Let’s go ahead and call 2012 the year that augmented reality took over Facebook marketing. “Aug-what?” you ask. Augmented reality, according to Wikipedia, is the “live, direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.” In case you don’t speak Wiki, we’ll translate for you: Augmented reality features computer generated elements mixed with real life media like photos and videos to create a hyperrealistic and fun experience.
Remember Orville Redenbacher, that kindly old gentlemen in the bow tie and glasses who used to sell popcorn on TV? Well, even though Orville’s been gone for quite some time, his popcorn lives on and is a leader in augmented reality and Facebook integration. The ConAgra-owned company invites users to play with their food on Facebook. The Pop Cam encourages fans to enable their webcams and try to catch virtual pieces of flying popcorn. The Pop Cam keeps track of the pieces users “catch” in their mouths and awards points. Naturally, as you play the game, messages for moms about the health benefits of popcorn routinely show up on the screen But the star here is the cool factor of augmented reality, a factor brands like Volkswagen have also tapped into.
Offering users a one-of-a-kind Facebook experience is now the goal of brands looking to take social media marketing to another level, and augmented reality does just that. Admittedly, augmented reality isn’t something for every brand as it’s still expensive to develop and produce. Even the folks at ConAgra say they toyed with the technology “for years.” But as with all social media innovations, the big brands seem to introduce and perfect them and the little guys take ’em and run. So we bet that it’ll only be a matter of time until small brands figure out how to rock augmented reality Facebook pages.