Creating great experiences that translate into sales – let’s see what the digital marketing future holds and how to prepare for it today!
The lines are blurring between the physical and digital worlds – and augmented reality is the bridge between the two. Augmented reality (AR) isn’t new – it has popped up in the worlds of entertainment (Pokemon Go, Ingress, Temple Treasure Hunt and more adventure games), education (AR documentaries that put you in the middle of the story), business and many more applications. Already ingrained for years within compass apps, virtual rulers, and a host of other business and leisure tools, AR provides exciting opportunities for marketers.
Let’s look at the intersection of AR and search engine optimization and see how marketers can profit from this technology.
The idea is to create an experience that is a mix of physical reality – the reality that humans perceive –and digital elements that can overlay and appear to exist in our physical realm.
While AR has been a tool used by all of the aforementioned entities for over 25 years, the potential uses of it today give marketers a wide open avenue to innovation. So how will marketers use AR in the near future and where is the intersection of it and SEO?
*One thing we know for sure: Google wants to ensure the best user experience – it continually states that this is a major objective – and AR could be the next step in this evolution. We may already be on the right track – focusing on local SEO and mobile local in our digital campaigns. This helps us rank and drive traffic to our sites today, and prepare for the applications of localized AR as they continue to develop.
Where Do We Need to Rank & Where Do We Need to Convert?
First, we want to know where we need to rank. Statistics and studies show that people like to research using their phones, but they often prefer to make actual online purchases using PCs and laptops. This is for a variety of reasons. The simple fact of the relatively recent proliferation of mobile devices, makes mobile browsing more commonplace than it was just a few years ago. Plus, people often feel more secure ordering from a traditional computer (and it can be easier to view products on a larger screen). So, as marketers, we need to ensure we rank on mobile searches to capture people researching products with intent to buy. The actual purchases come more often, from PC and laptop computers, as corroborated by Statista.com.
Here’s a point to remember: While some people will get info about a local business on their phone and immediately order or go to the location (think restaurants or car care centers), others may use their laptops to later order a bouquet of flowers, or other items, after they have done some research on mobile. Regardless, it is key to rank on mobile to capture both types of conversions.
The increasing need to rank on mobile, to present a great user experience on mobile, is the hook. Easy ordering and a great user experience on the desktop, is vital for increasing conversions.
How Does AR Help Us Rank On Mobile & Drive Those Desktop Conversions?
Google has already gotten into the act this year – they’ve worked AR into a test with their animated fox that helps people navigate using Google Maps on their phones. The new AR and Maps combo mixes large arrows and the animated character to make it easier to find streets as you walk. Along the way you’ll see businesses and other landmarks – and oila, their Google Maps listings pop up as you walk by – giving you a 3D snapshot of that info, plus ratings stars.
Wait a minute…you know Google will be looking for the monetization goal here…which is fine – as marketers, all we want is a way to get on this train, so we can engage users and deliver a great experience; just what Google wants us to do! (Hey, we want this, too – because it gives us the best chance to increase conversions).
Point and Get the Answer – Google Lens
With Google Lens, instead of typing or speaking a search phrase into your phone, you point your phone at something, like an apple, and Google Assistant will tell you what it is. It provides related suggestions, too. So in the case of the apple (and nearly everything else that Lens sees), it offers suggestions on how to use it, or where to buy it.
Bingo. And of course local marketers want their business’s info to come up for these visual searches. So, we might surmise that use of Google My Business (GMB) info is one way that AR and SEO will come together.
And Google is actually on the heels of Pinterest with this technology, as Pinterest Lens debuted in 2017. Now this tool is at the heart of over 600 million visual searches per month! As Pinterest Lens evolves, it is providing mixed query capabilities that will allow users to combine text and visual search.
Marketing takeaway: Expand beyond the Google ecosystem and get your business on Pinterest. Add your business’s photos to the Pinterest universe, making them available to all of those users querying in the millions every month!
Convergence of Multiple Search & Experience Elements
With so many AR applications already in existence and Google, Pinterest, Yelp, and others increasingly making AR a part of daily life, it’s only a matter of time before AR becomes standard in digital marketing. The key benefit that AR provides in this age of fragmented attention spans is a new way to increase engagement. Point your phone at a restaurant and get lots of menu and review details before ever setting foot in the building. Aim your device at an SUV and see how much cargo space it has. Or position your tablet in front of a house for sale you see while out walking, and not only get the price and a short description; see a 3D layout of the rooms in a truly virtual experience. These and more AR capabilities already exist, or are on the threshold of coming into being.
In fact, as searchers’ habits change along with marketers’ capabilities, you hear people increasingly say today: ‘I’ll ask about that’ (referring to the rise of voice search), in addition to ‘I Googled that.’
And here’s the takeaway:
Voice, 3D, AR and VR are on a course to converge with, and potentially replace, our current focus on one dimensional query engines.
In other words, there’s a whole new world of digital marketing waiting to be capitalized on.
Profit Now & In the Future With Your Local SEO Partners
With many of the AR experiences discussed here, local SEO will play a part – connecting the dots between an individual’s and a business’s geo locations. And there’s no better time than now to ramp up your local SEO campaigns. Engine-ius Marketing already has its feet firmly planted in the future of SEO as it continues to drive traffic to its clients’ websites today. Let us lead you to more traffic now, and offer a hand up to the new playing field that will be dominated by AR and other emerging technologies!
Give us a call or email today (800-781-3074 firstname.lastname@example.org)!