Augmented reality is an effect that combines digital graphical content with the real-world physical environment in real time, when viewed through any camera-enabled, network-capable device such as a smartphone, tablet or PC.
Pixelbug has already won business in the region with P&G, Novartis and Samsonite.
“75% of mobile phone users in the Middle East own smartphones and 67% of those access the net through their devices”, said founder and managing partner Dany El Eid. “What we aim to do is allow people to engage and explore products and brands in ways that were never before possible using augmented reality technologies.”
Managing partner Elie-Charles Youssef said, “Digital marketing campaigns with augmented reality features deliver, on average, 55,000 unique users per month with an average dwell time of 7 minutes and 45 seconds.
“What’s important to note here, versus other marketing initiatives, is that the technology is not forced onto the consumer. It is a decision by the consumer to engage out of an interest and willingness to explore a product in a fun and innovative way, in their own time”.
Smartphone penetration in the UAE sits at over 62%, the highest in the world according to a Google report, conducted by Ipsos MediaCT, released in May of this year. Saudi Arabia has the second highest ownership at 60% while the US is at 44%.
While augmented reality business solutions are not yet main-stream, several leading brands have adopted the concept hoping to associate their brand with the innovative technology.
“As one of the region’s leading brands, Ariel is always exploring new ways to showcase its innovative technology and communicate with our customers in an engaging way”, said Omair Siddiqui, brand operations manager at P&G, Dubai.
“We work closely with pixelbug, as our marketing technology partners, and together have successfully launched interactive on-ground activations that immersed our customers in Ariel’s cleaning process. We were able to fuse virtual elements with the customer’s real-life physical interactions with the Ariel box, creating a totally new experience”.
Dany believes augmented reality (AR) technology unlocks boundless opportunities. “The best thing about AR is that it transcends all industries. We’ve worked with government, automotive, education, healthcare and FMCG brands. We currently have interesting projects in the pipeline with major airline, banking, tourism and hotel brands”.
A key difference of AR applications is the data analytics, which provide crucial information on the number of active users, gender, ethnicity and most importantly in-app dwell time – data that can be used to measure ROI. Leveraging AR with a print advertisement campaign, for example, can yield powerful results and provide accurate user demographics for print publications that were never before possible.
Elie added, “We always strive to deliver experiences that serve a purpose or solve an actual business issue, be it driving footfall, increasing awareness or maximising sales. The ‘wow’ factor alone just isn’t sustainable in the long term”.