Augmented Reality ‘Shortens the Bridge’ Between Physical Signage and Interactive Digital Experiences
One of the most talked-about ways of adding value to print today is augmented reality (AR), which overlays digital elements on top of the physical world around us. AR-enabled signage has all the benefits of physical signage — immediacy, familiarity, vast opportunities for engagement (depending on placement, of course) — while delivering the interactivity and low-barrier calls-to-action typically associated with digital advertising.
AR allows for more immersive interaction between the recipient and brand, providing a kind of engagement different from what recipients are used to, but intuitive and familiar enough for them to enjoy easily. Interactivity inspires and encourages action from recipients, creating an active dialogue, playing to recipients’ curiosity about what more they can find out.
These technologies ‘shorten the bridge’ between physical and digital content in many incredible and inspiring ways that were not previously possible. In the past, QR Codes have allowed users to point their device at a physical object and jump straight to a digital point. It’s something like clicking a hyperlink in the real world. AR, meanwhile, serves as a gateway to immersive, interactive experiences — without the need for specialized markings that can interfere with design.
So, what does ‘shortening the bridge’ look like?
An example: AR-enabled college campus tours, allowing prospective students to go at their own pace, follow their interests and engage with all the campus has to offer on their own terms. By working closely with a university to discuss their vision for interactive print, signage providers grant themselves a lot of room for innovation. For instance, not every 18-year-old wants to learn the storied 150-year history of the school’s oldest dorm building, but some do — and with AR, they can, while those students more interested in the dining options move along to check those out, complete with interactive menus updated in real-time. Gamification can take things to the next level, such as sending students on scavenger hunts to compete against one another while learning their way around. Stamp rally games can help make sure visitors get the full campus experience without the need for tour guides herding large groups along preset paths. AR’s versatility becomes your versatility as a signage provider, and the kind of outside-the-box thinking AR encourages and enables helps establish you as a valuable partner.
Furthermore, some AR solutions provide near real-time analytics and the ability to continually update printed pieces and signage, even those already in the field.
By collecting data and analytics around usage of AR features, communicators can uncover which interactive aspects are getting users to click, which ones get users to stick around and other information, such as duration of interaction and bounce rate. Traditionally, gauging response to signage campaigns has relied on less informative or contextual statistics, such as promo code usage. Now, with AR, marketers can get a much more complete picture of not just whether users are engaging with their content, but also how and where they are engaging.
That kind of information grants marketers the unprecedented power to tweak aspects of print campaigns on the fly, smoothing out user experiences, adjusting discounts or highlighting different offers.
Because AR provides such a wide variety of opportunities, it can be daunting trying to figure out which aspects best suit your needs and how best to take advantage of them. To figure out your path forward, consult with experts who can tailor your AR approach to your unique needs and challenges. Once you have the right solution, the right content and the right interface in place, driving audience interaction and brand engagement becomes a snap — or, in this case, a click.