This article was updated in November 2020.
Augmented Reality (AR) is a quickly developing technology, which combines the real and the digital world in ways that let users interact directly with certain types of software. Due to its many benefits, some websites are beginning to integrate AR into their designs. If you fail to do so as well, you could be left behind.
AR is a virtual experience that adds digital elements to the real world. This enables users to interact directly with those elements, such as in games like Pokémon GO. AR is often confused with Virtual Reality (VR), although there are quite a few differences. Namely, VR aims to immerse the user completely in a digital world, while AR simply overlays digital aspects onto the user’s real environment.
AR can be used to create interactive experiences for users, and this includes on your website. For example, it can be incorporated into advertisements, or used as a part of your sales and marketing process (such as on product pages).
When used strategically, AR can offer many benefits, since it:
- Helps you stand out from your competitors.
- Enables your visitors to more fully interact with your brand.
- Opens up new ways to engage directly with your visitors.
- Adds an element of fun to your website and ads.
Best of all, AR integrations aren’t as difficult as you might expect. In fact, you can include them across your website in very natural and creative ways. Let’s look at three of the most common and useful techniques.
Add it to your banner ads
Banner ads, the promotions that appear at the very top of your website, often contain a company logo. They may also feature a specific product or service. But while many banner ads are static, you can make yours dynamic using AR.
This will offer a rare experience for your users, which will help your site stand out. What’s more, there are various ways to incorporate AR into your website’s banner ads. These include:
- Using videos wherever possible. Videos enable users to experience AR most fully. By having a video pop-up when clicking on or scrolling by a banner ad, you make it possible for your customers to interact (and are more likely to get their attention).
- Offering digital goods. For example, you can provide a branded AR photo filter or a similar product, which users can then share with their friends and social media followers.
In addition, these AR advertisements don’t need to be limited to use on your own website. You can also add them to your marketing campaigns across the web, in order to make a lasting impact on your audience.
Use it on your product pages
Just as it sounds, a product page is a dedicated page where you display a specific item that’s for sale. Among other things, it needs to highlight your product’s best features. This can be done in many ways, but one intriguing option is to offer your visitors an in-depth look at your products using AR technology.
This is a feature that many companies do not currently offer. In addition, AR provides your customers with a first hands-on “experience” with your product. The only question remaining is: How can you leverage AR to offer the best experience possible?
To do this, we recommend that you:
- Provide an in-depth look at your product. With AR, you can show potential customers a more detailed version of your product than is possible with simple images. This offers a more complete understanding of size and dimensions, as well as the item’s look and feel.
- Include a 360 video option for mobile users. This will enable customers to visualize how a product would fit into their homes. Some home improvement applications, such as Houzz, enable you to see how products will look in a room using AR technology.
It helps to consider how customers might interact with a product in a physical store. Then, you can use AR to recreate that experience.
Incorporate it as a learning tool
Perhaps one of the best aspects of AR is its ability to expand the virtual learning experience. Augmented Reality is increasingly being used as a learning tool, and you can apply it the same way on your website.
In fact, AR is ideal for promoting learning, since it engages the user and provides them with an immersive first-hand experience. It also enables you to get creative with how you explain certain concepts to your audience.
To incorporate AR as a learning tool on your website, you can use it to offer interactive explanations. For example, if they have a webcam or smartphone camera enabled, visitors can virtually ‘interact’ with products or concepts, in order to better understand how they work. The makeup retailer Sephora offers a virtual artist tool on its website, which enables you to test products on a model or yourself.
This is most applicable to physical items, but you can even train customers in the use of your digital products with the clever application of AR technology. Don’t be afraid to think big: the possibilities when it comes to AR are just about endless.
Augmented Reality is set to be the technology of the future. As such, many industries are looking to implement it more widely. This means that as a business and website owner, you’ll want to start considering how AR might be able to benefit both you and your audience.
If you have any questions about AR and how to use it on your website, let us know in the comments section below!