What Augmented Reality Means for Marketers

Published December 17, 2009 by LoSasso Admin

Categories: Marketing research, The business of marketing, Web and UX trends

AR_logo_imageAugmented Reality (AR) is gaining more recognition in the industry and will revolutionize the way marketers reach consumers. If you’re not familiar with the term, you may have heard of AR-based projects like Xbox’s 360 Project Natal and Yelp’s Monocle iPhone app.

AR technology is defined as a “live direct or indirect view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are merged with (or augmented by) virtual computer-generated imagery, creating a mixed reality.” This intuitive technology can apply to both AR and Mobile AR applications.

So what does this mean for marketers? Let’s get to know AR better.


The latest interactive technology will change online media, shopping and entertainment as we know it. The December 2009 issue of Esquire magazine cover features Robert Downey Jr. But beyond this 2-D realm, it offers an “Augmented Reality issue” experience for readers—downloadable software makes Robert Downey Jr. pop into 3-D life onscreen, interactive with the physical magazine and webcam, while other elements start talking and moving. Watch the video for the full experience:

Retail-based applications like Zugara’s Webcam Social Shopper allow customers to try on clothing virtually and shop online, take pictures of their new looks, and share with friends on Facebook. If they like what they see, they can make the purchase virtually using both AR and Motion Capture technologies—all with the wave of their hand.

And in mobile games like the zombie shooter ARhrrrr, players interactively shoot zombies with their phone, using a real-life map as the battle grounds. Products like Skittles candy can be physically placed on the map and simultaneously used as bombs in the game—an entirely new realm of interactive game playing and product placement.

Mobile location-based AR marketing in applications like Yelp’s Monocle allow users to find area businesses via GPS navigation by simply holding their phone in any particular direction. Nearby Yelp business listings will pop up on-screen, complete with ratings.

AR continually evolves each day, and these examples are merely the beginning of what it may become. The technology looks to bring an entirely new experience to interactive shopping, games, social media marketing, and the consumer buying process.


  • There are numerous software developers. Some on the forefront include Metaio, ARSights, Pachube, GE, and many others. There's no doubt this market is set to grow in the upcoming months.
    by: Erin on 2009-12-21 15:13:16
  • Actually saw something a bit like this from Seco Tools - it was a coaster that had a tool on it and when recognized by the camera, it came to life. Unfortunately, it didn't run on my machine though. I respect their guts to step out though... Before long the glitches will be gone - could be interesting to use with PURLs and the obvious measurement of print could be very valuable as well. As with everything strategy and end-user benefit will drive success.
    by: scott on 2009-12-21 11:27:14
  • Thanks for the post. It will be interesting to see where this technology goes. Good to have it on the radar screen. Do you know who makes the software you have to download for it to work, or are there multiple versions/developers?
    by: David on 2009-12-20 09:47:36

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