Augmented reality (AR) is a burgeoning playground for brands as smart tech takes on the bridging of all things physical with virtual applications to engage consumers.
AR isn’t new, but the rise of wearable technology such as smart watches and glasses, along with GPS tracking, sensors and camera technology on mobile devices, has pushed it over the tipping point. Case in point: AR start-up Magic Leap just raised $542 million in a funding round led by Google and Qualcomm.
A major player in this sphere is Blippar, which harnesses AR and image-recognition technology for smartphones, tablets and wearables. Using the Blippar app, users hold their phones over blippable content to trigger a digital experience known as “blipping.”
Brands can render any content, logos, products, magazine advertisements, billboards instantly interactive from any mobile device. Jaguar, for example, this month launched a global campaign that integrated Conde Nast print ads for Google Glass wearers, starring British actor Nicholas Hoult. Primark just launched a holiday campaign in the U.K. using its technology.
“The marketing industry is increasingly shying away from impressions and warming up to true, meaningful interactions, as these are more valuable metrics,” Blippar GM USA, Lisa Hu tells brandchannel. “This is where Blippar can truly excel from the CMO’s perspective.” [more]
brandchannel: How are brands using Blippar’s technology in innovative ways?
Lisa Hu (right): Since every blipp is unique to the brand it relates to, a company like Olay can use Blippar to give consumers an interactive makeup tutorial, while Jaguar can use our image recognition technology on Google Glass to let consumers experience what it’s like to drive their latest car model.
By using a visual discovery platform like ours, the products themselves are becoming the triggers for interactive digital experiences. The products are the new domain names.
bc: What are some of the best practices that have emerged?
Hu: Invest in your content. We encourage designing an interaction that truly resonates with your target audience and accurately reflects your overall brand. Educate the consumer, and start with a strong call-to-action, ideally somewhere near the blippable content, to catch their eye and prompt them to activate the experience.
This is the brand’s opportunity to let its audience know that the collateral is interactive. Providing more interactive touchpoints—from point of sale, to billboards and finally to your products themselves—is a multi-pronged approach that will drive far greater engagement and increase the efficacy of your campaign.
— Blippar (@blippar) October 21, 2014
bc: In what context is blipping most effective: media or packaging?
Hu: There are more than 1.5 billion blippable products around the world. We cover all mediums. Rather than narrowing Blippar’s capabilities to one area of focus, we take a different perspective: If a campaign is executed correctly, it can prove effective across any medium.
Throughout a person’s day-to-day life, they interact with thousands of bits of information. Blippar has the ability to add another layer of engagement to any of these touchpoints, enabling brands to interact with their target audiences at multiple different stages throughout their day. Someone might blipp their coffee cup or cereal box in the morning, an advertisement in their morning paper, a billboard poster at their local bus stop or subway station and so on. In our eyes, we’re still only at the forefront of these possibilities.
bc: How do you measure consumer engagement?
Hu: Blippar can deliver detailed metrics on how users engage. Our clients gain access to a real-time analytics dashboard that contains information such as number of interactions, dwell time, where or when users blipped, number of shares and more.
Most importantly, we can gauge which features are getting the most interactive, thereby allowing brands to gain invaluable insights from our analytics about how their audience is engaging with their brand. This helps them make more informed choices about how to communicate with their audience in the future.
bc: What’s next for augmented reality?
Hu: Years after Blippar was ideated in a London pub, we’re still finding new and exciting ways to reinvent and repurpose our unique technology. We’re working to bring the myriad objects we interact with every day to life, and we envision a world where nearly every physical touch point is interactive. Recently, we’ve expanded into the healthcare and education sectors, and are looking forward to finding even more ways to deliver genuine value to consumers through our technology and platform.”
Blippar is working with Google Glass (see below) and other wearable technologies and recently released a new self-service platform, Blippbuilder, currently used by adidas, Condé Nast and Time Inc. to create their own AR experiences.