In a Post-Pandemic Climate, AR & Immersive Formats Are Ushering In Important New Opportunities for PPC Marketers and Brands

October 19, 2020

Within the last year, there has been an unprecedented rush towards digitalisation in the hopes of adapting towards a post-pandemic climate.

From the being streamed within the realms of Virtual Reality, to augmented reality allowing consumers to ‘try-on’ the latest designer eyewear, COVID-19 has ushered in the new age of digital transformation and desire for more immersive customer experiences.

This blog post seeks to explore case studies of how brands are incorporating Swirl (3D Ads) or AR into their marketing strategy, as well as offering our insight into this expanding phenomenon and factors that should be considered when using them within PPC.

Swirl…AR… What do these terms actually mean?

For the readers who are new to these concepts,  format created by Google that allows consumers to interact with display or video ads in a more interactive manner. For example, the product within the ad can be rotated, expanded or zoomed to demonstrate unique product features and deliver a richer experience. Google have been testing it out in closed beta over the last year, and recently announced that the ad format will be available to all Display and Video 360 customers.

Similarly, Augmented Reality (AR) delivers a more immersive and interactive experience by layering digital objects or information within our immediate environment. The technology is available on most smart phones, essentially merging both the digital and physical world. From interactive shopping scenarios, to transforming your own face on Instagram, it is clear that AR is enhancing people’s daily interactions.

How are brands utilising these to engage with consumers?

Nissan – Swirl Ads

Looking at the Swirl ad created by Nissan Spain & QReal, we can see how the creative highlights the new safety features of its automated driving functionality. The use of 3D technology within this ad led to an engagement rate that was 8x higher than rich media benchmarks for the automotive industry.

M·A·C Cosmetics – AR Beauty Try-On

Introduced by Google last year, AR Beauty Try-On allows users to virtually try on makeup whilst watching content creators review products or give out tips.

M·A·C was one of the first brands to trial this new ad format, showing the potential of how brands and influencers can work together to create engaging content and measure their results in real time.

ASOS – AR

In response to social distancing restricting the way clothes can be safely modelled and photographed, ASOS has utilised AR technology to provide a realistic view of up to 500 clothing items each week that can be styled by 6 real-life models.

The technology, developed by Tel Aviv AR and AI firm, Zeekit, seeks to keep customers engaged by allowing them to choose which garments they want to be digitally mapped onto the models, taking into account size, cut and fit of each item of clothing.

The PPC Take On It

Evidently, the visual possibilities are limitless when showcasing products via 3D ads or AR interactive experiences. According to Vertebrae, retailers that are using AR are enjoying a 19% spike in customer engagement. Taking this into consideration, how can advertisers benefit from these immersive formats and what should be included within a PPC context?

Messaging

If your brand has utilised AR within your website to showcase a product, incorporate it within your messaging! Inviting potential consumers to use a “Virtual Mirror” not only has a positive impact on CTR but could also lead to more conversions from customers who have tested what the product may look like in person.

Targeting

When using these new technologies, think about your target audience: is the experience geared towards the right demographic? Will they appreciate the use of AR or even know how to use it? We want to make sure the user will be engaged and be left wanting to find out more.

Testing

Like all good PPC campaigns, it is essential to test the ad format, creative or copy. Whichever immersive format you use, make sure you create different variations that you can easily A/B test.

Final Thoughts

Despite brick-and-mortar shops reopening within across the world, the traditional shopping experience seems troublesome and outdated. With social distancing restricting the number of customers that can enter a shop, consumers are looking towards alternatives that can deliver a similar, and even better shopping experience from the safety and comfort of their own home.

We believe that clients need to adapt quickly within the current climate and make informed data-driven decisions. If you are a brand that believes these new creative formats are relevant to your product or service, we highly recommend you begin to embrace these immersive experiences that can augment your marketing strategy.

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