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Marketing in the Real World: Using AR Experiences to Add Depth to Marketing Campaigns

  • September 20, 2021

You’re likely already familiar with augmented reality (AR), an interactive 3D experience that layers computer-generated elements among real-world objects. Unlike virtual reality (VR), which is a self-contained 3D computer environment, AR blends real life with digital augmentation. Think: using your phone to watch cartoon characters play with your kids, or overlaying an ancient historical site with visuals of what it looked like in its heyday.

This technology is also being leveraged for creative marketing tactics. Augmented reality marketing can take many forms. A few examples of AR campaigns you might see include:

  • “Try before you buy,” which lets consumers see how products look on them or inside their homes before purchasing
  • Interactive art installations
  • Second-screen engagement, where a consumer uses a secondary device to scan and open another experience happening in tandem with specialized microsites
  • Connected packaging, which allows consumers to engage with a brand’s packaging in an AR experience directly

When used strategically, augmented reality marketing can make for a truly compelling campaign. Here, we’ll explore some key reasons why AR can add more depth to your next marketing campaign.

It’s engaging.

These days, many consumers are bored with traditional marketing methods — they expect to be wowed. Talk at them, and they’ll tune you out.

AR can be the perfect tool to reach these consumers. Because it’s engaging by nature, AR allows you to form a stronger connection with your audience. In fact, Nielsen research shows that consumers list AR as one of the top technologies they want assisting them in their daily lives, and 51% of respondents say they’re willing to use AR to assess products.

If you invite consumers into an immersive experience and encourage them to explore a space or interact with a product, they’re more likely to connect to your brand and remember it. Whether the primary purpose is fun (e.g. bringing movie characters to life), solving for a pain point, or providing detailed product information, AR fosters engagement.

But using AR doesn’t mean you can’t also use a few (strategically employed) traditional marketing tactics. Omnichannel campaigns can be highly effective in maximizing your reach and playing to different segments of your audience.

A study from the Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing posits that AR is uniquely suited for omnichannel marketing because it enables “embedded, embodied, and extended customer experiences” — a combination that allows behaviors traditionally reserved for offline business to be expressed in the online world and vice versa.

It allows for touchless interaction.

COVID-19 health and safety guidelines have limited the interactive experiences that brands can implement, necessitating the marketing world to get creative with designing touchless experiences.

AR fits right in: It can easily be touchless, so you can create engaging interactive augmented reality experiences  even when direct contact isn’t possible. For example: a consumer scans a QR code on their phone, opens an app, and can access your experience without touching anything in the physical space.

It works well for local campaigns.

AR can certainly be used for large, global campaigns — interactions with products that have AR content show a 94% higher conversion rate than those without AR — but it can be highly successful for local campaigns, too.

AR tech helps you target specific locations by encouraging people to interact with their environment in a novel way. COGNITION’s 2019 award-winning Lost Murals of Los Angeles campaign, for example, connected Angelenos with the history and culture of local Latino muralists during Hispanic Heritage Month.

The project leveraged AR to “restore” iconic murals that had been painted over and forgotten: Participants pointed their phones at exterior walls in three different L.A. locations to reveal the vibrant street art that was once there.


Augmented reality marketing can make for an engaging campaign with depth that leaves a lasting impression on your target audience. As it becomes more ubiquitous, incorporating the technology will be imperative to stay competitive.

At COGNITION, our team of innovators is dedicated to helping you evolve through the lens of technology. We create unique, captivating experiences for brands using tactics like AR that bring you into your audience’s world.

Learn more about COGNITION.