Imagine living in a world where you can capture cuddly monsters and have conversations with your friends by pulling out chat boxes out of thin air. A world like this used to seem like a distant future or something from a sci-fi film, but now it’s the thing of the present thanks to modern technology.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is becoming a prevalent part of our lives-from Pokémon Go to IKEA’s AR Catalogue, where shoppers can visualize how certain pieces of furniture could look inside their home. It’s essentially a technology that alters the user’s view of the real world, in which acomputer generated image is superimposed on our reality. While AR is often depicted as viewing an alternative universe by putting on a pair of glasses, it can also be seen on a variety of platforms including our smartphones.

Below are a few popular examples of AR in our mainstream culture, and why marketers should pay attention to this trend.

Pokémon Go

It’s hard to forget the time when Pokémon Go took the world by storm. Summer 2016 saw the drastic rise and fall of this game. Despite its loss in popularity, the mobile game app is a clear indication of the mass appeal for AR.

Pokémon Go enabled players to capture virtual monsters in their neighborhood in real-time by syncing with Google Map to pinpoint the player’s geolocation. Small businesses have also benefited from this craze, as players sought Pokéstops and gyms, which are often located in nearby restaurants, shops, and parks.

Its Growing Popularity in Tech

Large tech companies including Apple, Facebook, and Google are also pushing to adopt more AR platforms. For instance, Apple recently launched ARKit, an open-source platform that lets developers build AR applications for iPhones and iPads.

Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, even confirmed at the company’s annual developer conference, F8, that it will bring augmented reality mainstream by opening up a developer platform, where people can build AR features for the cameras that live inside Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Whatsapp.

AR in Today’s Marketing

Advancement in technology is challenging marketers to be more creative. Billboards and subway ads are no longer sufficient when it comes to capturing their consumers’ interests. Nowadays, people want to engage with brands more directly. It has to feel personal and real. This is where augmented reality comes in.

For instance, retailers are using augmented reality to bring an image, product label, or even shop window to life. Customers in a hurry can try on clothes in a virtual dressing room or apply a variety of makeup using an image of their face.

And now that AR is accessible from our smartphones, it’s easier and more cost-effective than ever for marketers to take advantage of this trend. Some examples include Ink Hunter, an app that helps people decide on a tattoo and where to put it, or Layar, where users can quickly scan and pull data from a variety of commonplace content using their smartphone or tablet.

Businesses can give exclusive offers and provide exceptional services through an augmented reality platform. These platforms are effective tools for acquiring attention and driving sales, and has the potential to do wonders for any social media agency that is looking to promote a brand.

It’s Time to Jump on the Bandwagon

As AR is becoming more mainstream, there’s no escape from it. Now is the time for marketers to take things to the next level by giving customers an augmented reality experience. Whether it be as simple as creating a branded Facebook picture frame, or showcasing a new condo via AR glasses, augmented reality has opened a whole world of possibilities for marketers to engage with their audiences.