In marketing for kids, we are in the game of memory-making. It is becoming a harder task, as each generation adapts to the technology and is exposed to more and more content and experiences.
Now we are fighting for memory and a thin slice of their time, in between school, homework, after school activities, Fortnite, Roblox and TikTok etc. So we are always looking to create great storytelling using different formats, across multiple platforms.
One of the platforms which has been around for a few years but has become more accessible for children is Augmented Reality (AR). Apps like Instagram, Snapchat, Pokemon Go and Star Chart have used AR to make their product sticky and deliver content in an exciting way. However AR is not new and has been around for a few years. I was lucky enough to work on multiple AR marketing assets for Disney movies, but back then you would have to use your webcam and your own printed markers.
But AR content has become easier to access, as compatible smartphones have gained ground because of platforms like ARkit and ARCore. In fact, the greatest AR compatibility in today’s smartphone landscape happens outside of the above platforms with Snapchat, Facebook and WebAR. According to ARtillery Intelligence’s Mobile AR forecast. Snap Inc. said more than 170 million people use its augmented-reality tools daily, a sign that the technology is going mainstream.
Today more and more children have access to their own devices, which will only increase by another fold after Christmas 2020. According to the CHILDWISE Monitor Report, which surveyed 2,167 5-16 year-olds, 47 percent of 5-10-year olds now have a mobile, up 38 percent from last year.
The boom in AR popularity over the past couple of years has now fully reached children. However, there’s always been a UX issue: users first needed to download an app from the app store (if you are a child you would need grown-up permission) in order to enjoy the content. With WebAR (web-based augmented reality), that is no longer the case; AR content can now be accessed directly from your web browser, with just a scan of a QR code.
Google is leading the way and integrating AR into its search engine – try googling “how big is a lion?”, and after one tap you can see a life-size lion in your room. Recently they have added a whole host of animals which was a huge hit during the lockdown.
WebAR makes it very easy for brands to share AR experiences straight from the mobile browser – no app required. This means AR content becomes immediately accessible without any need for heavy app downloads, in turn helping AR campaigns and experiences to be more relevant and useful. This also helps reduce the production and maintenance cost of developing a disposable campaign-specific app. All done from a website that serves desktop and mobile.
Challenges to implementing WebAR
When comparing WebAR to the traditional native app AR technology, there are a few limitations you’ll want to keep in mind. When using WebAR, you are restricted by internet speed and device performance. That means higher-res and high-poly 3D models, complex animations, and large assets with high details can lead to slower performance and bad user experience.
Follow the best practices around compression and low-poly graphics when developing a WebAR experience; this will help with getting the best performance from devices and less strain on the data required.
Amazing Planet WWF – Kidscreen 2020 'Best Learning App' Nominee
At Kids Industries we have been playing around with AR for a few years now. We have investigated, prototyped and delivered AR for our clients, from integrating AR to physical products for Yowie collectables, to helping children get excited and caring about our planet earth for WWF. Going into 2021 we are excited by the opportunities that AR can help deliver for our clients, but more importantly helping to create fun memories for children.