- Blippar, a London-based technology startup, wants advertisers to see that augmented reality (AR) has other uses than overlaying virtual Pokemon characters on the surroundings of smartphone users. The company announced in a press release that it has developed a technology to create banner ads with AR features.
- A demonstration of the technology’s application in automotive marketing shows how a smartphone user can look more closely at the interior of a car after tapping on a banner ad. The AR feature opens to make a smartphone user feel like they are inside the car using the phone’s camera to look around. By giving the app permission to use the smartphone’s camera, the mobile user can look through the car’s windows at real-life surroundings.
- The AR components can be seen on camera-equipped Android devices and will soon be accessible on Apple iOS, Blippar said in a statement.
The banner ad has been much maligned for being intrusive and, on mobile, too small to make an impact. In fact, Magna Global recently forecast banner ads sales will decline 3% this year while Forrester predicted the end of digital advertising as we know it as marketers finally start to give up their dependence on intrusive experiences.
Blippar's attempts to breathe new life into banner ads via AR sounds interesting and could appeal to marketers who are intrigued by the technology. AR is still in its infancy as companies experiment with new ways to use the budding technology. While Google Glass never advanced beyond the stage of novelty item, AR technology got a major boost last year from the widespread popularity of Pokemon Go. The Nintendo game showed how smartphones could create a fantasy virtual world among people’s real surroundings.
However, simply integrating AR into a banner ad potentially creates a more intrusive experience as it asks users to stop what they're doing, click on an ad, have it access their camera and then engage in AR experience.
According to Blippar, the technology has the potential to become a significant marketing tool for products that require demonstrations or in-depth answers to customer questions, such as cars, homes, appliances and electronics. Clothing retailers could use the technology to let smartphone users try on virtual outfits before buying them, Danny Lopez, chief operations officer at Blippar, told Forbes magazine.
AR is also getting backing from major companies like Facebook, whose founder Mark Zuckerberg has yearned to create a technology platform that draws the creative efforts of other developers. What that means is still unclear, considering that Facebook has a growing focus on video- and photo-sharing that relies on the technology of other companies like Apple and Samsung to deliver ads to target audiences.