3 Keys to Creating the Right Augmented Reality Marketing Experience

“Augmented Reality” presents a world of opportunities just waiting to be visually altered by smart brands taking advantage of this multi-dimensional tool for enhancing user experiences. Studies have shown that over 60% of consumers see clear benefits in using AR technology in their daily lives, and there are now hundreds of AR startups on AngelList with an average valuation of $4.6 million.

Enriching the physical landscape with imagery and videos in real-time is both attention-grabbing and memorable, the pinnacle of marketing campaign effectiveness. But to reach the ultimate trifecta of ROI it also needs to be build a connection between the brand and the consumer. Here are some of the best practices now commonly used to create augmented reality content that drives the highest levels of engagement.

1. Building It

The first thought that comes to mind when you hear “augmented reality” may be a giant head-mounted display that takes away from the coolness factor of being an early adopter. After all, people had some choice things to say about the first wearers of Google Glass. But AR technology can be used on all sorts of screens including less cumbersome mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. The easiest and most cost-effective way for brands to get into this space is by utilizing an existing augmented reality viewer to build a campaign. This allows for testing the waters to learn what consumers respond to best before investing time and money into building your own app which can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $700,000 for high-level functionalities.

2. Perfecting It

Once you’ve established the right technology to wow your audiences it’s time to determine how you’ll encourage users to interact with their environment. Brands that have gone all in on AR campaigns will utilize mapping technology to let consumers virtually try on makeup or they’ll gamify a day at a theme park to make it somehow even more stimulating. But on the most fundamental level, augmented reality viewers are designed to simply place virtual objects in the real world, making this innovative technology well-suited to liven up even the most basic ad offerings like direct mail campaigns.

3. Promoting It

With the pieces in place to launch your augmented reality campaign, the final step is driving audiences to interact with it. Simply put, people won’t accidentally open an augmented reality viewer and take a look at your content. The only way users are going to know you have an AR experience is if you make sure they get that message loud and clear. That is why all the most successful AR marketing programs have one thing in common – strong calls to action. Virtually every consumer touchpoint should contain a reminder that an app on their device can expose them to a whole new world of exclusive content.

With predictions that augmented reality could hit $120 billion in revenue by 2020, now is the time for your brand to explore the technology and get comfortable using it. By making smaller investments while learning what works best to reach your consumers, you’ll have mastered the art of the AR campaign by the time all those AngelList startups have matured into the marketplace.


Is Content Marketing Dead?

In 2016, winding your way around the World Wide Web feels less like surfing the Internet and more like an acid trip. Once a place where marketers felt comfortable presenting carefully curated content has become an assault of seemingly random sights and sounds driven to virality by the curious enjoyment of consumers. Sure the typical tales of the Kardashians, their romances and their stolen jewelry will likely remain a part of the mainstream media’s messaging, but it’s far more aberrant posts which are rising to the top of trending stories, where they find more staying power than can be bought with millions of brand dollars.

“Content Shock,” or the theory that a person can only consume so much content, is no longer just a scary hypothetical addition to the marketer’s lexicon. It has been with us for quite some time and grows increasingly apparent to those who pay attention to what goes viral. People have become so inundated with communications, be they push marketing or branded content, native or social, that linear ideas and images no longer hold the same magic they did less than a decade ago. These three trends showcase the psychology of social virality in a world where content marketers are dead and “differentiation agents” will have to take their place to ensure impactful messaging moving forward:

  1. Cat Breading: The Birth of Non-Linear Marketing

There are few forces more powerful to marketers than that of novelty and intrigue. Neurobiologists have even found a region of the midbrain referred to as its “novelty center” which responds to unique stimuli by activating the release of dopamine. But despite their best efforts, many advertisers are unable to inspire these emotions in consumers even while heavily investing in creative pieces designed to break the mold. That’s because even their most original offerings are no match for a picture of a cat with a piece of bread around its head.

What began as a Tumblr post in 2011 and became the subject of a South Park episode in 2012 is still available as a Snapchat filter option in 2016, without any sort of branded promotional dollars behind it. Why? Because bread cats are non-linear, if not downright absurd, and for that reason they demand attention and inspire loyalty. Their novelty is intriguing to a population tired of being bombarded by far more purposeful content provided by advertisers. To really be heard, modern marketers need to take a step back from deliberate attempts at established variation, instead looking towards ideas that use confusion to their own advantage by inspiring the strange delight of consumers.

  1. Boaty McBoatface: The Power of Crowdsourced Humor

Super Bowl ads still drive a relatively engaged audience at scale due to carefully scripted, humor-based creative formats with celebrity power baked in at an opportune time. But these expensive marketing efforts can pale in comparison to the amount of earned media that can be garnered by a crowdsourced non-advertisement. Consider the Internet frenzy created in May when a British government agency decided to let netizens decide the name of a $287 million research vessel.

Quicker than virtually any brand-driven call to action could inspire, hundreds of thousands of voters flocked to support the moniker “Boaty McBoatface” and organic virality was instantly achieved, with the naming convention still showing up in nominations for more recent, similar contests. The force at work driving the popularity of this concept is its open-ended, unscripted opportunity for humor. When audiences are allowed to determine the direction the content takes rather than having it forced upon them, they respond. The lesson to marketers here is a deep one. The Internet doesn’t just want freedom of expression. It wants control over the direction the conversation takes. It wants to decide, rather than be told, what is funny and brands may benefit from incredible viral potential by letting it making such choices.

  1. Buzzfeed Basics: The Switch from Bigger Pictures to Smaller Ones

The media has changed in far greater ways than just a shift to digital content. This evolution is reflected not only in how stories are being shared but also by what is being talked about. Today’s most widely circulated news/entertainment websites now offer many narratives driven by random people in unusual situations, with articles like “A Raccoon Stole This Guy’s Phone and The Hilarious Chase Was Caught On Video” enabling Buzzfeed to become the most popular viral site month after month. That so many highly read stories are now quick-fire tales of circumstances with absolutely no relevance outside of an entertaining diversion demonstrates how popular content is becoming reflective of the self-involved generation which is consuming it. To combat this gap between what audiences want and what brands are able to offer, marketers need to realize they will lose relevance if they rely on pushing their clients’ established storylines, instead engaging the media with unique assets more appealing to journalists’ current desire to cover the little things.

Certainly, creating unique content remains an important aspect of a communications strategy, but unless consumers’ needs for authentic virality drivers are taken into account, all of the marketing dollars in the world are no match for the psychology which leads consumers to crave non-linear randomness in what messages they find worthwhile.



PR Exit Strategy: Data and Branded Content’s Role in Media Relations

There is a giant discrepancy between what people believe is the work of a communications/PR firm and what the work actually entails. This is never more true than the idealized opinions of startups versus the (often brave) firms and agencies that represent them. The common belief seems to hold that a few calls, and a couple of pitches to media friendlies means your startup will be featured the next day on every top-tier publication and outlet that exists.

The truth is that the countless hours, days and weeks of planning, strategy and executions to follow are rarely seen, but there is a great equalizer. For startups that actually have the foresight to go through the months it really takes to execute a killer PR plan, they may be in for results they couldn’t have ever dreamed of…

Read the full article at bulldogreporter.com




How To Use Native Advertising To Further Amplify Your Content

You’ve been here before. Yet another one of your compelling articles was picked up by that highly acclaimed publication you targeted. The article gained great traction and the shareability rates went through the roof. It was even syndicated across multiple blogs. While monitoring the article’s activity on buzzsumo, you’re yet again ecstatic about the engagement your content managed to spark.


After doing your utmost to promote the article on your owned channels, you see the momentum starting to fade. Despite the fact that the article will live on forever online, you wish you could continue to ride this wave of success and spread the value of your content (and promote your brand) to even more people.


Here is where native advertising comes in.


Spreading your content via earned and owned channels is a cost-free way to test how well your content can perform. Despite the power of UGC (User-Generated-Content), paid channels (native advertising) allow you to control exactly where your content gets “exposed”. Contrary to earned media; native advertising gives you the freedom to place your pre-tested content in the hands of influencers of your choice.


It is all about scale. Instead of your article being syndicated from 1 online publication, by transforming it to a native placement, it can now be syndicated from 25 different publications. For example: Your content is now moving from being amplified by 350 influencers and consumed by their 70,000 end consumers to being amplified by 8,750 influencers and consumed by their respective 1,750,000 end consumers.

See the difference in numbers here – If your content was compelling/entertaining/insightful/interesting enough to be forwarded by 350 influencers in the first place, why would it not be worth spreading to more influencers and a bigger pool of consumers? It is all so simple. Spread the wealth.


Set up your content via native

In order to maximize the output when implementing your content through native platforms, there are some steps to consider.

  1. Identify your content – Before you even select a native ad platform, you need to consider the type of content you’re intending to distribute. If your content is an article, Nativo is a good platform to use while Virool would be the platform of choice for any video content. With a wealth of options it is imperative to choose the platform that can deliver your content in the best way possible to the right people at the right time.
  2. Enhance your content – You are now paying to distribute this piece of content. Consider all options of enhancing your content to maximize benefit, but be careful so that it does not remove the novelty nature that made the content so extraordinary in the first place. For example: Consider embedding links and buttons to drive the reader directly to the landing pages of your choice. Give your content additional editing rounds to ensure it is completely spot-free.
  3. Implement your content – When you are uploading/setting up your content to the native ad solution make sure that the current format fits the template of the platform to prevent the risk of any aesthetic issues. Create a compelling native ad unit that uses a variety of different headlines and imagery that are consistent with the story of the content. Think of creative ways to find new copy. For example: What did the previous influencers have to say about your content? If there was something said that was smart, funny, insightful – maybe it can work as a terrific headline. Just be sure to give the influencer credit.
  4. Target your new influencers – Now you have a vast selection of options where to place your content, but choose wisely. Ask yourself what type of influencers you are looking to reach and identify the type of influencers who previously interacted with your content. Use resources like quantcast to quickly find out the demographics, interests and behaviors of influencers by domains. You now have the opportunity to spread your content across influencers and consumers at a scale your earned media efforts could never even dream of achieving.


Now release your content and watch it be embraced once again. Only this time it is being embraced by a much larger audience. Congratulations, you have successfully prolonged the impact of your content and established a new solid trust in your brand.


This can now be your new content marketing mantra – Test your content with earned/owned efforts. Promote your best content with paid efforts.




This article was originally featured on The Native Advertising Institute


Photo Source: Stanislav Novak