In a survey by Skift, 62% of event professionals said they planned to use more event tech in 2020. Augmented reality (AR) is one of the best ways to use tech at events, maximising engagement while tamping down costs, yet many people are unaware of its potential. They see it as a gimmick when it has become a powerful marketing tool, a fundamental part of event planning that too many businesses are missing from their marketing strategy.
How Augmented Reality is driving increased engagement and ROI at events
Designing AR experiences effectively requires building a good strategy, something many businesses fail to do when planning their events. Just adding “some AR” in your exhibition stand will do little for your business and might, in fact, damage your brand image. A good AR experience needs to be well thought out and based on the visitor’s journey, the content, the team at the stand and the call to action.
This comes from being explicit about your business goals and the main purpose of using technology. So then you can start focusing on the technology specific’s advantages:
1. Standing out from the crowd.
2. Creating engagement.
3. Maximising space.
4. Personalising the experience.
1. Standing Out from the Crowd
Whether it’s a game, an interactive display, or a simulation of your product, AR creates a wow factor that makes your brand more memorable and so generates leads.
One of the best ways to do this is with an interactive product visualisation – an AR version of your product that potential clients can interact with. This creates a clearer impression of your product and educates people on its benefits.
Simply scanning an AR, QR code or web AR with a phone can draw attendees into the AR world of your brand. This instant engagement is attractive to people, as shown everywhere from museums to marketing campaigns. A Mindshare survey found that 55% of interviewees want to be able to point a phone at an object and learn more about it. Exhibition AR lets them do that at your stand.
One of the reasons AR is so powerful is that it can be emotionally evocative. When storing information, the brain marks emotional moments as more significant. If you can create excitement and arouse emotion through AR then you vastly increase the chances that attendees will remember you. To quote Neuro-Insight, a neuromarketing and neuro analytics company, “AR experiences deliver almost double (1.9 times) the levels of engagement compared to their non-AR equivalent”.
2. Creating Engagement
According to Skift, event planners used 10% more technology for engagement in 2019. That engagement is critical in making an impact.
A Neuro-Insight study from 2018 determined that AR tasks lead to much higher cognitive activity. In other words, they engage the brain. This increases the likelihood that information will be processed, connected to the attendee’s own life, and so retained for later.
The emotional intensity of responses is 20% higher, with attention nearly twice as high. Tapping into this can increase the effectiveness of your engagement strategy at events and so improve return on investment for trade shows.
People increasingly want instant access to information. According to Google, searches for “open now” rose 300% last year. This user impatience means that you have to engage attendees more quickly than ever if you want to generate leads. AR is a great way to achieve that.
It provides interactive information at the push of a button, often through the attendee’s phone. QR codes on your stall can lead into an AR overlay. With such an overlay, leads will start educating themselves on your product.
In an age of instant gratification, AR can spark attendees’ excitement about your product much more rapidly and much more effectively than traditionally-employed methods..
3. Maximising Showroom Space
AR lets attendees interact with people and products that aren’t in the same physical space as them. This is great for facilitating the display of more of your products while keeping down costs on transport and floor space at the exhibition.
By using AR, you can even show off equipment that’s impractical to transport and set up for trade shows. Large equipment can be replaced with an interactive representation in the middle of the stand. This was recently done with an MRI machine at the ESTRO36 conference in Vienna, allowing potential customers to see the inside of the device, as well as being able to take away a 3D miniature version of the product on an interactive postcard.
The same option is available for manufacturers, who could use AR to exhibit their equipment inside a space where large freight won’t fit.
For many companies, it’s simply not physically possible to demonstrate the full range of their products at a show. AR circumvents this obstacle, allowing exhibitors to display their entire array of products using AR.
4. Personalising the Experience
Perhaps most importantly, AR lets you personalise the experience for each attendee. They’re using their phone, putting themselves inside your products. Personalisation makes the whole experience more memorable.
This personalised experience can also be used to leave the attendee with reminders of what you do. Kingspan Industrial Insulation put a virtual postcard in leads’ phones as part of their AR experience. This means that potential clients are engaged with the product both on the exhibition floor and afterwards.
And unlike traditional brochures, these AR souvenirs provide analytics. You’ll know if your brochure has been scanned, how often, and when and where, creating a clearer picture of what is working in your exhibition strategy and how to better develop future leads.
AR overcomes practical problems of logistics, space and transport, and it also does so much more. As part of a well-developed strategy, it provides a powerful, personal, engaging experience that will improve brand awareness and help you achieve your business outcomes by ensuring that attendees remember your product long after they’ve left your stand.
So, using AR at your live event has huge benefits:
- Increased engagement with the right prospects
- Higher number of Sales Qualified Leads because AR is a softer entry point to a sales rep conversation
- Increased ROI and real-time campaign data and insights
To find out how to implement AR for your exhibition please contact Digital Pop-Ups here.