Opinion: How augmented reality can revolutionise PR

Opinion: How augmented reality can revolutionise PR

Lauren Green, content marketing manager at Flow Digital, explores how communicators can use augmented reality (AR) to boost their earned media output. 

Augmented reality has been buzzing around the marketing industry for the past couple of years, but is only now picking up serious steam. The likes of Pokémon Go and Ikea Place have brought it into the mainstream, and it’s not only e-commerce that can benefit from the tech trend.

While you certainly don’t have to worry about the rise of the machines just yet, you do need to be aware of the potential benefits to AR. The technology superimposes a computer-generated image onto a user’s view of the world, thus augmenting their reality. The ‘augmented’ view is where your PR agency comes into the fold – and it just may be the tool the industry requires.

Who is using AR?

Considering that the trend has been hitting the headlines for several years, relatively few brands are utilising this innovation. Pepsi is just one brand getting creative with AR, transforming an ordinary bus shelter to a genius ad campaign, featuring an alien tentacle, a crashing meteor, a man flying with balloons and a tiger.

In 2020 the number of AR users is expected to pass the one billion mark.

If anything, this statistic should make you jump on the trend and look to incorporate it into your clients’ marketing strategies. Likewise, revenue from AR is estimated to be worth four times more than that of its relative, virtual reality.

While most brands using augmented reality are typically e-commerce stores, the trend is changing the face of most industries. The advantages for the PR world are almost limitless when it comes to brand engagement, building relationships and even product launches.

How can augmented reality enhance PR?

If the stats for Pokémon Go are anything to go by, augmented reality could be the ‘next big thing’. It became the most profitable app in 2016, with over 750 million downloads. With that in mind, you can significantly increase your online profile by incorporating AR into the following key PR opportunities.

Events: AR is primarily a storytelling medium, and there’s no better time to tell a story than inviting guests to your event. AR provides a more immersive platform to your guests, giving them more reason to attend your event.

Something as simple as adding a QR code could enhance your invites, encouraging guests to scan the code and, for example, illustrations appear. This in turn creates another layer of interest for potential clients. It’s fun, interactive and attractive – the objectives of the PR world.

Creative social media tools: AR can also prove to be a creative social media tool. Many PR agencies understand the importance of being active Snapchat and Instagram accounts, and AR can be easily implemented to enhance their social media activities.

You can improve experiences with brands using filters, animations and interactions to objects in everyday life. Similarly, you can use these tools to improve video content for clients. Typically, videos offer you five seconds to entice your prospects, but AR has an average dwell time of 75 seconds.

Product launches: When it comes to product launches, you can leave a trail of breadcrumbs through augmented reality, with each code scanned revealing a little more about the product.

Experiment with trends: Lastly, you should always experiment with the latest trends to stay ahead of your competitors, with augmented reality offering you exactly that opportunity.

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