As augmented reality (AR) grows into a technological norm, numerous industries and institutions have implemented it to create new user experiences — from in-depth educational courses to advanced video game experiences — and digital marketing is, perhaps, one of the most promising fields in this regard. Google has remained at the forefront of AR-based marketing — namely through its Lens image recognition platform. Originally launched in 2017, Lens strives to create a more accessible world, enabling smart devices to interact with surroundings and connect them to relevant search results and similar information. 

In tandem with a growing emphasis on ad personalization and relevant targeting, Lens embodies a new and exciting way to optimize ads for modern audiences: by seamlessly merging physical and digital experiences to create an all-encompassing look at products and services  — all without the transitional hiccups of the past. In 2020, Lens stands as a significant potential asset for ad optimization. 

Knowing where to focus

As touched on in a previous blog, a staggering 85 percent of retailers admit to overlooking or mismanaging personalization in their marketing endeavors, and in many cases, this mistake is the product of poor foundational knowledge — where to re-innovate, where to re-target, and where to focus a campaign rooted in a brand new engagement tactic. 

Fortunately, those dabbling in Lens-specific marketing have a wide variety of focal points to consider. Currently, the service is interactive with a range of objects and items, including, but not limited to: 

  • Books
  • Landmarks and buildings
  • Home goods
  • Flyers and billboards

This variety of mediums and targets creates a spectrum of opportunity for personalized ads, and while Lens currently does not feature traditional ads in its search results, it has opened up new doors for innovative marketing campaigns. 

Fostering creativity

Google Lens has already paved the way for exciting new marketing methods, working with top franchises to build anticipation for upcoming shows and products. For instance, Google worked alongside the Pokemon Company to create interactive ads for the Japan release of Pokemon Sword and Shield. This particular campaign featured ads that “brought the game’s box art to life,” hinting at in-game characters and catering to the potential of viral social media exposure. Furthermore, Google used a similar approach when collaborating on marketing for Stranger Things: Season 3, teaming with the New York Times to place interactive ads featuring the show’s fictional Starcourt Mall. 

Given the success of both Stranger Things Season 3 and Pokemon Sword and Shield — not to mention the generally positive reception of their respective marketing campaigns — it is safe to assume that Google Lens will remain a major source of both creative marketing and subsequent consumer activity in the foreseeable future; it has spurred a breakthrough branch of creative thought that has potential to, literally, reanimate stagnant campaigns. 

Looking ahead

Today’s consumers are a contradiction of sorts: they are both increasingly dependent on advanced technology, but they also expect and enjoy organic experiences. AR technologies like Google Lens fit naturally with this behavior, and though Lens has already been used in noteworthy ways, it still has a lot of untapped potential in the online-to-offline marketing sector.