Augmented reality (AR) impact could be as profound as web or mobile, changing how we view and interact with the world around us. In fact, figures show AR is tracking the same adoption rate as mobile during the latter’s formative years.
For businesses, the blending of digital and physical worlds will redefine how brands engage with consumers, from discovery to consideration to purchase and post-purchase. Companies that fail to incorporate AR experiences today will inevitably fall behind their more innovative peers in the coming years.
Last month, Snap Inc. and Deloitte Digital hosted a webinar that brought together business leaders to discuss how and why consumers are engaging with AR today and highlight how “Augmented Reality” is helping drive “Business Reality”. The webinar follows a research led by Deloitte Digital and commissioned by Snap Inc. to gauge AR’s impact on businesses in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The Snap Consumer AR Report 2021 highlighted the immense potential for AR in the two GCC countries, driven by a large and engaged youth population. Almost the entire Gen Z and Millennial population in Saudi Arabia is forecast to be frequent AR users by 2025. Similarly, the study revealed that nearly all UAE users of social and communication apps will be regular AR users by 2025.
This presents a unique opportunity for brands. On average, 30% of Snapchatters in both GCC countries who have interacted with a brand’s AR experience are more likely to purchase products through a brand’s website than non-Snapchatters. “AR catches people’s attention. This leads to improved memories, improved experiences and a more powerful response for consumers when looking for and purchasing a brand,” said Allan Cook, Managing Director for Deloitte Digital. This ultimately translates into results as interacting with products that have AR experiences leads to a 94% higher conversion rate.
Stanislas Brunais, Head of Marketing at e-commerce site Ounass, observed that AR is a crucial marketing strategy that addresses all marketing objectives, from awareness to consideration and conversion. For Ounass, data has proven that conversion rates rose when products were virtually tried on with AR, Brunais added.
This potential will only expand as AR transitions from being a “toy” to being seen as a tool, with rising utilization by consumers for shopping, entertainment, engagement and more. The study shows that 80% of respondents in both GCC countries expect and desire to use AR as a practical “tool” in their everyday lives. Jake Thomas, UAE Country Manager for Snap Inc. in MENA, said, “AR is functional, it adds value and provides utility to the daily lives of Snapchatters all across the globe.”
The real battleground for marketers today isn’t reach; there are more screens and opportunities to serve impressions than there ever has been before. Vishal Badiani, Head of Creative Strategy, Snap Inc. MENA, said, “ The real battleground is for consumer attention, where AR experiences shine. The Deloitte Digital study shows that AR delivers almost twice the level of visual attention compared to its non-AR equivalent, leading to improved memory retention and more powerful responses from consumers”.
The camera is now a powerful creative tool that can help give brands an edge over their competitors by helping them reshape how they connect, engage and storytell. A tool that can make the difference in a purchase journey that’s never been more fluid and unpredictable.