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Industry Contributor 24 Nov 2021 - 4 min read

Why a ‘camera strategy’ is the next ‘social strategy’, and how brands can learn from Hyundai and MAC Cosmetics

By Kathryn Carter - General Manager APAC, Snap Inc.

If a brand isn’t preparing a camera strategy, it’s missing out on an engaged and influential audience and a channel that drives up to 94 per cent higher conversion rates. 

AR you ready for cameras? 

For the past decade, a sound social media strategy has been the golden child for marketers. The next decade, however, will see a new form of marketing strategy dominate: the camera strategy.

What’s the difference? While traditional social media has looked to reach a passive audience via the mobile screen, camera marketing takes an engagement-first approach, encouraging the user to face their device to the world and interact with brands through Augmented Reality (AR).

Technology has driven this shift, first with the proliferation of the mobile camera and second with the uptake in AR engagement. We now use our camera to see the world, weaving the digital and physical together. This represents an exciting opportunity for brands to not only drive awareness but also affinity and conversion at scale.

Right now, there’s an estimated 20.8 million smartphones in Australia, representing a penetration of over 80 per cent. But it’s the rollout of 5G networks, along with increasingly powerful cameras that is enabling brands to power immersive AR experiences. Brands are evolving and embracing the idea of a camera first strategy – and if they aren't considering a camera strategy, they aren't engaging in an organic way with an influential audience.

AR is the overlaying of digital content onto the real world. Consumers see the world through the camera, and research shows that AR captures their attention, delivering almost two times the levels of visual attention compared to their non-AR equivalent. This leads to improved memories and more powerful responses from consumers. AR has moved from novelty to utility, with two thirds (72 per cent) of people expressing a desire to use it as a practical “tool” in their everyday lives. Interacting with products that have AR experiences also drives a 94 per cent higher conversion rate, as individuals can better assess them and feel connected with brands. AR has revolutionised mobile shopping by bringing products to life in front of you through 3D models that you can size up, examine from all angles, and even place in the environment around you.

Brands leveraging cameras seeing big results, awareness

Hyundai, for example, worked with Snap to launch an AR Lens that allows users to explore the Hyundai Kona in the comfort of their own homes. We’ve also worked with MAC Cosmetics to let users try on and purchase hundreds of make-up products from MAC's profile.

Almost 160 million AR photos and videos are taken every day by consumers. And this is only going to grow with an increase in awareness and access to AR experiences and content. On Snapchat alone, more than 200 million people engage with AR every day, and there are over 6 billion AR Lens plays a day.

Once a nice-to-have feature, AR has quickly become an essential technology for retailers. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital shopping, and we’re seeing consumers who want the benefits of offline shopping, online.

Branded AR experiences can have a big impact on the shopper journey and influence consumers during key moments: from inspiration, to purchase, to post-purchase. These learnings underscore the value of AR in every marketing campaign, no matter the objective. Recent activations in Australia have seen consumers do a full body workout courtesy of Sweat, or try on the new Samsung Galaxy range.

Whereas once social media or e-commerce strategies were the exception, they’re now key. We believe that AR, considered by some an exception, has become ubiquitous. Consumers seek AR while shopping and are delighted to discover experiences that help inform their purchase. AR has proven that it can add enormous value for consumers and has become a key tool in the shopping journey. Now is the time for business leaders and brands to not only reimagine retail, but to catapult immersive shopping experiences into the future.

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Kathryn Carter - General Manager APAC, Snap Inc.

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