What is Augmented Reality Advertising

Augmented reality advertising has rapidly gained traction as an innovative and immersive approach to captivate audiences in a way traditional advertising methods struggle to achieve.

This dynamic form of advertising utilises technology to overlay digital content, such as images, multimedia, and interactive elements, onto the real world.

Experienced through mobile or wearable devices, augmented reality offers a unique and engaging user experience, bridging the gap between the physical and digital realms.

Incorporating augmented reality into marketing strategies can result in elevated social shopping experiences, as these technologies are increasingly being integrated into social media platforms. This allows brands to leverage AR to showcase their products or services in novel ways, capturing the attention of potential consumers and enhancing their overall experience.

As the advertising landscape becomes more competitive, the use of AR helps businesses stand out and forge strong connections with their target audience.

The potential of augmented reality advertising extends beyond mere novelty, as it provides a fresh challenge for marketers to create authentic, interactive content that resonates with audiences on a deeper level.

As the costs associated with this technology become more manageable, brands across various industries have started to realise the benefits of incorporating AR into their marketing strategies.

With the rapid advancements in this field, it’s crucial for businesses to stay updated and ready to adapt to the ever-evolving world of AR advertising.

Understanding Augmented Reality Advertising

Definition and Concept

Augmented Reality (AR) Advertising is a modern approach to marketing that integrates digital content such as images, multimedia, and information over physical objects, experienced through mobile or wearable devices.

It enhances the consumers’ experience by blending the virtual and real-world elements, providing a more engaging and immersive way for brands to connect with their audiences.

How It Works

AR advertising occurs when businesses use various technologies and software to overlay digital content onto the physical environment, viewable through devices such as smartphones and tablets. The advertising content can be interactive, shareable, and tailored based on location or user preferences.

A typical AR advertising campaign involves the following steps:

  1. Concept development: conceptualising the overall theme and message for the campaign
  2. Design: creating digital assets and environments for the AR experience
  3. Development: building the AR application or integrating AR features within existing platforms
  4. Deployment: distributing the AR content to users through mobile apps or websites
  5. Analytics: measuring the performance and outcomes of the AR campaign

Types of AR Advertising

There are several types of augmented reality advertising techniques that businesses can adopt, depending on their marketing objectives and target audiences:

  • Marker-based AR: This type of AR relies on image recognition, in which a digital overlay is triggered when a specific marker, such as a QR code or logo, is scanned by the user’s device.
  • Location-based AR: Using GPS and other location data, this type of AR provides location-specific content that is relevant to the user’s physical surroundings.
  • Projection-based AR: This approach involves projecting digital images onto physical surfaces or objects, creating an illusion of interaction between the virtual and real-world elements.
  • Superimposition-based AR: This technique replaces all or part of a physical object with a digital overlay, providing enhanced or altered representations of the object.

Benefits of Augmented Reality Advertising

When it comes to modern marketing strategies, Augmented Reality (AR) advertising stands out as a game-changer.

By adding interactive and shareable digital content to physical objects through mobile or wearable devices, brands can create immersive experiences for their customers.

This section discusses the benefits of Augmented Reality Advertising by focusing on three main aspects: increased engagement, personalisation, and memorable experiences.

Increased Engagement

AR advertising presents opportunities to captivate the audience and keep them engaged with the brand.

By incorporating interactive digital elements, users can actively participate in advertising campaigns and enjoy a unique, immersive experience.

For example, social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat have introduced AR filters, allowing users to interact with branded content in a more engaging and entertaining manner.


As customer preferences continue to evolve, personalisation has become a key factor in successful marketing. AR advertising helps brands customise their messages and experiences to cater to individual customers’ specific needs or desires.

By using smartphone apps or AR glasses, customers can experience tailored advertising content based on the physical world they are interacting with.

This personalised approach helps create meaningful connections with customers, enhancing brand loyalty and driving sales.

Memorable Experiences

A successful advertising campaign not only conveys the brand’s message but also creates lasting memories for the customers. AR advertising enhances these experiences by bringing digital content to life in the physical world, thereby generating excitement and positive emotions.

Examples include IKEA’s AR app that lets customers preview furniture pieces in their homes, or automotive brands like Toyota and Hyundai using AR to showcase innovative features and technology.

Memorable experiences generated by AR advertising can increase brand awareness, word-of-mouth marketing, and customer retention.

In summary, Augmented Reality Advertising offers brands an innovative way to reach and engage customers, providing personalised and memorable experiences that can improve marketing success.

AR Advertising Examples

Product Demonstrations

Augmented reality (AR) has been utilised in marketing to create immersive product demonstrations. This approach allows customers to virtually interact with products before purchasing them.

For instance, IKEA’s Place app enables users to visualise furniture in their homes using AR technology. Customers can place 3D models of IKEA products in their living spaces, making it easier to decide whether the items fit well with their existing decor.

Interactive Billboards

AR technology introduces a new level of interactivity to traditional outdoor advertising. Interactive billboards, using AR, allow users to engage with advertisements through their smartphones or wearables.

A notable example is the Pepsi Max “Unbelievable” campaign, which transformed a bus shelter in London into an immersive AR experience.

Passengers were exposed to various virtual scenarios, such as a giant robot invading the street or a giant meteorite falling from the sky, making the ad experience memorable and engaging.

Retail Applications

AR technology has also found its way into retail applications, enhancing the in-store experience and making shopping more personalised.

For example, some fashion retailers use AR-powered mirrors that allow customers to virtually try on clothes and accessories without physically changing. This not only saves time but also helps customers make more informed decisions about their purchases.

Another retail application is the use of AR to provide personalised navigation in large stores. By scanning products or shelf labels, customers can access detailed product information, price comparisons, and receive tailored promotions.

These applications aim to enhance the overall shopping experience and create more satisfied customers.

Challenges and Considerations

Technical Limitations

One of the main challenges in Augmented Reality advertising is the technical limitations inherent in current technology. While AR offers a great way to engage consumers, it relies heavily on the capabilities of devices and software used to access these experiences.

Issues such as limited processing power, battery life, and display quality can impact the overall effectiveness of AR advertising campaigns. Additionally, the complex development process involved in creating AR content can pose risks and limit the availability of high-quality experiences for users.

Privacy Concerns

As with any technological advancement, privacy concerns are a crucial consideration in AR advertising. Users may be hesitant to share personal information or allow access to their device’s camera, location, or other sensitive data, which is often necessary for AR experiences.

These privacy concerns can limit the potential reach and effectiveness of AR campaigns. It is important for marketers and developers to address these concerns transparently and comply with all relevant regulations to reassure users and gain their trust.

Cost and Development

AR advertising campaigns can be expensive and time-consuming to develop. High-quality content requires talented developers, designers, and software engineers, as well as a significant investment in cutting-edge technology.

Additionally, the rapidly evolving nature of AR technology means that content needs to be periodically updated or re-developed to keep up with new devices and software capabilities.

It is essential for businesses to carefully assess the potential return on investment (ROI) of an AR campaign, taking into account the costs associated with development, deployment, and ongoing maintenance.

In summary, augmented reality advertising presents some challenges and considerations for marketers, such as technical limitations, privacy concerns, and the costs involved in development. Addressing these issues effectively will be essential for leveraging the full potential of AR technology in advertising campaigns.

Future of Augmented Reality Advertising

As augmented reality (AR) technology continues to advance, its impact on advertising is anticipated to be substantial. One significant developments in AR advertising is the rise of elevated social shopping experiences.

This shift is driven by the incorporation of AR into social media platforms, which enhance shopping experiences by creating immersive and interactive environments.

Another anticipated application of AR in advertising is GPS with AR advertising, where geographic directory services incorporate augmented reality solutions. These AR-based advertisements can help businesses reach potential customers in real-time within their specific geographic location.

Augmented Reality Advertising Objectives

Experts have proposed a framework outlining the primary objectives of AR in advertising, labelled as the BICK FOUR:

  • Branding: Utilising AR to create memorable experiences for consumers that enhance brand visibility and recognition.
  • Inspiring: Developing AR content that encourages customers to engage more deeply with a brand, recommending products, or sharing experiences.
  • Convincing: Implementing AR strategies to persuade customers to make purchases or explore different product offerings.
  • Keeping: Leveraging AR technology to maintain customer loyalty and enhance the overall customer experience.

Benefits to Businesses and Consumers

AR advertising offers advantages to both businesses and consumers. For companies, AR advertising can provide cost-effective and innovative marketing campaigns that reach targeted audiences, ultimately increasing ROI.

For consumers, AR ads can make product exploration, evaluation, and purchasing more engaging and enjoyable.

In summary, the future of augmented reality advertising will likely be defined by the ongoing development of AR technology and its integration into digital spaces, ultimately expanding the potential for businesses to forge deeper connections with their target audiences.



I’m the resident head of comms and partnerships here at Draw & Code. I work on strategy, sales, marketing and other vital areas at a studio that was founded on a dream and has spent the intervening decade trying to make that dream come true. I believe that immersive and interactive technologies are impacting on our lives and being in the epicentre of this industry makes every day a thrill.

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