Few announcements elicit such excitement and hype as the release of a new iPhone. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the iconic smartphone’s debut, the iPhone 8 featured impressive features such as wireless charging, a 3D face-scanning camera, and OLED screens for enhanced clarity. And while the gadget-obsessed might appreciate the excitement of these new upgrades, there is one new feature that truly lives up to the hype—and may disrupt marketing as we know it far faster than any of us have anticipated: augmented reality, or AR.
If the marketing community was waiting for a sign that the AR era is upon us, Apple loudly and clearly transmitted two signals to that effect, with the release of its ARKit. AR functionality is now the new “norm,” and any future smartphones releases that do not feature native AR applications will be at a disadvantage. Why? The two main reasons are campaign and content.
It’s possible to generate revenue with AR
While AR apps existed prior to last week, only one had ever achieved mainstream success, Niantic’s Pokémon Go gaming app. The success of the app and accompanying marketing campaign—which turned the Pokémon Go into the top-selling U.S. app in less than 24 hours and generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for Niantic—demonstrated that the technology is no mere fad or gimmick (a label that has plagued AR messaging application Snapchat), and that success with augmented reality applications can be achieved on the mythical “next level” of marketing on the campaign basis.
Pokémon Go demonstrated an audience can be reached, engaged, and converted into paying customers via an AR-based campaign. When that occurs, one of the main obstacles to mainstream adoption—calculation of return on investment (ROI)—will be removed.
The waiting for a “killer app” is over
Which leads us to the second and perhaps most important takeaway from last week’s announcement: the democratization of content development. With the opening of Apple’s programming interface, the barriers to entry are rapidly falling with AR applications already beginning to flood the marketplace (here are some of the best), driving user adoption, interaction, and content creation.
Several of the most prominently poised to make an impact on the real estate sector are Ikea’s Ikea Place and Wayfair’s furniture placement apps, that allow users to project items into an existing space, AirMeasure, which produces accurate measurements of objects and spaces, and Euclidean Lands, a strong hint at what lies ahead for affiliate marketing within the augmented space.
The use cases and benefits for the apps mentioned above are clear, especially from our perspective within the real estate industry. Buyers can preview a living space customized to their specifications, developers can accurately assess dimensions, and embed environments within augmented applications. Each of these indicate key drivers of ROI: more sales, lower costs, and increased revenue-generating opportunities.
The time to embrace AR is NOW
With AR tools now native to ubiquitous devices like smartphones and iPads, and an open interface to hyper-accelerate the AR application marketplace’s growth, an unprecedented opportunity exists for organizations to not only realize cost savings and increase profits, but seize massive market share by pioneering applications unique to their product and service. Watch for other industry giants like Facebook and Google to increase their AR hosting and content-generation efforts, exciting new AR apps to debut, and significant campaigns to follow in Pokémon Go’s footsteps.
Nickerson’s Emerging Technology division is at the forefront of developing augmented and virtual reality applications for content, campaign, and environment-level experiences. Contact Matt at 617-848-4225 to learn how Nickerson can put these cutting edge technologies to work for you!