The Challenges of AR

Hurdles for use by marketers

While marketers continue to experiment with augmented reality (AR), there are obstacles to further investment in the technology, a new survey finds.

A January 2018 survey of 26 US senior marketing executives, currently using first- and/or third-party AR solutions, conducted by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), found marketers face a number of challenges while working with AR.

Aside from being dubbed “too new and experimental” by about one-third of respondents, the inability to reach audiences at scale has proved challenging for some marketing executives surveyed, which has made it difficult to justify spending more on AR efforts.

BCG argued that “some of these are more perceived than actual challenges; for example, scale is not an issue because there is already a substantial audience of AR users.”

There isn’t mass adoption of AR just yet, but it is growing. We forecast that the number of AR users in the US will reach 51.2 million this year, up 36.0% over 2017.

BCG’s survey also found impact and measurement of AR to be a challenge. Some 42% of respondents said there's been hesitation to increase AR because the return on investment (ROI) is unclear. Some 27% said the ROI was clear but too low.

But respondents are seemingly self-aware, acknowledging that some of these challenges are a reflection of AR being a new marketing tool. In fact, those polled admit they don’t currently have proper measurement capabilities in place (27%), and that there are internal shortcomings due to a lack of expertise (31%).

Despite perceived audience and measurement challenges, marketing executives are interested in AR’s potential.

YouAppi data from February 2018 found that 21% of digital marketers worldwide plan to use AR to support the customer journey in 2018, whereas just 13% said the same in 2017.