Pirates be damned, while ARRRRR might bring back visceral images of swashbuckling pirates, tall ships, and lots of rum, what we’re talking about is A-R, as in Augmented Reality. So what exactly is Augmented reality and what role can it play in your media strategy?

Augmented reality is when a piece of technology (in most cases your cell phone) is used to perceive intangible objects in a space that really exists. Think, Pokémon Go. Pokémon Go is a game you play on your phone, you walk around, holding your phone up scanning your surroundings in search of Pokémon. Often the user can interact with the augmented world. Have you ever seen ads pop up when scanning through your favorite GPS apps when walking around a city? The ads appear part of landscape and stay stationary as you wave your phone around, often they are clickable and may have different ways in which you can interact with them. Or perhaps you’ve bought glasses online that you “virtually” try on, or furniture that you can virtually see how it looks in a room.

*source: Statista

These are all examples of where you’ve likely bumped into AR in the wild, maybe without even thinking much about what it is. The truth is, AR has been around for a while in other industries (think medical and gaming) and is definitely making it mark in Advertising. According to Statista, the market size of AR is expected to jump from nearly $6 billion in worldwide in 2018 to nearly $200 billion in 2025, and for good reason.

AR offers the ability to engage with users in multiple ways. It can be helpful, like picking out fabrics for that new couch; Informative, helping you identify that bright star in the sky; Or even just purely entertaining, like finding out what you would look like if you had a wild beard. Just as an example, see how Ikea is utilizing AR to help their customers in a fun and engaging way.

What’s really exciting about AR in advertising is that you can use it to enhance platforms you’re already on as well as creating all new experiential opportunities to engage with people. Look below to see how Coca Cola and the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) brought Polar Bears to life to educate people on climate change through AR.

Using AR you can make print ads come to life, literally lifting off the page in a way that is captivating. This barely scratches the surface of all that is possible with AR. We’re excited to see this technology grow and the things we’ll all get to see and do through this powerful technology.

Want more? Checkout our podcast MediHuh? and listen to our episode on AR and VR for a fun adventure exploring the differences of both.