Have a Pika the Future - The marketing potential of Augmented reality

Have a Pika the Future - The marketing potential of Augmented reality

Written by Professional Academy Tutor and Marketing Expert Peter Sumpton

Usually these blogs start with ‘unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past 6 months’ or ‘unless you’ve had your head in the sand for the past few months’ you will have heard of the new Pokémon Go phenomenon, but even if you have been in a cave, as long as you have a Smart Device with you, you’ve probably managed to catch a rare Pokémon, before your cave was then inundated with other Pokémon Go addicts looking for a Jigglypuff or a Wigglytuff (I had to research those by the way)!

This blog isn’t strictly about Pokémon Go so if you’re a fan, feel free to leave now as I don’t have any tips on how to catch them all. It is firmly looking at the software behind it, potentially opening an entire new world for businesses. This is looking at the potential of Augmented Reality (AR), the platform that Pokémon Go is based upon. The mixture of the virtual and the actual, digital combining with reality, or to look at time in a simplistic fashion, using a camera on a Smart Device to view virtual content within the real world environment.

Getting Around

Satellite Navigation systems are now common place in the majority of new cars and apps for Smart Devices are multiplying, but AR can take this concept even further. The Hudway app – HUD (Heads Up Display) is already doing this by projecting information onto a drivers windscreen rather than the standard display you are now all familiar with allowing a driver to follow a virtual road with information about what is ahead and nearby.

Although only showing basic information at the moment, there are great opportunities here for future developments in route finding content, traffic announcements and assessing your local / destinations surroundings under an individual’s own set criteria.


Whether you have a keen eye for how things ‘could’ look, there is nothing better than actually having the physical object you are trying to visualise in its place. If this is not possible however, then AR can help as the WayfairView app is currently doing, allows users to pick products and view them where they may eventually end up, without the hassle of lifting and carrying.

Allowing users to make purchases straight from an app like this continues to bridge the gap between digital and physical purchases.

But the visualisation element of AR doesn’t stop at inanimate objects. Museums, conferences concerts and other events will be able to drastically enhance a user’s experience by offering them an alternative, enhanced audio and visual experience.

Sports and Fitness

The sport and fitness arena has increasingly looked to the analysis of stats to improve performance and AR can take this a step forward by adding live, real-time information about an athlete’s performance and technique, as they participate. This could also be used to interact with spectators as well, offering exclusive content and adding a fourth dimension to watching sports.

The health market could also benefit with digital diagnosis and recommended treatments instantly retrievable – Caution, do not try this at home….. at least not yet.

Sponsorship and Advertising

Sponsorship and advertising opportunities may have limitless boundaries through AR. Sponsorship and advertising already within the digital arena is much more flexible than it every was, but AR will allow organisations to offer many more opportunities for sponsorship on a geographical level with pin-point accuracy, giving sponsors more freedom and creativity to interact with consumers within their natural (and artificial) surroundings. This could be a case of Guerrilla Marketing at its peak!


The opportunities are almost endless, from the lure of additional (paid for) features within games such as Pokémon Go, to promotions for stores item - only available to a certain target market that can only be found by being in a certain location at a certain time. The personalisation, timing, tracking and eventual monetisation of AR isn’t too far away. It will truly take location based marketing to a new level.

Data, Data, Data

A word of caution however - without trying to dampen your artificial excitement. AR apps (as with the majority of digital software) will only be as good as the information they can draw upon and how manageable we can make this data and how accessible it is, which takes time…. and a lot of security parameters!

Are You Ready for the Future

To summaries, Pokémon Go’s success can be put down to a number of different factors, which in a broader sense can be attributed to AR as a media:

Target Markets will be varied but targeted; from the generation of Smart Phone users who aren’t old enough to remember anything but instance access, Facebook and Facetime, to the generation previous, who use and understand most digital platforms, but grew up in a time where ‘Knightmare’ and ‘Who Framed Rodger Rabbit’ were the height of artificial or indeed virtual reality (if you get these references you are definitely in the latter group).

Accessibility must be quick and simple, doesn’t take too long to engage and can be accessed anywhere, as long as you have a Smart Phone or another digital device …and a signal.

Usability will always be a fundamental factor for any new technology. Keeping things simple and seamless while allowing technology to take care of the complex components will be key. Like a good child, AR should be seen but (the back end) not heard!

It is these factors that businesses will need to focus on to make AR a platform for the now not the future and one that truly adds value for consumers. Whether this can be done remains to be seen, but the interesting part will be watching how organisations will utilise AR to get closer to and engage with consumers.

If you would like to talk to Professional Academy about Digital Marketing or Marketing Qualifications to develop your skills why not get in touch today!