How Zappar promotes brands with awesome AR technology

Choosing a brand name concept. 3D illustration of a compass with needle pointing the word brand. Blue and black tones.

Brands are starting to realize the power of using AR to promote and provide content — AR is totally different from traditional marketing in that it is more creative and arguably more interesting. Because not all companies have sufficient time or resources to recruit a crew focusing on AR marketing, start-ups that combine AR technology and marketing are growing more popular. Zappar, a London-based start-up founded in 2011, is one such start-up.

Zappar’s mission is quite clear — it wants to provide exciting and affordable AR products through smart devices that everyone, from big companies to regular people, can use to promote and popularize their brands.

See also: How AR will impact the real estate market

In June 2016, Zappar presented ZapWorks, a development tool that just works like Photoshop. By subscribing to this tool, people can learn to polish, edit or even build AR marketing products by themselves, thus creating AR marketing campaigns that meet their needs. Zappar hopes by launching ZapWorks, they can implement fresh solutions in marketing and promotion, and finally, achieve the goal of connecting AR technology and physical products.

A lot of influential brands are buying in

Although it has only been operating for six years, Zappar has partnered with many influential brands and companies around the world, like Universal Pictures, Time Warner, Coca-Cola and SONY.

Last year, Zappar partnered with Rovio, the maker of Angry Birds, to promote its new game: Angry Birds Action! Zappar developed zapcodes, which essentially act like QR codes; people can recognize zapcodes via smartphones. Zappar released one billion customized zapcodes offline on different Rovio physical products — all people had to do to unlock the Rovio’s new AR gaming world, which included exclusive power-ups, augmented reality mini-games, and a photo-features function was download the new game on their phones and scan the zapcodes. 

And who is Zapper’s competition?

At SXSW in March, Zappar launched its new product, ZapBox, a combination of AR and VR products. ZapBox retailed for only $ 30, reflecting Zappar’s commitment to offering affordable AR products to everyone.

According to VB Profiles’ AR Authoring & Publishing market section, there are 12 companies focusing on this field. One of them is Blippar, a company that is also based in London and that has raised $ 99 million to date, including $ 45 million from its A-round financing in March 2015 and $ 54 million from its B-round financing in March 2016. Considering that the total funding of this market is only $ 110 million, Blippar is one of the largest companies in AR.

Like Zappar, Blippar is helping brands promote products and provide content via AR technology, and last year, it launched its own AR development tool that allows customers to build AR marketing products themselves. But unlike Zappar, Blippar focuses more on picture-recognition and information collecting. 

At the moment, Blippar is the biggest company in the AR Authoring & Publishing market, but Zappar’s affordable products may give Blippar some serious competition. Zappar’s positive results from its A-round of funding, in which it raised $ 3.5 million, spells out a bright future for the company. 

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What brands need to know about VR and AR [Infographic]

Happy young man is playing racing videogame in 3D virtual reality simulator using headset. Driving car in virtual reality.

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) sound like great novelties on the surface, but what can these technologies do to help your brand? The answer might surprise you. According to this infographic, these experiences can do quite a lot to boost your brand, especially if you are in the business of selling products or experiences.

See also: What we’ve learned about VR ads after hundreds of millions of impressions

Product manufacturers and venues are already taking advantage of VR and AR technologies as part of their marketing strategy, and even retail stores are using AR to help customers find what they’re looking for.

This infographic, created by MDG Advertising, outlines some of the reasons brands should start paying attention to this emerging trend.

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Virtual reality is finally coming into its own

After years of wait-and-see with VR and AR, tech companies are finally starting to make headway into creating experiences that consumers are responding to. Products like Google’s Daydream and Samsung’s Gear VR have opened the door to enable virtually anyone with a smartphone the chance to experience virtual reality from their smartphones.

Gaming consoles like Sony’s PlayStation even has a VR experience through Sony’s PlayStation VR. Oculus, which is now part of the Facebook family, is driving Facebook’s new Spaces experience where people can meet in a virtual environment.

Linden Lab, the creators of the still-popular virtual world Second Life are hard at work creating a whole new virtual world experience with VR at the forefront.

As for brands, hotels like Marriott are offering potential customers virtual tours of their hotels around the world, enabling them to preview their experience before booking their rooms.

Even product-oriented brands like Coca-Cola are using VR to raise brand awareness through providing fun experiences. Just last year, Coca-Cola showed off packaging that converts into a cardboard VR headset for smartphones.

Augmented reality is helping brands help their customers

Have you ever been lost looking for items in a retail store? We all have, but this is where augmented reality can change the game.

Aisle411 is already being tested with retailers like Walgreens and Toys”R”Us. It creates an augmented reality of sorts that shoppers can use like GPS navigation to get them to the product they’re searching for. A tablet mounted to the shopping cart, or the shopper’s own smartphone, this augmented reality experience makes life easier for the shopper, and that is always best for business.

In addition to announcing better support for Virtual Reality at WWDC this week, Apple unveiled a ARKit, a new development platform for creating augmented reality experiences in iOS. This is a big step as Apple has long been considered the tipping point for augmented reality to really take a leap forward.

The success of Niantic’s Pokemon Go last year introduced a lot of new people to the concept of augmented reality. It remains a fun, and addicting game, but the implications of its success were that brands everywhere became aware that augmented reality is well within reach.

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What we’ve learned about VR ads after 100 millions impressions for brands

What We’ve Learned About Virtual Reality Advertising

A year ago, at Mobile World Congress 2016, Samsung announced its first million hardware shipments. This marked the first time a major VR headset manufacturer had reached this milestone. At this same time last year, Mark Zuckerberg’s surprise appearance in Barcelona, surrounded by an audience all in VR headsets, sparked excitement for the future of VR. The image went viral and capital, entrepreneurs and brands made significant investments into the space

Today, a year later, critics question whether VR is just a fad or whether it is the next major computing platform. With holiday sales of headsets underwhelming expectations, the cynics commentary has gotten louder. It is important for everyone to keep in mind, that just 12 months ago, there was no HTC Vive on the market. Even Daydream, Playstation and Oculus launched in just the past 6 months. So any opinion or commentary on the space feels too early.

See also: Eonite VR tracking software makes sure you don’t lose your head

As a VR platform working closely with brands, publishers, and VR content producers, we have seen consistent increased demand in the VR ecosystem over the course of the past year. Rather than sharing an opinion piece of whether this is the year of VR or not, I wanted to share the data that we are seeing from real business and real consumer engagement with our products.

What we see today is higher consumer engagement, higher quality content, and more demand from brands than ever. This February marked a new record with substantial year-over-year growth. Today, we have helped more than 100 brands and publishers deliver over 100 million VR ad impressions. Here are the key takeaways based on our data and case studies.

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Consumers engage with VR 10X higher

The real question to justify whether VR actually will take off is around consumer engagement. Almost every brand has asked what the uplift and engagement will be when they invest in VR. For every campaign, we have run both VR and 2D experiences to compare the performance across the same placement. We started by comparing 360° photos with 2D images. Then, we compared 360° VR videos with 2D videos. These experiments were performed across all platforms, including VR headsets, smartphones, tablets, and desktops.

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We measured heat-map (eyeballs) tracking, time spent in the experience, and click-through-rate for the display units. All data suggests that VR experiences gain higher attention from audiences. With higher engagement from audiences, brands can ensure that their message is delivered more effectively.

Brands are investing even more in VR technology

Initially we thought VR experiences made sense for Travel and Real-Estate. The nature of their products is one that aligns well with a 360° experience. In reality however, we have seen a broad range of VR content from brands. You may not think a VR campaign would be straightforward for insurance, alcohol, kitty litter, or even fast food companies, but we have seen brands from all verticals bring audiences into their narrative through this immersive media format. Below are just some examples:

IBM, Morgan Stanley, Honda, Infiniti, GE, Toyota, Google, Microsoft, NASA, Uber, Cartier, Coach, United Airline, Farmer Insurance, Ford, Mercedes, Cadillac, Maxis Telecom, Chevron, Volkswagen, Johnny Walker, Caudalie, KIA, Clorox, RYOT, Samsung, Lexus, Netflix, Fifty Shades, Chick-fil-A, Jack-In-The-Box, Herbalife, Tourism Australia, Hitachi, Porche, Time-After-Time, US Army, and American Home Insurance.

Our takeaway: every brand can effectively use VR for its marketing. Immersing your potential customer in your brand’s narrative is not a new objective to the marketer, and VR is being experimented with and successfully executed by creatives the same way we have seen these brands lean into online video 10 years ago.

And production value is getting stronger as well. One year ago, stereoscopic 360° content (VR content that is created for dimension of left and right eyes) was still in the lab. Not many brands and production partners knew how to film it. Today, we are serving advertising campaigns with stereoscopic video on a daily basis. We are receiving inbounds about spatial audios (360° audio), 8K resolution, 180° 3D (theater-like experience), and Web VR (Web Browser inside VR headsets). This all demonstrates deeper engagement with the medium. Brands, agencies and their production partners are learning into this technology and creating better VR experiences by the day.

Brands are seeking more eyeballs

One of the most important metrics for a VR production is the number of people it reaches. While costs are coming down, investing in VR production for a marketing campaign is only as useful as the number of people that can access it. Today we are seeing VR content being distributed in many forms. People often think that VR content has to live inside a VR app only. However, we have found our customers use our technology to promote their content outside their VR app. These channels include pre-roll/display ad inventory, sponsored editorial, microsites, and even Snapchat.

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Distribution on VR platforms today is highly fragmented, and there are multiple devices to choose from. Each requires unique technical work to implement adding additional cost and time to the production. We have found that while many brands will invest in those placements, they are eager to extend their reach and deliver as much viewership as possible on the creative content they have built.

Today, the VR platforms are still new. HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and Google Daydream have been in the market for less than one year. The journey of this new advertising medium will continue to evolve. Given the growth we have seen on our platform over the past 12 months, we are very excited for what 2017 has in store.

VR Landscape
This article is part of our Artificial Intelligence series. You can download a high-resolution version of the landscape featuring 431 companies here.

About OmniVirt: OmniVirt is 360° Video and Virtual Reality advertising platform that distributes 360° VR advertisements.

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