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Enhancing Your Print Materials with Augmented Reality

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  • Enhancing Your Print Materials with Augmented Reality
05 Sep 2019

Augmented reality (AR) has been popping up everywhere recently - from apps and in-store displays to TV shows and magazine ads. This new technology may seem a bit confusing at first, but you’ve probably seen or used some form of AR without even realizing it. For example, Snapchat, a multimedia messaging app, has ‘filters’ which are a form of AR that overlay digital designs onto the user or real-world surroundings. The Pokemon Go gaming app uses AR to project Pokemon characters into the environment around users with the objective to find and ‘capture’ them on their phone. When the Weather Channel shows digital overlays of extreme weather events, like flooding and hurricanes, they’re using a form of AR as well.

Once you know what to look for, you’ll notice AR all over. There are numerous uses for AR in marketing and we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of possibilities. With any new technology, however, it’s important to invest some time researching it to see if it makes sense for your brand or print materials.

Top 4 Considerations for Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is quickly turning from novelty to a valuable engagement tool. How can you harness this innovative technology in your own marketing campaign? To help you answer this question, there are several considerations you should think about before investing in AR.


Barrier to Entry

There’s an undeniable learning curve to using AR, but that’s less of an issue as time goes on and it becomes more ubiquitous. In fact, eMarketer projects that by the end of 2019, nearly one-fifth of U.S. internet users will be using AR. Still, users need to take out their phone, download an app, and consciously engage with the technology. This requires a certain level of knowledge and willingness of the participant.

AR users

Furthermore, there isn’t a single, standard program for this technology, so users may have to install several different apps from different brands. Many developers are working to create a standard framework for AR experiences, but as of now, there isn’t a universal platform. 

Choosing a Platform

An essential consideration when designing a marketing material with AR is which platform to select. Apple, Google, Microsoft, and a number of smaller companies offer AR programs you can use. Finding one that will create the most seamless user experience is crucial to your campaign’s success.

Make sure you understand exactly what steps the end-user will need to take to interact with your AR content and test it out on several devices to make sure the experience works well on all of them. If you’re new to this process, partnering with an experienced AR company is a good idea to help you figure out the benefits and pitfalls of each platform and figure out which will work best for your needs. (Download the Sunray AR App by clicking the Google Play Store or Apple App Store below.)

app store sundance sunray app

Finding the Right Fit

With the growing popularity of AR, it can be tempting to jump into this exciting new technology without thinking about if it really makes sense for your brand and message. Certainly, lots of different companies can find ways to successfully incorporate AR, but using it in the most effective way should be a primary focus. If your business relies on demonstrations, try-ons, product testing, or tours, AR allows customers to experience products or services before purchasing in a way that was only previously possible through real-life interactions. In this way, you can create a relevant experience that adds real value to the buying process. You can also add an element of fun or social connectivity to further enhance the user’s experience. (Direct Mail + Augmented Reality is a match made in heaven)

augmented reality and direct mail

Designing and executing an AR campaign requires the work of a creative team with technical expertise. Before designing anything though, think about how consumers interact with your brand. For example, makeup companies are using AR for trying on cosmetics. Customers use their smartphones to scan print ads or direct mail pieces to virtually ‘try on’ different shades and formulas. Then, they can purchase the products they like directly through the app. This type of usage simulates an in-store experience from home, allowing printed marketing materials to be much more interactive and responsive than standard print pieces.

Partner with an Expert

It’s hard to launch an AR campaign if you’ve never used the technology yourself. Familiarize yourself by engaging with AR pieces through various mediums on different devices and brainstorm ways you could translate that experience for your brand. When you’re starting out, partner with experienced digital agencies to prototype your AR experience and guide you through the process to make sure it works exactly as you need it to for the end-user. There’s nothing more frustrating than going through the process of downloading an app and attempting to engage with something that doesn’t work or fails to live up to its potential. Don’t lose goodwill with your customers by putting out a subpar or untested AR campaign.

sundance augmented reality print integration-1

Augmented Reality with SunDance

Create a memorable and unique customer experience that will set you apart from competitors while adding value to the purchasing process. AR is also a great storytelling tool by creating immersive experiences with your products and message. This kind of engagement greatly increases the chance of conversion and prompts social media sharing, word-of-mouth marketing, and referrals. AR bridges the gap between a traditional in-store retail experience and online purchasing, making it a valuable asset for many businesses that traditionally rely on face-to-face interactions.

With our experience in both print and AR, SunDance can support your team by helping you to brainstorm, design, and implement AR in your marketing materials. Contact us today to enroll in our AR program and start igniting higher levels of engagement between your brand and audience.

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