Social AR: Leveraging Augmented Reality to Drive Business Results
The digital world lives in our physical world. We’ve become so engulfed with our devices that the digital world is no longer a place to escape to, but an extension of our physical world.
Rather than simply trying to figure out how to exist in the digital realm, brands should focus on creating meaningful experiences that add real value to consumers' lives. So when it comes to your social media marketing strategy, how might your brand use immersive tactics to solve problems, teach, entertain, and create an authentic connection with your target audience? Let's talk.
Same game, new tools.
Social media is constantly evolving. Each innovation has added a new layer of engagement and interactivity to how we communicate on social networks—starting with text, followed by photo, then video, and now augmented reality.
AR is the latest way for social media users to connect and engage with their online communities and favorite brands, and it’s not going away. In fact, by 2025, 60% of people in the US and almost all people who use social and communication apps will be frequent AR users. The accessibility of AR on devices like smartphones and tablets—as well as on popular social media apps like TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram—has made it easy for people to experiment with this new medium and incorporate it into their regularly scheduled scrolling.
Driving Real Results with Social AR
With so many people already engaging with augmented reality experiences in their daily social media routine, it's important for brands to understand the main benefit that AR can bring to marketing campaigns at all stages of the funnel. It’s no secret that Social AR is great for driving authenticity and engagement, but it’s more than just a buzzword or top-of-the-funnel tactic. Brands can use AR to create meaningful experiences across the entire path to purchase: awareness, consideration, action, and loyalty.
According to a Snapchat x Ipsos study, 80% of consumers are interested in exploring the world with augmented reality. Because of its inherently interactive and engaging nature, AR can be a powerful tool for generating excitement around a new product or campaign. Leaning into trends and challenges, co-creating with Influencers, and leveling up corporate and entertainment events with social effects and filters are great ways to generate buzz and drive high-funnel KPIs.
Inspiration: In collaboration with TikTok and Universal Pictures, we recently created a Branded Effect that drove awareness and excitement for the release of Halloween Ends, the final chapter in the classic Halloween saga. Our team sought to develop a truly interactive experience that would inspire horror fans on TikTok to join in and create their own user-generated content leading up to the film's premiere. To date, the Branded Effect campaign has garnered a staggering 13 million views, 664 thousand likes, and 43 thousand user-generated videos made by 34 thousand unique creators.
Giving users a stage to co-create with your brand with something like a Selfie AR effect or challenge can increase engagement, shareability, and consideration of your brand. AR experiences like living labels, transformation effects, and gamified experiences allow users to learn more about your brand or product in a more interesting and interactive way. According to AR Insider, dwell times for AR experiences often exceed 1 minute, compared to online video ads that average about 20 seconds. And a recent study by the Association for Computing Machinery found that AR can improve brand recall and recognition by creating an engaging environment.
Inspiration: If you tuned in for the Big Game this February, you probably remember #BinkyDad: the star of Kia’s hilarious and heartwarming commercial for the Kia Telluride X Pro. To give the brilliant ad spot an interactive new twist, we teamed up with TikTok and David & Goliath to create a Branded Effect that invited viewers to join in on the fun and share a #BinkyDad moment of their own. To date, the "Kia's Epic Jump" Branded Effect has garnered over 6,000 user generated videos on the platform.
Moving further down the funnel, AR can help users visualize how a product might fit into their lives, which can increase confidence in a purchase decision. According to Snap x Ipsos, 6 out of 10 consumers now identify shopping as their main reason for using AR, and 84% are interested in using AR to interact with a product before buying. As such, many brands have seen success with AR experiences like virtual try-ons and product visualizers, which can increase convenience and confidence in a brand or product.
Inspiration: To help e.l.f. Cosmetics promote their new line of Liquid Glitter Eyeshadows, we partnered with TikTok to create a Branded Effect that invited users to try on seven shades of the eyeshadow to find their perfect match. We tested and perfected the color and shimmer of the eyeshadows to ensure they accurately reflected the products themselves so TikTokers could try them all and then head to the store to purchase their favorite shades in real life.
AR encounters can enhance the user experience and help brands make authentic connections and foster a sense of community and loyalty with their target audience. Experiences like mini-games and world-space portals keep consumers coming back for more. By using AR, brands allow themselves to be more playful and interactive, which helps them come across as more authentic and approachable. Authenticity resonates well with social media users and fosters a deeper connection and better engagement between brands and their audiences.
Inspiration: When Coca-Cola sought to engage Gen Z with a debut campaign on TikTok, they wanted to do so in a meaningful way. So, we partnered with Havas Atlanta and TikTok to help Coke launch the #ShareTheMagic hashtag challenge, which highlighted BIPOC creators and invited users to share the magic in their own way to the soundtrack of Khalid’s new song, “Open”. By giving BIPOC creators a platform to showcase their unique skills and talents, Coca-Cola created a more inclusive and engaging experience for its audience. The Branded Effect generated over 104 million impressions and 69 million views and, to date, the #ShareTheMagic hashtag has garnered more than 14.3 billion views (and climbing) on TikTok.
Understanding Social AR Ecosystems
Identifying opportunities for your brand to implement AR in its social strategies not only requires an understanding of what makes your target audience tick, it requires a deep understanding of the unique characteristics of each social platform. Combining your campaign and audience insights and our team’s technology and platform expertise, we can create the best experience to achieve your goals.
TikTok drives the highest engagement and video watch time compared to other social platforms, including YouTube (TechCrunch), and over 1 in 4 TikTok videos are made with AR. This shows just how much users enjoy creating and engaging with AR content on the platform. Brands should utilize AR on TikTok when a relevant topic or challenge is trending, when the brand has a strong co-creation or subculture strategy, or when the campaign goal is to drive engagement.
Snapchat is great for driving action. Using Snapchat’s Ads Manager, you can target a highly relevant audience with actionable CTAs that can drive traffic straight to your website or eCommerce shop. As a Lens-first platform, Snapchat has arguably the most advanced and stable technology of AR available to us today. So, if your concept is complicated or the goal is to drive direct eCommerce results, this may be the platform for you.
If your goal is to drive connection and community, Instagram could be a great option. Through Meta platforms, brands and advertisers can plug an AR Effect into existing campaigns and audiences through the native Ads Manager. This allows brands and advertisers to leverage new and existing audiences and foster connections with their online communities. Meta Spark is an advanced software, meaning we can create most concepts regardless of complexity.
How to Bring Your Social AR Vision to Life
If you're interested in leveraging the power of Social AR to meet your business goals, here's a look at the process our Subvrsive Media Studio team uses to ensure the best possible outcomes for our clients.
Define Your Objectives
Do you want to drive sales with a virtual try-on or product visualizer or build brand engagement through a selfie or gamified AR Effect? We can work with you to define and fully understand your brand objectives and recommend a solution that best achieves those goals.
Identify Your Target Audience
We don’t create AR just for the sake of innovation. AR experiences should be tailored to your specific audience’s interests and needs for optimal performance and shareability. We know how users engage with AR on each platform and will take the time to fully understand your audience insights to ensure the experiences we recommend will resonate with and delight your unique audience.
Choose the Right Platform
As explained above, each social platform has its own strengths and weaknesses and unique ways in which users engage with them. We understand these nuances and can help recommend the best tactic or multi-platform strategy for you.
Create a Compelling Experience
Our team of in-house Social AR experts will host brainstorming sessions and provide mockups that map the user journey from start to finish, and then prototype and iterate until it’s perfect and ready for launch. An immersive campaign is only as successful as its creative!
Promote and Measure Your AR Experience
We’ll work with your media team to understand the overall campaign goals and recommend launch tactics and best practices to drive optimal performance. Whether users will be accessing it through a QR code at an event, your product’s packaging, or from a paid social ad, let’s chat about the best way to plug your Social AR effect into your marketing strategy. Your immersive experience deserves its time in the sun!
At the end of the day, augmented reality is here, users are engaging with it, and brands are using it as a tool to drive real results. Collaborate with the AR experts at Subvrsive Media Studio to create the most strategic approach to creating meaningful, engaging experiences with your consumers and drive your brand forward.
Have a project in mind? We'd love to chat - get in touch below.