7 Actually Awesome Augmented Reality (AR) Advertising Campaigns

Published 28 Nov, 2023
Michelle Martin
Michelle MartinContributing Writer
TL;DR

How do you create an AR advertising campaign that’s more than a gimmick? That builds brand equity and drives tangible results? By learning the secrets behind what made these successful AR advertising campaigns work. With recent examples from both B2B and B2C, there’s something here for marketers and creatives of all stripes.

It’s official: We’re now living in the metaverse. Well, almost. AR advertising campaigns have been around for a decade—(remember Pepsi’s viral 2014 bus shelter AR campaign?)—but we’re entering a ramp up phase as more brands, both B2C and B2B, experiment with AR advertising campaigns.

Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and others have offered AR ad formats for years. But Meta’s recent launch of Instagram Reels and Stories AR ads has pushed AR advertising to new heights in 2023. AR ad spending on mobile alone is expected to reach $6.68 billion USD by 2025.

The continual development of new AR advertising formats is an opportunity for marketers to act early and capture more attention by being some of the first to experiment with novel technology. Here are seven AR advertising examples to inspire you.

What is AR Advertising, Really?

AR advertising incorporates augmented reality elements to create highly engaging and unique customer interactions. Clear as mud? Think of augmented reality as another layer on top of our real, physical world. A digital layer that we see through our phone, tablet or even those (admittedly cool) smart sunglasses.

In advertising, these elements can include front camera experiences, like branded face filters for social media, or back camera filters to add something virtual to a user’s physical environment through their screen.

Harness the Power of AR
Harness the Power of AR

Harness the Power of AR

Discover the ins and outs of AR marketing and design in our total guide, including modern B2B and B2C examples, best practices, design tools and more.

Does AR Advertising Work?

In short: Yes.

Meta found AR advertising campaigns provide 11.2 times higher brand lift and 600% more recommendations compared to traditional marketing campaigns. Plus, augmented reality ads cost an average of 59% less.

The entire mobile augmented reality market is expected to be worth over $36 billion USD by 2026. Although most people think about the B2C market when it comes to augmented reality, the truth is there’s a massive opportunity for B2B marketers to win with AR right now, as you’ll see from some of the examples below.

AR Advertising Examples

1. AR Advertising for B2B Event Promotion

Goal: Drive conference registrations for a primarily B2B audience

Type of campaign: Interactive Instagram Stories face filter

Why this works:

  • Uses gamification to gather more data about the audience.
  • Delivers a personalized recommendation.

This face filter Instagram AR lens effectively turns a webinar ad into a game. By moving their head left or right, the user answers a few questions to determine which session at an upcoming Superside event would be the most interesting for them.

The key here is to keep participation easy, quick and fun. Keeping it to five or fewer questions increased the likelihood that people would complete it. The animated graphics and head tilting answering method keep it fun for the user, too. Much more fun than clicking checkboxes on a form, right?

The result is an AR advertising campaign that successfully engaged a B2B audience, giving them a positive brand experience (thanks, personalization!) while providing the brand a wealth of data from their answers.

This 10-day AR advertising campaign generated over one million impressions and an average interaction time of 41 seconds—definitely longer than users would normally spend looking at a static conference ad, if they looked at it at all.

2. Boosting Bookings with an Augmented Reality Game

Source: Meta

Goal: Increase flight bookings

Type of campaign: Interactive Instagram face filter game; A/B test

Why this works:

  • Engages users right away.
  • Delivers value immediately (discount code).

VietJet Air took two smart approaches here. First, they rewarded people right away for engaging with their AR advertising campaigns by giving out discount codes immediately after people finished the game. And second, they A/B tested two different AR filter games to see which one resonated most with their audience.

Testing two filters was smart as the results showed one game outperformed the other by a substantial margin. The “Give Amy Love” game earned 14% more flight bookings at a 12.5% lower cost per action (CPA). Nice!

Why did that one do so much better? It opened with action right away. Users had to catch falling icons by moving their bodies. From generations of Tetris and Pac-Man, human bodies are now hardwired to catch falling objects. (Okay, that’s not a scientific fact, but I bet it’s true.) Engaging people so quickly makes it much more likely they’ll continue playing until the end.

3. Turning Real Life Into a Video Game

Source: Google

Goal: Promote launch of new Space Invaders mobile game

Type of campaign: AR mixed reality game

Why this works:

  • Leverages competition to outdo friends’ high scores.
  • Unique content for each user based on their location.

The classic arcade favorite “Space Invaders” franchise turns 45 this year and is celebrating by launching a new game for iOS and Android. To increase app downloads, this campaign brings the basic premise of the game—defending the world from alien invaders—to the real world with AR.

Interactivity is a key part of the campaign. Each user sees unique content tailored to their location and local weather. Users can also compete against each other for high scores, adding that all-too-powerful motivation of competitiveness to increase participation.

Sure, this was a major campaign, but don’t think you need to have pockets lined with gold to afford to make a splash with AR. As Superside’s José Teixeira explains:

AR appears to be an expensive capability, and it actually is to build from scratch. But when you think of the reusability of 3D design across brand assets, it’s really not an expensive capability at all.

José Teixeira
José TeixeiraCreative Director of 3D and Motion Design, Superside

4. Making Data Fun(?) with Augmented Reality

Source: IBM

Goal: Showing the power of their data visualization software to a highly specific B2B audience

Type of campaign: Mixed reality immersive experience

Why this works:

  • Demonstrates the power of IBM’s data visualization tool in real life.
  • Backed by research.

Quick, what are the three most fun words you’ll ever hear? Congrats if you guessed “exploratory data analysis.” IBM used AR to show the power of their Immersive Data tool, which helps researchers and other nerdy-and-we-love-them big data B2Bers evaluate, make sense of and showcase their datasets in creative and easy to understand ways.

IBM unveiled the tool at their semi-annual THINK conference, which is dedicated to new advancements in all sorts of business technology. More than a cool demo, they also backed up the project by conducting research on—here come those three fun words again—exploratory data analysis. That research found AR data visualization tools improve research efficiency up to 32%, allowing for faster insights when dealing with complex or large groups of data.

This campaign has everything for their highly technical B2B customers: A show-don’t-tell approach, citable data to convince the boss and a cutting-edge tool proven to speed up their workflow. Magnifique.

5. Driving Brand Awareness with AR Video Ads

Source: Meta

Goal: Increase brand awareness

Type of campaign: AR filter over top of existing video assets; A/B test

Why this works:

  • The more involved the viewer is, the more they’ll remember about the ad and your brand.

Forgive the pun, but Hyundai really drove a ton of brand awareness with their AR video ads, earning an 8.4 point lift compared to their standard video ads. This campaign A/B tested their standard ads against a version with the same creative assets, but with an AR filter over top.

The AR ads, predictably, caught people’s attention more than the standard video ones, since the car rotated and sped up (and made critically important vroom vroom sounds) as the user moved their phone.

In addition to the higher brand awareness, the augmented reality ads also achieved a 12.5 point lift in recall and 5.9 point lift in favorability compared to the standard videos.

6. 30% More Productivity with Customer-Centric AR

Source: Cisco

Goal: Improve information access and troubleshooting support

Type of campaign: Custom AR app

Why this works:

  • Takes a core customer problem (hassle of finding information) and delivers a truly customer-centric solution.

As one of the world’s leading tech and networking hardware companies, Cisco has a massive catalog of thousands of routers and other communications doohickeys. The point is they have a lot of products in a, frankly, very dull niche. Sure, their products power 41% of global enterprise tech infrastructure… but has anyone put a PCI/PCMCIA/USB Wireless LAN Adaptor on their vision board? Nah.

To make their huge product catalog more accessible, Cisco created a custom augmented reality app. Hold your phone over a malfunctioning Cisco router and a menu pops up with troubleshooting steps, complete with a full walkthrough by virtual hands on how to fix it, or install a new device. Cisco customers installed new components an average of 30% faster, which is a significant time and financial savings for their enterprise-level clientele.

Though not technically an ad campaign, this example demonstrates the power of AR for fostering brand loyalty and encouraging repeat purchasing behavior, even in the B2B space.

7. Making Holiday Magic for 61% Lower Ad Costs

Source: Meta

Goal: Reinforce brand reputation

Type of campaign: Facebook and Instagram AR video ad and game

Why this works:

  • Gamification is highly powerful in all its forms, but especially for capturing attention in ads.

Already a household name in England with over 1,000 stores, Marks and Spencer sought to reinforce their reputation for food quality in the leadup to the holiday shopping season, when people are planning out dinner menus.

To do this, they created a “Christmas fairy” game where by moving your head and phone around, you can get the fairy to gather all the Marks and Spencer holiday special food items strewn about. Besides earning points in a “race the clock” style game, playing also entered participants into a draw for a $250 gift card.

At the end, players could share a screenshot of their highest score along with their face filtered with a “fairy” look to challenge their friends to beat their score.

The campaign resulted in a 250% boost in perceived brand quality and 61% lower costs compared to traditional ads.

The Future of AR Advertising is Bright

When’s the best time to launch your first augmented reality ad? Right now.

There’s an advantage to being first. But jumping into something that’s unproven carries risk. Which is why most marketers often play it safe, going with what’s familiar until that new thing proves itself.

But here’s the problem: The longer you wait, the more you diminish that first mover advantage. Playing it safe could end up being more damaging than trying the new thing to begin with.

Kyle Weber
Kyle WeberAssociate Creative Director at Superside
Launch Your Next AR Campaign With Superside
Launch Your Next AR Campaign With Superside

Launch Your Next AR Campaign With Superside

No in-house AR specialists? No worries. Superside can deliver high-quality AR ads, filters, games and other assets to elevate your brand and drive tangible results.

Michelle Martin
Michelle MartinContributing Writer

Michelle is a SaaS expert who loves digging into the technical side of creativity. She’s worn many hats during her decade in agencies, from project manager to brand strategist, copywriter and social media strategist, and worked across a wide variety of clients (though tech is her jam!). She loves to put the sass into SaaS content… and now CaaS. Connect with her on LinkedIn and send her a pic of your dog (really, she’ll love it).

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