As features that provide consumers with more control over their data and restrict advertising continue to roll out, it’s more important than ever for brands to provide a personalized and interactive experience that feels authentic and is useful.

Looking ahead to 2020, here’s a trend that your brand should consider as part of next year’s strategy.

Augmented Reality

You may be most familiar with Augmented Reality (AR) through Snapchat filters and Instagram Stories.  However, AR is more than just filters; it is interactive content. A popular example of AR outside of filters is Pokemon Go, an app that encourages outdoor exploration in order to find characters and proceed through the game. Another well-known example is the Sephora app, launched in 2017, that allows users to try on makeup via AR. The AR trend continues to surge in popularity, especially when it pertains to mobile advertising, and better connecting online and offline experiences for retail.

Business Insider reports that the number of mobile AR users is expected to have grown 100% year-over-year last year to pass 1 billion. This number is expected to continue to grow, just look at the trends:

  • According to Facebook, 63% of Internet users surveyed say they’ve tried a branded AR experience.
  • AR ads are expected to generate over $13 billion in revenue by 2022 and account for over 12% of mobile ad revenue by that year (Business Insider).
  • By 2020, AR is expected to reach more than 120M monthly users in the US alone (Facebook IQ).
  • eMarketer estimated that this year 68.7 million US customers will use AR at least once per month (list).

In September of this year, Facebook rolled out an expansion of three interactive ad units, including AR ads. This included moving an AR ad test into open beta. While this is not a new idea, the big change here is making these more accessible to more advertisers. Mark D’Arcy, Facebook’s chief creative officer and vice president of global business marketing said in the past, these types of units have generally been “heavy” experiences, requiring things like a separate microsite. By bringing them front-and-center on Facebook, the company is making them “super lightweight, fun and super scalable” (TechCrunch).

Your Opportunity

By leveraging these interactive formats, you have an opportunity to build a deeper relationship with your customer. This opportunity can include driving brand awareness and engagement by creating meaningful experiences. These experiences can also potentially lead to a purchase if you’re providing your customers with the tools to help with their purchase decision. For example, if a consumer is able to visualize what a potential new couch would look like in their space with their existing furniture, this can lower the barrier to buy.

The momentum behind Facebook users continuing to prioritize relationships and authenticity is going to continue. As marketers, our job is to find a way to break through that clutter in order to engage and build a purposeful connection that aligns to our consumers’ needs and journey. Taking advantage of these types of interactive experiences allows us to stand out and provide the tools that respond to consumer questions.

Start thinking about what opportunities your brand may have to leverage these units while they’re still emerging.