As tech develops and new apps hit the market, mobile augmented reality marketing, and advertising campaigns are no longer just a privilege of big-budget corporations.
Marketers who are faced with limited resources, be it time constraints, lack of team expertise, or budget can still create and deliver successful mobile augmented reality (AR) experiences. I’ve previously talked about goal-setting for AR campaigns, and I wanted to add another advice piece to this series specifically for marketing and advertising.
I believe the two topics are closely tied together because the budget for AR implementation and the type of experience a marketer chooses to offer goes back to the overall campaign goal and the role they attribute to AR in achieving it.
Most often, there is no need to splash out significant amounts of money when a small-budget campaign could deliver the desired results. To put things into perspective, I’ve split up AR opportunities in three budgets, covering what can be achieved within each: Basic, Advanced, and Pro.I will talk about the scope of work marketers can expect to deliver within each.
Lastly, you’ll find a template at the end of the article to help you budget for your mobile augmented reality marketing campaigns. Please note that I am sticking to mobile here. I chose to do so because smartphones are the most accessible tech of all — more than 3 billion of the global population own one, and businesses do not have to invest in own technologies such as virtual dressing rooms, magic mirrors, or bogus windows to deliver mobile AR experiences.
Basic AR marketing
If you look at the Overly app pricing, you’ll notice that the costs for a small-scale campaign are quite low. You can start at $33 (€29.4) for five markers and 1000 recognitions per month. Ideal not just for personal use but for one-man-band marketers and small businesses.
What usually creates the most expenses is content creation. My advice to marketing and advertising professionals who want to stand out on a small budget is to repurpose content.
As we meet with businesses, we often find out that there are plenty of videos, photographs, presentations, and ads that have previously been created for TV or social media and would fit perfectly with their AR campaign idea. No need to produce more stuff just for the sake of it being brand new.
Lead with marker-based AR
Another aspect that you should bear in mind is that marker-based augmented reality will fit best with repurposed content, as this is where we mainly talk about video materials or existing animations. If you’re not sure what I mean, here is a bit of background reading on the differences between markerless and marker-based AR.
Concentrate on own marketing collateral
Let’s take a business card as an example. The goal for an AR business card could be to stand out amongst competitors at an exhibition or trade show and stick in your potential partners’ minds.
Augmented reality, first of all, is an excellent ice breaker, and secondly, it can hold on to a corporate video, which links further to your website. It can also feature an advice video that an employee has once upon a time done for YouTube to educate people on a particular product. AR will be a feature to remember. At the same time, it will help guide people seamlessly to the information that is already out there.
Another option is to bring flyers or brochures to life with existing videos, as long as the additional content provides value. To save on redesign, you can just add your AR provider’s information to your booklet and make it more engaging through augmented reality.
In summary, the key to a low-budget campaign that still delivers some great AR experiences would be to concentrate on marker-based AR and repurpose existing content.
Advanced AR marketing
If we look again to Overly app’s pricing plan, you’ll see that for an SME marketing team with more resources on their hands, the cost of hosting AR would actually be the least of their worries, coming in with a monthly fee of $132 (€119.4) or less. I do think that the cliche comment that content is king applies perfectly to augmented reality. The price increase will come with advanced AR content.
Consider augmented reality from the get-go
Although repurposed content can still be integrated within advanced campaigns, I would classify content creation, where AR is considered as an integral part of the campaign from the get-go to fit best within this budget level.
What costs here is the extra amount of time and resources to come up with a strategy that contributes to achieving the overall campaign goal and perhaps leave a more impressive effect.
However, in terms of materials, we are still talking marker-based within this budget, although here we look at flyers, business cards, and brochures that have been designed with augmented reality in mind.
Think about AR billboards, magazine adverts
Advanced budget is also the starting capital of where I see more value in expanding your augmented reality from your in-house marketing collateral to the advertising scene. This could be anything that refers to paid ad spaces, such as launching magazine campaigns or reserving outdoor billboards.
When it comes to advertising, it has to be strategic, and storytelling has to be on point, so it is the most likely scenario that both the AR marker and its content would be created in unison.
Within this budget, the content itself will also be more complex. Even if it is a simple video layer, it has to deliver your message, so you may hire someone to direct the ad. When investing in advertising spaces, businesses often go for more advanced content such as animations, 3D model integration, and ALT channel videos, which all require additional skills to create (look at our AR content blog for reference).
In a nutshell, this middle budget is for professionals who want to take their AR experiences beyond their in-house marketing materials, and can afford to outsource experts to create more complex content.
Pro AR marketing
Our offer for hosting augmented reality content that would best fit within the pro budget starts at $462 (€419.4) fee monthly. It is more pricey because, at this level, we are looking at fully integrated campaigns, which can include marker-based solutions that need social media and advanced tracking integration, as well as custom solutions such as brand new apps and markerless content.
AR should really be the driving force for reaching the campaign goal when your investment is high, and you should have a clear understanding of how the tech is going to deliver your desired ROI.
Remember additional expenses
For this, significant investment and consideration are required to track engagement augmented reality generates. This is included in our pro pricing, but you must be clear on your KPIs and talk these through with your provider before launching the campaign to make sure the functionality is built-in. Ideas for measuring KPIs can be reviewed in my previous blog.
Another aspect you must consider is the cross-channel promotion of AR experiences. Ensuring people know to engage with your experiences will also require some capital.
Include complex marker-based content, custom augmented reality solutions
When budget enables you rather than limits, you can explore both marker-based content, such as 3D animations, as well as consider custom markerless solutions, including AR games. This is an opportunity for marketers to offer a higher level of interactivity, which drives more positive brand responses.
To summarize the pro budget plan, I’d say it is for expert teams that can deliver strategic AR marketing campaigns, where ROI is a vital consideration. The investment can stretch to include both marker-based and markerless experiences, utilizing in-house collateral and advertising spaces.
You can go for large-scale and expensive solutions and achieve great results, or you can add value with multiple small-budget solutions that still deliver the outcome you need. To help you plan the budget for your AR campaign, I’ve created a template of positions that you can include or exclude from your campaign. Nevertheless, they must be considered to finalize costs and budget.