How Can App Developers Leverage AR to Increase Downloads and User Retention

Marketers are constantly revising their strategies to not only coincide with user trends, but emerging technological trends as well. Staying ahead of the curve with advancements in technology, and using those changes to your advantage, becomes increasingly more important year after year. Many strategies that worked even a few years ago are now outdated and even considered irrelevant.

This is truly a customer-first marketing era where providing real value for a customer is more important than anything else.

Because of that, these new technologies that are emerging will change the way we experience and market apps. One trend that has gradually become more popular over the past few years, and will only continue to grow, is Augmented Reality.

What Is Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality (AR) is the use of technology to superimpose images or video on a user’s view of the real world. In other words, it makes something become visible to a user in the real world that isn’t actually there. This can be done through specialized glasses, or more commonly, a smartphone screen.

One of the most widespread examples of this was the Pokémon Go app that swept the world in 2016. It used Augmented Reality to superimpose Pokémon into the real world. Mobile gamers were instantly hooked on this idea as it encouraged them to see which Pokémon they could catch everywhere they went.

Because of this, Pokémon Go maintained a three-day user retention rate of more than 60%.

How VR Can Help Your App Grow
Nowadays, many customers turn to their mobile devices to find information on products while they’re shopping in-store, usually relying on Google or Amazon. In turn, this drives potential customers away from purchasing in store. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. Retail companies have started noticing the perks to this trend and use it to their advantage.

The SIMulator app by Simmons Bedding allows users to find more information on their bedding products, any advantages they have and even displays interactive animations. On the other hand, the IKEA Catalog can actually show customers what any item in their catalog will look like in their home before they buy it, and lets them purchase it for delivery on the spot.

VR isn’t limited to just shopping apps. Lifestyle apps have also begun showcase the real powers of AR. Yelp Monocle acts as a city guide, displaying information for nearby businesses and restaurants in real time. AMC Theatres uses AR to display trailers based on movie posters. The app, ROAR, allows users to hover over food and drinks, instantly learning their price, where to get it, ingredients and more.

While all of this information is readily available on Google, having it built into an app keeps users engaged and makes them less likely to turn to a competitor for a more complete experience.

Here are a few other ways VR can help build user loyalty:

  • Identify clothing and display more information, if it’s available in store and where in-store it is located.
  • Displaying nutrition facts, discounts or other information when an item is scanned over
  • Creating scavenger hunts or other fun games to complete for rewards such as discounts or free items.
  • An amusement park using their app as a guide, information on rides and food or locating your favorite characters.

Augmented Reality can be incorporated into almost any app and offer both incentives for users to download the app and keep using it. It helps retain customers in your ecosystem, rather than going to a competitor. When combined with traditional marketing, such as an App Store Optimization strategy or paid search, it can help you stand out from other apps, grow your downloads and build a loyal customer base.

Written by Dave Bell
Dave Bell is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gummicube. In this role, Dave is responsible for overseeing the business strategy for the company, driving growth and market development. Dave is a pioneer of the mobile entertainment industry with more than 15 years of experience publishing, marketing and distributing mobile applications and games across carrier, direct to consumer and app store channels.

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