How to integrate Augmented Reality in the world of Social Media?

How to integrate Augmented Reality in the world of Social Media?

Door Meinte Stinstra
For a while now, major tech giants such as Apple and Google have been investing heavily in Augmented Reality (AR). Also, social media platforms such as Snapchat and Facebook are fully engaged in developing functions and applications focused on AR. With the big social media players dabbling into AR, what is its added value? And how can we put it to good use?

AR is all around us

With Facebook’s Spark AR Studio, people can create augmented reality filters and effects for Instagram and Facebook Stories. While it may seem that AR is a term mostly used by trendwatchers, did you know that 1 billion people already had a Spark AR experience in the last year? 

Facebook is not the only place where you may have encountered AR. From Google’s AR function within its search engine (Googling “shark” gives you the opportunity to view a life-size shark in your living room!) to popular games such as Pokemon GO and the recently released the Harry Potter game to the e-commerce sector, with Shopify making it possible to load product previews with AR… We can state that AR is increasingly becoming a part of our lives. With its potential to impact how people shop, view products or interact with brands, it’s worth considering.


Glittering eyeshadow and flaming burgers 

One of the social media pioneers in AR? YouTube, which is taking the ever-so-popular makeup tutorials to a higher level with AR. With its application “AR Beauty Try-On”, you get the opportunity to watch a tutorial and, via a split-screen, also see how you would look with the makeup used. Quite cool, no?

Rightly so, brands are also becoming enthusiastic about the use of AR in their campaigns. We don’t have to tell you about the much-discussed AR campaign for Burger King, right? Well, maybe a quick recap: users had to focus their smartphone on billboards or ads competitors like McDonald’s. With AR technology, these ads went up in flames and the user received a coupon for a free Whopper. If that isn’t a clever application of AR, we don’t know what is.


Netflix and … AR? 

We all love a good Netflix binge, right? And what better series to binge on than “Stranger Things”? To put the spotlight on this show, Netflix used a lot of AR technology. Via the YouTube app, fans of the series in Asia were given the opportunity to watch a very first trailer with AR. While watching, an AR experience comes to life with the show’s title and animated fireworks. On top of that, the YouTube app uses your camera to take a picture of yourself in the Stranger Things’ universe, making for very shareable social media content. 

If that wasn’t enough motivation to watch Stranger Things, Netflix also partnered up with Snapchat and the Chicago Cubs Baseball Club, using Snapchat’s newly developed Landmark lenses to promote the series. Fans who open Snapchat and point their camera at the stadium will see the image change into the alternative reality of “The Upside Down” (the alternative dimension, parallel to the human world in the Stranger Things series). Sounds spooky, but also effective… 


What’s next for AR?

The social media consumer seems to be ready for a different way of storytelling through AR, but it is key to think about creativity, relevance, and authenticity. If you use AR as a brand, don’t forget that it really has to add value to your story. When you succeed in doing just that, it gives countless possibilities to bring storytelling to a higher level, to add more dimensions to a campaign, and to personalize your communication, ultimately leading to your target audience becoming even more involved. And isn’t that what we all want?

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