There are dozens of articles vaguely covering the topic of convergence of AR tech and Influencer marketing techniques, which “will influence the future social media trends”, hanging somewhere in the long-forgotten corners of the web, covered in dust and carefully made assumptions. If that is the case, why would you want to read another one of those? The answer is simple: this article is different, firmly embedded in the current realities of the AR world and based on the in-depth analysis of numerous events of the AR Community. You see, we, the Lenslist team, have our own theory on what is going to happen in the nearest future concerning both Influencer and AR marketing techniques. I’ll be more than happy to share our take on what is happening now, and how those events slowly induce the emergence of a new social media market, mixing Influencers and AR.
How to mix AR and Influencer Marketing
Since the “Influencer” related terms have become the new buzzwords recently, there are many similar definitions of this notion. For the sake of this article, let’s agree that an Influencer is a person having power to, in a measurable way, affect someone else’s purchasing decisions. A fair share of the influencers emerged together with the growing popularity of social media platforms, and here is where AR comes into play. Influencers’ accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are the best and most efficient channels to distribute branded, AR-infused content. This pairing seems to be a no-brainer in terms of running a successful social media campaign in the most organic way possible, so why isn’t it yet a common marketing technique?
What We Have at the Moment
Augmented Reality is gaining more and more recognition every day, only to end up snowballing into the wall of traditional marketing practices, running it over or at least – changing its shape. However, there is still a certain distance to be traveled to achieve sizes allowing for such a bold move. For now, the current ARI (Augmented Reality Influencer – we just came up with that term) system functions differently to its final forecasted counterpart.
Currently, instead of enormous digital ad agencies, providing ARI solutions to multinational brands, we have three types of AR Influencers: AR Creators, AR reviewers both on Facebook and Instagram, and the media platforms and individuals spreading the news via social media. Here are some examples from all these groups:
FrenchSinger, best_insta_mask, and instamasks0 are some of the biggest, if not the biggest, AR reviewing accounts on Instagram right now. Their InstaStories reach thousands of people daily, constantly spreading the word of cutting-edge AR effects on Instagram and Facebook. Apart from that, we have seen a shift from AR reviewing to AR creating on the profiles of bes_insta_mask and FrenchSinger, allowing them to fall into both categories of AR Creator and AR reviewer.
If you are interested in knowing more about Caroline’s story, we have conducted an extensive interview with her that you can read here.
Since there is no default way to promote AR content for now, AR creators need to deal with this task themselves, and as in every community, there are a few gems here as well. Marc Wakefield, Piotar Boa, Chris Price, and Johanna Jaskowska each contribute a lot to the expansion of the AR community by posting creative content and pointing the eyes of their followers to the most important things related to the development of Augmented Reality. Enough to say that the accounts of the four aforementioned Spark Creators have around a million and a half of followers combined.
By far the widest channel allowing the exchange of information with the audience from outside of the AR community are media platforms, delivering fresh content on a daily basis. The undeniable advantage of this particular mean of transferring information is the practice of dumbing down the end-message, allowing people off the AR topic to process even the most complicated details on a technological aspect of augmented reality. There are several examples of such platforms contributing to the booming of AR trends, with websites like TheDrum.com, VentureBeat.com, or Wired.com at the forefront.
The In-Between Phase
Although AR tech hasn’t reached its full potential yet, and the community is in the in-between phase, there are examples of digital agencies out there that already mix a little bit of Influencer Marketing with branded effects. Lens That is one of those agencies, as they have successfully run social media campaigns using Instagram accounts of polish Influencers to spread AR-infused content for Coca Cola, Avon, and McDonald’s.
Emergence of a New Social Media Market
All of the actions taken within the current and in-between phase lead to the formation of a new market within the social media marketing category. Let’s assume a theoretical situation to better describe how, in our opinion, the ARI services will be delivered.
Suppose that brand A is looking forward to implementing a social media campaign using branded Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat effect that will promote the launch of A’s newest product. However, brand A has already got some experience with AR technology, as in the past it run a similar campaign using custom branded lenses. Unfortunately, the KPIs and traffic level were not satisfactory enough and met the presumed levels only partially. Thus, company A seeks a piece of advice at a trusted digital consulting company and learns that in order to make this kind of campaign more efficient, it is crucial to communicate with their audience indirectly, simply to make the experience more organic. As it turns out, company X specializes in tackling this kind of issues. Not only does the company X deliver high-quality AR content, but has also created a vast database of contracted influencers on all of the biggest social media platforms that act as mediators between brand A and its digital target audience. The rest is just as simple as that: company A places an order on a previously agreed AR concept, picks the desirable amount of the most suitable influencers, depending on the targeted audience and the type of content and selects the expected minimal/maximal reach of the campaign.
Once digital marketing agencies will start taking such orders, with influencers conquering the world of organic marketing using branded effects, ARI will imminently expand. The development of Augmented Reality analytics tools, AR campaigns run on a global scale, further extension of the functionality of the development platforms like Spark AR, or even the appearance of the new generation of AR creators and developers are all meant to propel the introduction of innovative marketing techniques.
This is what we, the Lenslist team, think will happen in the nearest future. There are more than enough evidence that confirms our forecasts that soon entrepreneurs worldwide will derive from the potential of mixing influencer and AR marketing techniques. Of course, this still might take months, maybe even years, until such practices will become a common thing among the top tier marketers. Until then, there is not much left to do except for acting bald, experiment, and pioneer our way through, while simultaneously following a Latin sentence “per aspera ad astra”, or: “through hardships to the stars”.
Thanks for the read and see you in the next one!