COVID-19 has changed the way we shop. With a pandemic raging outside, consumers are opting to stay in and purchase items online instead. That's why consumers are tuning into influencers more and more for how-to videos on anything from trying on lipstick to playing our favorite video games. For more on the effect of the pandemic on influencer marketing and pricing, see our recent study.
But how does this work for those items that have to be seen to be believed? Purchasing lipstick you've sampled in-store is a far cry from ordering it sight unseen. How do you know how it will look on your face before buying? Now there's a solution and influencers are showing us the way with fun, authentic, and entertaining content.
By now, we've all seen augmented reality (AR) in some form. You've probably noticed influencers sharing videos of themselves wearing cutesy digital puppy ears and noses, or age filters on their faces. You may remember a few years ago when everyone was using their phones to chase Pokemon characters all over town. That's AR. It takes a computer-generated image and superimposes it onto your phone, so you can see Pikachu standing right in front of you, or alter the way your face appears. AR is already popular on social media due to its entertainment value. But there's so much more potential within the world of ecommerce. What if you could see that lipstick on your face without getting up off your couch? What if you could experiment with different looks from the comfort and safety of your own home, before even reaching for the credit card? With AR, you can do all of that and more.
Many brands are jumping on this technology, which is expected to keep improving. From makeup to nail polish to shoes, marketers are finding innovative new ways to utilize this exciting tech. Instead of those cute puppy ears, you can try on a new pair of glasses or twelve. Instead of rainbows and clouds floating over your head, you can try a new hair color on for size. You can even go for a walk in a pair of virtual sneakers. And the visuals are growing more realistic all the time.
Virtual try-ons, as this new trend is called, are fun and maybe a little addictive for the average consumer. An estimated 50 million social network users will use AR in 2020. So what role can influencers play in all this? To start with, their own try-ons will reach hundreds of millions of followers in the fashion and beauty industries, driving consumers straight to their favorite brands' apps to play around for themselves. The brands that haven't caught up to AR yet will find themselves at a disadvantage as influencers send their followers in droves to experiment with the latest technology.
As AR technology improves, influencers won't even need to own an item of clothing to show off how they'll look in it, which means more content at a faster rate. Imagine the possibilities as influencers team up for live virtual fashion shows. Huge online events could be created around the concept of a group of influencers trying on the same outfits to show off how they'll appear on a variety of body shapes and sizes. And all of it could be arranged without any of them ever leaving their living rooms.
But fashion and beauty try-ons aren't the only uses for AR. As a powerful demo tool, AR is the answer for influencers to showcase products that really need to be viewed via video. This could mean demonstrating the correct use of haircare products, but it could also extend into realms such as the gaming industry, like showing off video games. In the household industry, IKEA is launching an app called IKEA Place, which will allow users to experiment with different pieces of furniture in their homes before making the purchase, lugging it home, and going to the effort of putting it all together.
Envision online events in which influencers show you how it's done by taking a tour of their homes and conduct live voting about which new table to put in their dining rooms. There's so much room for creativity as the technology blooms.
We already know that Youtube exploded with videos from influencers as followers craved new types of content. Almost five billion videos are watched per day on Youtube by over 30 million viewers. AR is essentially an improvement upon the format. It is the next generation of advertisements. And as the possibilities for AR extend even beyond marketing into real-world applications such as education and corporate learning, the tech will only continue to get better. The sooner brands take advantage of what it and influencer marketing can do for them, the better off they'll be.
To learn more about influencer marketing x AR and how it can propel your brand to the next level, you may contact us and someone from our team will reach out within 24 hours.
A&E is a digital agency that has the largest client portfolio of Fortune 500 companies such as Wells Fargo, J&J, P&G, and Netflix. Our founders, Amra and Elma, are mega influencers with over 2.2 million social followers; see more about A&E on Forbes, Bloomberg Television, Financial Times, Inc., and Business Insider Video.