Top 3 secrets to creating a killer AR app for your business

Nisha Burton Virtual & Augmented Reality

Top hitters like Facebook and Apple are investing billions in Augmented Reality technology. This is leading many companies to take notice of AR and begin thinking about how to use it for their businesses. 

However, just because you create content in AR doesn’t mean that it will be successful. There are many important factors to consider in order to make your application not only work, but also be successful with your users. 

User experience (UX) in AR can be even more nuanced than in standard smartphone applications. Considering the way that most people are interacting with AR is still over their phones you need to take note of how people want to interact with their phones, and how they don’t.

A simple example of bad AR UX is forcing users into holding their phone up in front of them for 20 minutes straight. 

Some questions you can begin asking yourself: 

  1. Who is your target audience and how do they already interact with their smartphones?
  2. How do you plan on monetizing your AR experience?
  3. What is the end goal of your experience? Is it profit? Is it brand awareness? Something else?
  4. Does this application of AR actually make sense for your product/company or are you attracted to it just for novelties sake? 

What consumers will (and will not) spend their time on:

It’s important to identify if consumers are really willing to spend time and money on your AR experience. 

You are probably aware that as far as apps go the ‘freemium’ model is quite popular. With the increase of apps available to consumers, they may feel hesitant to invest in something without having any previous awareness of it. 

In AR that is compounded by the fact that it is still a relatively new technology and people are even more hesitant to spend money just to have a ‘novel’ experience. Similarly, most experiences that consumers have with AR have been free so far (think of Snapchat, Pokemon Go, etc). 

So what can be learned from early AR leaders? Below are some insights that we’ve gathered so far.

Learning from an early AR leader (Pokemon Go)

Pokemon Go has been a widely successful application and raised awareness of AR technology. Below I break down some lessons that can be gleaned from studying their application and its success.

  • Lesson One: They have avoided getting old by rolling out new features continuously within their app. This brings users back time and time again to interact with the new features and adventures. 
  • Takeaway: Think of how you can structure your AR experience so you are releasing content continuously. Is there a way that your content can be structured in a drip sequence? Can you plan out a few quarters to what content could be released once the experience is available to build on the world you’ve already constructed? 

  • Lesson Two: Pokemon Go actually uses the AR aspect of its app sparingly. They understand that users don’t want to hold their phones up for long periods of time. Furthermore, they’ve thought of the impracticalities of navigating through space with a phone in front of your face. Within the app, much of it is still 2D within the phone and then there are AR abilities sprinkled throughout. 
  • Takeaway: Just because AR is exciting doesn’t mean you should overdo it. Test out your ideas on your own smartphone. Ideate upon how a user might actually feel while interacting with your app. Make sure you are not making them fatigued or frustrated by the UX or UI. 
  • Lesson Three: Pokemon Go is free to start, with in-app purchases. This is because, as discussed above, AR has yet to prove itself enough to justify an upfront cost. Microtransactions (like in games like Fortnight) can stimulate a healthy revenue all while not running the risk of turning users off from too high of a price point. 
  • Takeaway: Make sure the ‘price is right’ on the experience you are creating. Identify what microtransactions/in-app purchases would be attractive to your user once they are already invested in the experience you are creating. Also, consider what other advantages this experience could have for your brand other than direct revenue. Does it raise brand awareness in some way? Does it attract people to purchase a specific ‘real-world’ product? Can you attract outside sponsorship through this experience to help monetize it?

Taking it a step further

Now that you have some ideas of how to make your AR experience successful let’s take it a step further. 

Are there ways that you can create adjacent revenue streams through location-based marketing? One of the beautiful things about AR, as opposed to VR, is that it places digital content within the users’ physical environment. Therefore, it can be used to promote physical goods and drive users to certain locations for affiliate marketing. 

Take the time to think of all the various angles you can apply to your AR experience and how it can incorporate the physical environment in order to better entertain and create more engagement. 

In Conclusion

With all of the above ideas, I hope that the wheels in your mind are churning around the experience you are wanting to create. Taking on relatively new technology can feel overwhelming at times but those that do will set themselves well ahead of the curve.

At Reflective Brands, we truly enjoy consulting with companies and individuals around their AR/VR ideas. We are happy to help at any stage of the process from inception and ideation, to development and launch. Drop us a line and let us know if you have any questions or want to brainstorm ideas. Here is to the success of your AR app!