Augmented Reality: Marketing to Millennials

Millennials are one of the largest demographic segments of our planet. In the US alone, they account for almost 80 million citizens and they spend an average of $600 billion per year. They are the first truly digital generation and differ greatly from the average consumer.

They respond differently to marketing and mistrust traditional advertising. Companies must, therefore, address this change in values and shopping habits if they want to reach out to these young, digitally native consumers.


Defining Millennials

Let’s take a closer look at this generation. Millennials are those who were born between the 1980s and early 2000s. Their approach to understanding media and advertising messages is very much different to that of their parents’. They rank values like happiness and discovery over family or practicality, which were preferred by Baby Boomers.


Millennials choose experiences over stuff. In fact, 78% of this generation would rather spend their money on a desirable experience than buy  something tangible such as a watch, a car or even a home. They believe that experiences  will make them feel more connected  to the community and to the world.

However, even though they are leading a change in purchase trends, the market has not capitalized on their shopping habits yet. It’s time for brands and marketers to figure out the way to attract this consumer generation.


A Closer Look at their Shopping Habits

How are changing values reflected in their shopping habits? Let’s consider some characteristics:

Mobile-first users

Millennials form the biggest segment of smartphone owners. 84% of them own one and it is their primary means to connect to the internet. 28% of US millennials would rather shop on their phone than on a computer.

Even when shopping at brick-and-mortar stores, they use their phones to compare prices, read reviews and share stuff with their friends.


Friends over brands, user-generated content over corporate content

When making a purchase decision, reviews, comparisons and social validation heavily influence their choice. They will research any product, but will ultimately rely on friends’ opinions and experiences rather than trust an advertisement.

Millennials trust customer content over any other kind. According to a survey, 51% of Americans trust user-generated content  (UGC) more than other type of information when looking up a product, and 84% report that having UGC on a company website does have influence on their purchases.


A recent study revealed that price is one of the most important factors for Millennials, over quality, brand, store and availability. 95% of respondents said that their sensitivity to price is actually increasing year by year.

Why? Because they have more information at their fingertips than any other generation, so they are able to smoothly analyze and compare prices and order from the cheapest vendor.


How can Augmented Reality and Image Recognition help?

Marketing to millennials is all about creating immersive and engaging experiences that can be shared with others and Augmented Reality can increase overall engagement in a significant way.

Unlike traditional advertising, it is not intrusive and invites the user to be part of an experience rather than just passively receive the message.

The number of Augmented Reality users is forecasted to grow by 35% in the next five years and millennials are taking the lead.

Take Pokemon Go as an example; it has received over 100 million downloads and has over 20 million daily active users, and 83% of these players are millenials.


Another related technology, Image Recognition, allow scan-to-shop experiences, and can provide additional content such as videos, tutorials, reviews… Marketers report that video produces conversions better than any other content, and millennials spend 48% more time playing videos than average users.

So, how can brands tap into the potential of these technologies to attract these consumers?


1. Engagement and Interaction

Create a dialogue with customers, in order to build relationships. Make sure there is a two-way communication and they are not just passive recipients. Augmented Reality apps allow users to willingly engage with brands in a more immersive and personal experience by adding an interactive digital layer to reality.

For example, AR+ have developed interactive Augmented Reality maps and postcards in 21 cities so far. The app lets tourists view 3D models of attractions, watch videos, listen to audio guides, buy tickets and other value-adding services.

2. Get Creative

If you want millennials to engage with your brand, you need to be able to grab their attention. These consumers will not be attracted by plain ads; they want to be entertained in new ways.

A good example of creative Augmented Reality advertising was National Geographic ad UPC’s campaign in Hungary. Agency Inde set up an AR installation in a shopping center that let thousands of people interact with dolphins, dinosaurs, leopards, spacemen and other types of content you would find on the National Geographic channel.

3. Shareable Content

Traditional advertising may not be trusted, but friends’ opinions are. Create content that is share-worthy to make your brand popular amongst millennials.

Sephora’s Virtual Artist app, for instance, allows users to virtually try on different products and visualize how they would look on them, and share the results with friends. And for Millennials, friend’s opinions matter, whether it is related to advice on which shade of lipstick to buy or recommending a newly discovered item.

4. Customizable Experiences

Brands and retailers must enable personalized interactions to engage customers offering dynamic, accessible and continuous shopping journeys, whether in-store, online or via a mobile device.

For example, mymuesli offers a personalized multichannel shopping experience that works from stores to outdoor media to product packaging. Customers just need to scan the graphic icons representing the 80 different organic ingredients with their phone to add them to their own custom mix and order it right away.

See our case study about mymuesli.

Image credits: Milesonte Internet, Triple R Marketing, Geospecial World