With AR set to become a much bigger focus over the next few years, it’s important for all brands to consider the potential for their marketing and promotional efforts, with 3D digital initiatives set to change the game, in many ways, as usage behaviors evolve.
To provide some more context on this, Snap recently partnered with Breakthrough Research to conduct a study into how consumers view AR, and how likely it is that AR experiences will influence their shopping process.
As per Snap:
“Across 7,500 respondents in US, UK, DE and covering shopper journeys within the Auto, Beauty, Entertainment, Fashion Retail, and Travel verticals, we uncovered how consumer attitudes and behaviors towards brands shift when they imagine themselves going through a shopper journey with AR as a part of it.”
The response data shows that consumers are excited about the possibilities, with AR able to help consumers make faster decisions, and likely purchase more as a result.
The data also shows similar results within the Fashion vertical, with AR set to drive an $11.2 billion increase in spend.
Travel is another area set to benefit from increased AR usage:
“For Travel, Snapchatters expect to spend more than they typically would when AR is a part of their travel planning journey. This is because AR helps them be more confident in making decisions about the trip and ultimately planning longer trips by adding travel excursions or other add-ons to the itinerary.”
In other words, the enhanced AR experience provides more context when shopping online, which can be a big help in reassuring shoppers, or just by adding context that drives value in the process.
Snap says that these results show that AR has already evolved beyond its initial use case:
“Although Snapchat first created Lenses because they were a fun and entertaining way to enhance the way we communicate with our friends and family, the technology has evolved from being just a toy to a fully utilitarian tool that brands can leverage to drive impact for their businesses.”
Which is why brands need to be taking it seriously, and with the coming shift towards AR-enabled glasses, and engaging with 3D virtual objects, in both the metaverse and in AR experiences, it makes sense for brands to at least begin to align their processes with this shift, where possible.
So how do you do that?
As a first step, it may be worth acquainting yourself with Snap’s Lens Web Builder platform, which enables you to create AR experiences within Snap. There are tutorials available on the process, and getting that first-level knowledge of the system could be all that you need, at this stage, to glean more of an understanding of the possibilities and potential for your process.
By getting a base-level view of what’s possible, and how to go about it, that could open up your thinking on the next stage, and where your businesses needs to be placed to integrate into this new shift.
The possibilities are significant, and if you can start progressing towards creating AR experiences, that could hold you in good stead to capitalize on these trends.
You can read Snap’s full ‘Augmented Reality as a Business Solution’ report here.
Instagram Tests More BeReal-Like Elements as it Looks to Lean Into the Authentic Social Shift
Will the BeReal process of posting an image of whatever you might be doing at a specific moment of the day end up becoming a lasting social media trend, or will it fade out, like many viral shifts before it?
It feels, in some ways, like it’s already waning – though BeReal did win App of the Year on both the Apple and Google (‘Users Choice’ category) stores for 2022. So there’s that – and overall, there is also a sense that BeReal has showcased an underlying trend in social, that people have had enough of the airbrushed, edited, sculpted personas that people present in their every upload and comment online.
It all feels a bit staged, and BeReal eliminates that, in a creative way. But what’s next for BeReal, as an app? Is there anything more that can be done with that concept?
Is there anything that other apps can do with it – and is it worthy of further exploration?
Instagram’s certainly giving it a shot.
After trying out a very BeReal-esque feature called ‘Candid’ earlier this year, Instagram is now also developing some similar features, focused on different elements within the app.
First off, Instagram’s working on something called ‘Roll Call’ which would enable group chat members to request that all participants add a photo or video of themselves to the chat within 5 minutes.
As you can see in these screenshots, posted by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi, Roll Call is effectively a small-scale version of BeReal, within an enclosed group chat, as opposed to sending the request to all of your contacts.
Instagram’s also working on ‘Glimpse’ Stories, which works exactly like BeReal, in using the front and back cameras to show what you’re up to at any given time.
As you’ll note in both of these variations, they require participation, just like BeReal, with the images or videos posted only made visible to those who’ve also submitted their own contribution to the Roll Call/Glimpse.
Could that work, and become a more significant trend on IG, if indeed either feature is ever actually released?
I mean, maybe.
Again, BeReal has seen a massive surge in downloads this year, so there’s clearly interest in such functionality, and really, the BeReal process is more of a feature than a platform in itself, so it could also make more sense as a complementary element within Instagram or some other app, than as a separate app of its own.
But it also feels like a bit of a fad that people will tire of – an antidote to the artificiality that now dominates the main apps, but which doesn’t actually change them, or the way we use the more popular apps, as such.
Which is the real challenge. While there is clearly a desire for more genuine, honest communication within social apps, the big platforms already play such a significant role in our daily process that it’s going to be difficult to usurp them, while it’s also hard to resist the entertainment value of TikTok for distraction and engagement, veering away from social connection.
How do you make the mundane more interesting, and a more significant aspect, when it’s more of a curiosity, a fleeting interest to make you feel more connected, but not a longer-term engagement element within itself?
The unfortunate truth that all social apps have eventually shown us is that we’re all pretty boring. Most of us don’t lead amazing, glamorous lives worthy of constant documentation, which is what’s eventually led to more people portraying enhanced versions of their existence to glean more likes and interest from others in this constructed digital engagement sphere.
That’s then gone even further, into image editing and blatant distortions of reality, in all respects, which has then led people to question more of what they’re seeing, while on another front, friends and family sharing their political opinions has forced us to see sides to them that we never knew, and in many cases, didn’t really need to find out about.
Which is what’s then set the scene for an app like BeReal to come in, and show us, in a relatable, human way, that we’re actually much more closely aligned than these increasingly false or distorted depictions may suggest.
That feels like the seed of a new shift, a new way of approaching social media interaction – but thus far, that’s as far as we’ve got. There’s just not much else you can do to build on that concept, and lean into that trend.
Maybe it’ll spark the next industry shift, and maybe it’ll be Instagram or TikTok or some other established app that will crack the code and find the best way forward on this front (I’d argue that Snapchat’s focus on connection among friends is most closely aligned with this shift, as a general app approach).
But right now, it feels like a limited element, a glimmer of what could be in amongst the broader social media cacophony.
Instagram might make more of a push to see what happens, but it may need something more to evolve this into a bigger element.
Instagram Tests More BeReal-Like Elements as it Looks to Lean Into the Authentic Social Shift
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