The 2023 Augmented Reality (AR) Round-Up 

From fashion to finance, sports to hospitality — and even on yogurt packaging — augmented reality (AR) has wormed its way into just about every industry. With a growing market, endless use cases, and an interested audience, it’s time to keep an even closer eye on this tech. 

Here, we’ll dive into some of the ways brands are using augmented reality to connect with their audience, drive engagement, and grow their companies in 2023. Plus, we’ll look at the year ahead and how your brand can use this opportunity to elevate your video marketing strategy. 


The Current State of Augmented Reality  

As augmented reality — and extended reality (ER) in general — grows in popularity, there are now more and more opportunities for marketers and video creators to use these experiences to elevate their brand. By 2026, Statista estimates the ER market size will surpass $100 billion around the world. 

Additionally, headset shipments for various AR brands drastically increased in 2023 and are expected to continue rising. Since consumers are ready to continue investing more in physical AR products (ironic, isn’t it?), it’s fair to assume the industry isn’t going anywhere any time soon. 

How Brands Are Using Augmented Reality Across Industries

One of the best things about this kind of technology is that there aren’t really any boundaries when it comes to industries. Whether you’re in food and beverage, retail, real estate, or something else entirely, there’s some way your business can use AR. 

Let’s take a look at some ways industries have used AR in 2023: 

Education 

To help bring more science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields to students, Snap teamed up with Inspirit, an educational technology company. According to Adweek, “The full Snap and Inspirit collaboration will launch in fall 2024 with 25 STEM modules designed for middle and high school students. Snap said at least 50 schools will be using these AR experiences at launch.” 

With access to more resources in the classroom, students can learn in new and engaging ways, driving a higher interest in STEM fields. This is especially vital for groups of people who are underrepresented in these areas. 

Food and Beverage

While you might not think about food and beverage right away, there are a ton of opportunities for brands to use AR to connect with customers. Like we briefly mentioned, Chobani’s Halloween campaign included an AR activation. With a QR code on the packaging, consumers could trick or treat in AR and try to win prizes. While yogurt doesn’t directly have anything to do with trick-or-treating, this brand still used the holiday as an opportunity to engage with their audience in a way many consumers can appreciate. 

Hidden Valley Ranch also created an AR experience this year to connect with their audience. In a unique partnership with — yep, that’s right — themselves, the brand created an AR Snapchat Lens to promote a limited-time product. This campaign, the Double Ranch crossover, featured two bottles of ranch crossed over one another in an X shape. They even doubled down (sorry, had to) by only releasing 222 of the bottles. 

Retail 

Retail, fashion, and beauty have been some of the leaders in consumer-facing AR technology — and 2023 was no exception. American Express used AR to promote Small Business Saturday by crafting an AR mall that features ten different small brands. (If you’d like to experience this for yourself, you can find more information here.) 

Lego and M&C Saatchi Fabric teamed up to create an international AR snowball fight between the New York and London Lego stores. People can step up to the window, activate the experience, and throw a snowball across the ocean. The points are tracked, of course, to see which location wins the competition. 

Overall, the AR possibilities for brands continue growing. Following Snap Lens Fest, Snapchat and Amazon announced they were partnering to create an e-commerce experience within the social media platform. 

Sports 

With so many different sports, locations, and fans around the globe, the sports industry has unlimited possibilities when it comes to AR, too. 

The Tennessee Titans brought AR to their fans through the Stadium AR platform. According to Adweek, this platform is “designed to bring augmented reality experiences to attendees at large-scale sporting events and concerts.” This experience allows fans to see AR flames, logos, and more on the field. 

But they’re not the only team in the NFL adding AR to their games. The Chicago Bears created an AR experience for fans to enjoy off the field. By scanning a QR code, viewers can watch two current players talk about historic team members — and even pose for a photo with the AR players. 

On the baseball side of things, the Kansas City Royals brought an AR experience to their fans that updates with different graphics as the game progresses. It also features games, a dragon (I mean, I hope this is AR), and the ability to win prizes. 

Whether inside or outside of the stadium, many sports teams and adjacent brands have the opportunity to connect with fans and create another layer to an already incredible experience. 

AR for Video Creators 

Video creative isn’t possible without creators. (Obviously, it’s right there in the name.) As brand opportunities arise, so do new possibilities for creators. 

Following Lens Fest, Snap debuted a new version of its AI creation tool. Lens Studio 5.0, which is now in beta, allows people to collaborate on AR creations and is expected to have substantially faster loading times. According to Adweek, “At Lens Fest, Snap said 330,000 AR creators are building content on its AR platform. Creators have built almost 3.5 million Lenses, which have been viewed by Snapchat users more than 3 trillion times in the past year.” 

Additionally, TikTok created a fund to pay AR creators on the platform. Named the Effect Creator Rewards — after the Effect House tool — this fund is paid out based on the number of videos created with the filter. According to TikTok, they launched this program to  “further celebrate and reward effect creators on TikTok.” 

Looking Ahead: Augmented Reality in 2024 and Beyond 

We’ll be blunt: we’re expecting a lot on the AR front in 2024. With Apple’s Vision Pro launching in 2024, Statista estimates the shipments will drastically increase over the next few years, causing even more interest in the industry — and that’s just an example of one product. 

Truly, we’re just getting started in the extended reality industry. As AR technology advances, more brands and creators can work together to craft interactive and personalized experiences for everyone.

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