Augmented reality solutions are getting ever more popular amongst marketers, but setting clear KPIs and measuring campaign ROI is often much of a discussion point and does not have a single go-to solution.
One of the most frequently asked questions about augmented reality campaigns is if they are worth the investment? While one may expect the CEO of an AR solutions agency to jump straight to the answer “Yes!”, that is not a blanket response that our clients get.
Unfortunately, around 50% of businesses that deliver digital marketing activities, which include mobile marketing and therefore augmented reality, do so without any strategy or understanding of its ROI. For me, on the other hand, the absolute prerequisite to any campaign is a client’s clear understanding of the desired result and the role AR plays in achieving it.
From there, we can go on and explore, what realistic and measurable KPIs we can set and how to go about achieving them. Below I’ve pulled together some examples to help you explore the best approach for measuring your successes. The blog is best considered and read even before you decide that AR is the right solution for your campaign.
Number of scans or app downloads
I always emphasize to our clients that augmented reality is not a mass marketing tool like radio, TV, or magazine ads. Augmented reality is something a person must choose to engage with and therefore does not work the same as attention-grabbing headlines or videos that autoplay on people’s social feeds.
Nevertheless, if you prefer it to be a numbers game, one of the most basic and possibly obvious measurement options is to track your AR app downloads, marker scans, and the number of engagements with specific content even if it’s not marker-based.
Before you go ahead and run with your AR idea, set a clear and realistic goal of how you’d want those numbers to look. So, if it is an exclusive event invite that lands in the mailbox of 100 people, you must have a percentage in mind that would make you satisfied with the results. After you have a goal set, you must figure out how to go about communicating about your AR experience so people take time to explore it (it’s a whole new topic, but the content must be worth the scan too.)
- You have clear statistics to report on
- You can measure how successful was the promotion of AR content
- You cannot establish if people enjoyed your content
- You cannot explore scanners’ journeys, engagement levels
Zooming in on individual AR journeys at events
I believe that augmented reality offers much more than superficial numbers. As with other technologies like social media or website engagement, measuring personal journeys is the most powerful approach and should be seized by businesses whenever relevant.
We recently teamed up with Story Hub to add an augmented reality layer to their exhibition. During a contemporary art night in Latvia, the company launched five visual poetry tents, decorated with 51 AR-enabled illustrations in total. During the event, the drawings received from dozens to hundreds of scans each.
After the event, StoryHub’s Creative Producer, Elizabete Palasiosa, reflected on this phenomenon and highlighted that AR is about allowing individual freedom and is not a “one size fits all” advertising approach. “There are people who download the app, scan one illustration, feel the magic, but that is enough for them. Others are completely taken by it. They will come to one of the tents first, go all around it and inside it and move on to the next, not missing anything,” she shared.
Individual approach to exploring AR poetry illustrations
Understandably, we cannot measure the success of this campaign by just totaling up the number of scans of each drawing. That would mean that at the same event, we saw both great success and failure with scans varying dramatically for each illustration.
In such scenarios, we should instead look at the environment where the content was presented. Which illustrations were at the forefront, and which at the back? This may provide some context.
Then we should look at how different people engage with the AR content, how they go about moving on from one marker to the next. Do they follow a set order and don’t make it till the end? How many illustrations do people engage with on average? Besides, we should look at the number of people who visited the exhibition and enjoyed it without any technologies as using augmented reality was not a must to seeing the illustrations.
- You can to some extent establish what content people enjoyed most
- You can explore how people prefer to engage with augmented reality
- You cannot look at the data isolated. You have to consider other aspects that may affect scanners’ journeys, such as which markers are placed at the forefront, etc.
Testimonials, real-life feedback, and rating systems
If you are not too keen on measuring just statistics, it is always a good idea to talk to your audience. If you are hosting an event or exhibition such as the above, you could take a DIY approach and ask the visitors for feedback by actually talking to them at the venue.
If you do not want to do it yourself, you can ask your representatives or promo people to ask guests how they are finding the experience. They could be filling out a short questionnaire that takes 15 seconds to complete. You could even film the event so you could capture expressions on people’s faces and later show it to your management if needs be.
Having conversations and talking to your audience will ensure you get truly diverse and qualitative feedback. Having people talk to each other during an AR event will also have an underlying benefit of encouraging people to try AR if they haven’t before you approached them.
However, you can also get feedback that is more quantitative at event-based AR experiences. You can ask visitors to rate augmented reality features at your event as they are leaving. You could use something similar to a smiley face rating system that is available in a lot of retail stores for customer service evaluations.
You could also take a more settle approach, placing voting screens with ratings from 1 to 5, if smiley faces do not fit your design. Whatever the method, remember that the latter option will not delve into the details. For the best results, you could use qualitative and quantitative approaches at the same time.
- Opportunity to get honest and detailed feedback
- Being stopped for feedback may irritate visitors
- Not possible to speak to everyone
Setting goals and analyzing action items
If your AR campaign is not an isolated event, you will have trouble speaking to your audience, so a good idea for measuring AR success for a lot of marketing campaigns is to ask people to complete specific tasks in AR seamlessly and track these conversions.
We recently worked on an augmented reality public transportation promotion campaign for Ed Sheeran’s concert in Finland. One city bus roamed the streets of Helsinki for two weeks featuring augmented reality stickers on its seats. By scanning the stickers, people were presented with an AR menu and able to complete one of the following actions: purchase a concert ticket, listen to a Spotify playlist, purchase a CD or play a guitar hero game.
In a campaign like this, where various actionable paths are available, you can track conversions. You do not have to set up specific landing pages, either. You could create Google tracking links for each actionable item and later follow up on how many people visited either one of your paths.
- Opportunity to generate leads and track conversions
- Purely sales or promotion-based approach may put people off exploring AR
Engagement time vs. marker scans
Similar to YouTube analytics, your augmented reality provider could offer you watch time statistics if your campaign features a video, or time spent exploring an AR object should it be a 3D model.
You may have a magazine interview that features an AR marker, and readers can watch a behind the scenes video once scanning the page. You could, in this instance, track how much time a person spends on the video. Your publication may have a circulation of 300 of which 200 people scan the piece. Still, if the audience looks at just 3 seconds of a minute-long video, that tells something about the quality of your content and for sure, is not a good return on your investment.
On the other hand, if we can say that the audience that scans the page spends, on average, spends 45 seconds with the AR content, that is for sure excellent even if less people scan the content. You may also want to track any conversion goals that are integrated to see if more prolonged engagement leads to sales or website traffic, etc.
Similar rules apply to games that can be enabled in AR. You can measure how many people who scan the page, actually play and finish the game. If you have integrated a 3D model with additional information, you can track how much time people spend exploring the 3D model and reading the info. That will give you far better statistics on how useful your content is compared to just the number of scans.
- You can measure how successful was the promotion of AR content
- You can measure if people enjoyed your content
- You still need to track total scans to measure average engagement, etc.
Augmented reality boosted via social media
Lastly, if your AR content simply overlays a video ad on top of a print ad in a magazine, you are probably not going to hit it big time for social sharing.
However, if your content allows people to engage with it, such as place themselves in an AR situation by trying on a face filter or posing next to an AR creature, you have a better shot at social media interactions. However, to make this trackable, your content has to be built around a social media campaign that encourages participants to use specific hashtags.
For the Eurovision Song Contest 2019, we teamed up with Tere Piim. Working with Eurovision hopefuls, the company provided unique AR content to customers across Estonia, which could be accessed by scanning their milk packaging. The content comprised 3D models of Estonian contestants performing Eurovision songs. People were encouraged to place themselves next to the artists and share their experience using the campaign hashtag. As a result, the brand generated great traction and engagement on social media, which could be easily tracked by following #tereeestilaul2019.
- Driving engagement across channels
- Possible to measure engagement, sentiment and message reach
- Possible to measure an increase in sales and awareness
- Not applicable to every situation, a lot of consideration for content necessary to make it shareable
Overall, your campaign measurement plan should be established at the time of the idea conception. You must prioritize the quality of your content, so it is worth the audience’s time to engage with it post-scanning. You also have to be clear if your augmented reality layer is just a fun feature or will add some other business value. In both situations, you will receive different levels of engagement. Last but not least, you must have a strategy of how to communicate information about AR content, which is a whole different story and a brand new blog, which is coming up in the next few weeks.
In the meantime, if you want to discuss or add anything to the above, leave a comment below or get in touch with me on LinkedIn.