience products in unique ways. Centering the brand experience around consumers and giving them the ability to create unique content also increases their likeliness to share it with others.
When people choose to post Snapchats of themselves using a sponsored lens, they are ultimately creating brand experiences they find worth sharing.
Essentially, consumers tell the brand’s story through producing individual content on the app and sending it to their friends.
What gives a brand the most exposure is when users post created content on their Snapchat stories. Multiplication effects then occur, as one person who sees that story may be inclined to use the lens in their own selfie. This creation and sharing of content ultimately gives your brand more earned media that you don’t even need to buy!
One company success story includes Michael Kors, who partnered with Snapchat to allow users to add sunglasses to their selfies for National Sunglasses Day.
After just one day, the Michael Kors Lens had more than 104 million views and increased ad awareness by 18%. By encouraging Snapchat users to send their snaps to friends or post on their stories, they tripled purchase intent in a creative and entertaining way.
Overall, if you put your brand where your target audience already is, you will save time and increase potential exposure. Additionally, giving users the control to create content allows you to create genuine relationships with consumers. Finally, this freedom to create unique content will increase their likeliness to share your brand with even MORE consumers.
How to Create an Intriguing AR Advertisement Through Social Media
Making an AR lens for your brand is not as easy as you may think. When creating augmented reality advertisements on social media, there are a few key things to keep in mind.
To build a successful lens for your brand, make sure that your lens reflects your brand story, integrates with the social media’s platform, focuses on the consumer, and aligns with current times.
Align with your Brand Story
The story of your brand should be the root of all your advertisements; this will help consumers correctly interpret the lens that you create.
Furthermore, having a story that is authentic and true to your company will help mitigate the risk of possible misinterpretation of the AR lens. For example, the Beats lens demonstrates the euphoria people feel when they listen to their favorite track through Beats headphones.
Integrate with the Social Media’s Platform
Next, be sure to align the flavor of your campaign with the social media platform you choose.
Snapchat, for example, is a fun and playful application, so your advertisement lens should be exciting for consumers. For the Beats lens, Drake’s “Big Rings” plays in the background, while the lens detects where the user’s head, mouth and eyes are as they bob about to the track. These novel features encourage consumers to select the lens and send it their friends.
Focus on the Customer
While creating an AR lens, it is always important to make the user the focus of your design. In the Beats lens, the user becomes the person wearing the headphones, making them the center of the advertisement. You do not want the lens to be centered around your product. Rather, you want the consumer to feel like they the center of attention, with your product simply enhancing the experience.
Remember, giving consumers full control of content creation ultimately increases physical engagement with your brand.
Make it Timely
It’s important for your campaign to reflect what is currently happening in society. The Beats filter was timely because the lens was only available for users for 24 hours on Black Friday. This timing was great because on Black Friday consumers flock stores to get the hottest deals. By having the filter live during this critical shopping day, Beats was able to position their product in the minds of millions of users.
If you follow these 4 tips, you’re off to a great start in creating an exciting experience for your consumers!
Where it Can Go Wrong
While these tips are all very helpful, it’s difficult to create a perfect lens.
Above, the Gatorade Super Bowl lens accurately portrays their brand, fits the platform, is consumer centric and timely. By having the cooler of Gatorade virtually dumped on the consumer’s head, Gatorade was able to shift the focus away from their brand and to create a stage for their customers.
However, while this Snapchat advertisement is well done, it could be even better. Gatorade could have integrated their logo on the bottom left more subtly to keep the focus on the consumer. Similarly, Beats could have integrated their logo more seamlessly with the interface.
The most important part of creating an AR lens for your product is ensuring that users become the center stage. At the same time, your content must be relevant to their daily lives.
Ultimately, this new form of marketing differentiates itself from other forms of advertising by shifting the focus away from the brand and onto the consumer. Remember this when you create your own campaign!
The Future of Physical Brand Engagement
Augmented reality looks to be the future of social media advertising. Today’s consumers have a newfound disdain for traditional advertisements in social media, making it hard for marketers to send their message. To capture and keep their attention, consumers expect more from brands; they want deeper relationships that can only be created through experiences.
This is where augmented reality comes in.
Unlike traditional social media advertising, AR in social media advertising shifts the focus towards consumers and away from the brand.
Snapchat’s AR lenses champions this notion, relinquishing all control to consumers.
However, Snapchat is not the only social media network that offers augmented reality advertising. Other platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, are quickly hopping on the train. Moreover, using these established social media networks’ AR functions is far more efficient than creating your own AR app from scratch.
So don’t fall into the rut of traditional advertising on social media. Instead, integrate AR advertising with existing social media networks to make a lasting impression on consumers.
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