What makes content go viral? Every marketing director would die to know the answer to this tricky question. Why do some marketing campaigns end up with ridiculous numbers close to zero and others generate incredible buzz in social networks? Why?
I have analyzed 5 marketing campaigns that used augmented reality applications as a major gimmick to attract customers. And I made unexpected conclusions.
It turned out AR apps for marketing were doomed to go viral because they provoke strong emotions of awe and surprise, they make people laugh, they bring magic to the trivial world by placing 3D animations at some trivial locations… These are just few reasons of the efficiency of AR advertising. Would like to know more? Read about 5 most viral AR marketing campaigns.
Pepsi AR screen at the bus stop had incredible success. Yet the recipe of their virality was desperately simple. Think about it: the company just installed an AR screen at the bus stop, shot a video about it, and still enjoys the cream of the crop from this insanely successful AR marketing campaign. 8 mln views on YouTube and an eternal glory of pioneers of creative AR advertising.
What were the reasons of this virality?
1. This augmented reality app evoked awe. According to Business Insider, that’s the emotion that matters the most in terms of virality. Anything that can evoke awe in a person, touch him/her deeply will stimulate the desire to like, click, and share. But do you know what awe is, actually? It’s the feeling of being in the presence of something greater than the self, something that exceeds current knowledge about the world. When users saw this augmented reality at the bus stop, they finally understood that there is a magic world of mixed reality in which objects appear out of nowhere. What’s more, this world is not distant and inaccessible - you can actually reach it easily! So it turns out that augmented reality for marketing is an excellent method of provoking awe - it just can’t leave people indifferent.
2. There were other reasons, for sure. Pepsi video with the AR screen went viral on YouTube because it was accessible to everyone: first Pepsi made AR accessible to common commuters. There was no need in downloading any apps, no need to subscribing to a newsletters or doing any puzzling operation. If you were at the right time and at the right place, you could observe AR in action. Next, Pepsi shared it online. And sharing is caring in the world of the Internet.
3.According to Forbes, a good title for an app or a video is 50% of success for the video. The company called this video “Unbelievable Bus Stop”and I find this title very accurate. In this video Pepsi made emphasis on the human reactions to AR, not on the technology itself. That’s how Pepsi got 1,5 minutes of sheer awe and a good laugh.
It turned out that choosing furniture in AR was a very bright idea. I am applauding the one from Ikea who decided to invest in this augmented reality app development. But why did this AR app go viral?
1. Does a footstool actually fit in the space between a cabinet and a bureau? True-to-scale models solved the problems of hundreds of people who adore perfect interior design ( and who doesn’t?). For those who used this app and shared photos, it was the way to create a positive image of oneself (one of the reasons of virality according to Jonah Berger). Using this app and sharing photos was the way for many people to say: I care a lot about the design of my apartment. I am sophisticated and I pay attention to details.
2. AR marketing is emotion-driven: though the content people see is digital, emotions and feelings are real and very genuine. You can’t confuse fun with anything else. When people recognized that they could have a good laugh by just downloading this app, they couldn’t stop it. As a result, the Internet was flooded with some creative pictures like:
3. Besides, this app went viral because it had direct practical value. According to Jonah Berger, this is one of the key conditions that can make the content go viral. Augmented reality app like Ikea’s solved problems for a customer who were always busy, who had kids, and who just didn’t like driving to faraway shopping malls. This app gave customers more time and more pleasure from shopping.
One of the reasons of the overwhelming popularity of Snapchat as a messenger is augmented reality. The company created a series of AR filters that allow users taking photos with cats’ ears, Santa Claus’s beard, or a crown . Yet, when Snapchat created a Dancing Hot Dog, the world went mad: people started tweeting about it, posting photos on Instagram, and generating hundreds of memes.
And in the world of the Internet memes are the most valuable currency, if you know what I mean.
Even the biggest media reacted to the the AR animation of a Dancing Hot Dog. The Washington Post wrote about it, and SB nation used the meme to photoshop it into iconic sports moments.
Why did this AR go viral?
1. The creators of the dancing Hot Dog chose a character which resonated with most Americans: something really habitual and well-known. Pokemon was one of the most popular cartoons years ago and all those who had smartphones grew up with Pokemon. This law of virality is very simple: want something to catch up, take a universally recognized symbol.
2. Surprise was another reason of virality of a Dancing Hot Dog. It’s the emotion you should add to the list if you want virality. The thing that surprised people was that they could see this Dancing Hot Dog in unexpected places: on their tables, on their heads, and in their cars. You feel bored? Add a dancing hot dog to your boring world.
3. This meme went viral because it stimulated creativity Yes! . Snapchat showed that anyone could be creative using the most trivial things, even a hot dog. And Internet users couldn’t get enough photoshopping and creating new memes with it over and over again.
So AR marketing worked well for Snapchat. It was not augmented reality advertising for sure, it was more like the way to implement in life one of the core values of Snapchat: entertainment for everyone!
L’Oreal launched a Makeup Genius app 3 years ago and the company claims it has 20 mln users all over the world. Did you try it? This augmented reality application transforms a user’s camera into a mirror and allows trying L’Oreal cosmetics in real time.
Why did this app go viral? Well, there are several reasons of this product virality:
1. You won’t believe me, but simplicity is one of the main reasons of virality. That’s not my idea, that’s what Forbes writers say. This AR app was very simple in terms of UI/UX design. For instance, even a kid can use L’Oreal’s app for make up: it is downloaded and launched in just several clicks. If you're using a comfortable and intuitive AR app, it means that developers, QA testers, and UI/UX designers spent lots of time polishing it and making it look perfect. Yet this is the rule of AR marketing: want an effective app- make it work immaculately.
2. This app was a great success because it was connected to social networks, of course. Integration with social networks is a compulsory condition for successful marketing strategy in 2018. The algorithm was simple: women tried L’Oreal eyeliners and lipsticks, saw amazing results, and got an itching desire to share their photos with perfect makeup to impress ex boyfriends. Instagram accounts were flooded with awesome photose and hashtags #makeupgenius. You see, people share content that makes them look good. This is called social currency or the value you have in social circles. Want to perceive everyone that you are smart? Share scientific studies online. Want to make an impression that you’re cool? Post a video of Kendrick Lamar on Facebook feed. This augmented reality application literally made women look better so they didn’t think too much before sharing it.
3. Influencers. It’s another jigsaw puzzle of virality you can’t ignore in the world of modern marketing today.. If influencers like or share some content it automatically means that it’s good. That’s one of the rules of modern marketing. Influencers are the people who have the ability to change the opinions of others. For instance, this L’Oreal’s augmented reality app was so popular that even journalists decided to try it. This is the whole editorial of the teen’s magazine in America. They are influencers which means they make the content go viral.
Augmented reality app for Danone was supposed to attract the attention of kids to healthy food with some creative educational content. But why did it go viral and children start posting videos about it on YouTube?
1. This AR app marketing campaign went viral because the topic was hype. It was cosmos. When everyone speaks about cosmos, and Elon Musk wants to land on Mars, brands should also speak about cosmos, that’s the rule of marketing.The company chose a trendy topic and didn’t miss the target.
2. Yet the campaign was more successful than predicted. Kids started posting photos on instagram with it and creating videos on YouTube about it. Besides, do you know that YouTube is the most popular social network among teenagers and kids? If you want to check if something resonates with the little users, check YouTube. This video with a little girl named Nicole collecting magnets with AR has 1.7 mln views. And the reason of virality was a long- term communication with a brand. It was not just one animated magnet: it was a series of magnets that kids needed to collect and create a whole universe with their help.
3. This video is also very positive. You can be surprised, but positivity is one of the key elements of virality. It shows a daily life of a curious schoolgirl, and it’s difficult to resist the temptation to watch it.
Brands dream about making their content viral, and augmented reality applications can help them with virality. You see, virality is all about emotions, and AR apps provoke awe, surprise, they make people laugh after all. They don’t leave anyone indifferent!
More than that, augmented reality apps have practical value: Ikea’s app helps people to visualize the furniture immaculately in terms of size and design, L’Oreal’s app makes women feel beautiful. Danone’s app stimulates interest to studying. Besides, people share content that makes them look good in the eyes of others to increase their social capital: and everyone in this world wants to look and feel witty, techy, geeky, smart, knowledgeable. Everyone wants to use AR.
So augmented reality app development is an excellent marketing investment for any brand.