Augmented reality, or AR, has been hugely successful in the gaming industry since 2016. Since then, various other industries, such as real estate, retail, healthcare, science and education have implemented it in powerful ways. In this blog post we will look at the benefits of augmented reality and how it is used in property marketing.
What is augmented reality?
Augmented reality enhances our experience of the real world by overlaying computer generated content onto it. Whereas Virtual Reality or VR creates an entire virtual world in which we are immersed, AR keeps us in the real world, but superimposes the computer-generated content, seamlessly merging the real and virtual worlds. Read more on our previous blog post here.
How is AR used in property marketing?
By means of an augmented reality app showing on your hand-held device – smartphone or tablet – you can place your project in any real setting and then walk around it and through it. The hand-held device provides the window through which you “step into” the virtual world. While walking through it, you can see the actual landscape outside through the windows of the project. You can inspect every feature, every surface detail, open cabinets, turn on the taps, and so on. Clients can be taken on a virtual walkthrough of any property in your portfolio, and from location, whether it is your boardroom, the client’s home or the building site – and without the need for extra equipment.
Since this digital tour can be shared with your client’s phone or tablet, they can continue to engage with the property, inspecting it from all angles and mulling it over long after your meeting with them is over. Buying a property is a big decision for most people. This app allows potential buyers to familiarise themselves with all the aspects and features of the property in their own time, so that when you re-connect with them over the phone, they can discuss the matter with the much-needed confidence that comes with such familiarity. Also, when discussing possible concerns and answering questions, both you and the client will be viewing the same visuals.
When taking investors or prospective buyers on a tour of a construction site you can now, with the help of AR, add immense impact to your sales pitch by showing the completed building superimposed on the actual site – in all its splendour, right down to the last detail.
Various interior design options can be overlaid so that clients can get a clear idea of which option they would prefer. This powerful tool can accelerate decision making of a more personal, and time-consuming issue.
Augmenting Printed Branding Material
The augmentation of printed marketing material is one of the most powerful uses of AR in property marketing. By incorporating image-based markers into any printed material from brochures to posters and billboards, your printed collateral comes to life in stunning 3D, engaging and enthralling prospective clients anywhere and at any time, without you needing to be there to engage with them. Not only does this save you time, by working for you in your absence, but it also saves you money, by removing the need for expensive physical scale models of the project.
The benefits of augmented reality
One of the biggest challenges for every property marketing agency is how to optimise the marketing power of the visualisation of their client projects. Traditional printed text descriptions and photographs simply cannot compete in today’s world of fast improving marketing technology. VR and AR are transforming the property market, in both built and unbuilt sectors, creating highly effective ways of presenting new and existing properties or developments to your clients in the most appealing, immersive and informative way. (For more on how VR does this, click here.)
- Greatly enhances the client’s perception and understanding of the project.
The technology makes it easy to comprehend complex data through an interactive experience that is intuitive and memorable.
- Saves time.
This is a major benefit. Clients normally visit many properties before making up their minds about which one to buy, and sometimes want to return to some favourite options before making the final decision. This takes up a lot of time and can be highly inconvenient if the client has to travel great distances to get there. Furthermore, arranging a viewing time that is convenient for the realtor, the client, and often, the current owner, can be a very complicated business. With the help of augmented reality, clients can now virtually visit properties at any time of day or night, in the comfort of their own homes, without taking up any of the realtor’s time. They can also analyse and compare different properties in detail and liaise with the agent from a well-informed platform. Property developers can use AR to sell unbuilt architecture off plan, bringing in a significant amount of the finances required for the construction outlay, before a single brick has been laid.
- Saves money.
Compared to traditional real estate marketing, with its three-dimensional models, full-scale models of apartment interiors occupying large showrooms, and lots of printed material, especially of high quality pictures – all of which is very expensive, the cost of augmented reality, which can replace all of the above, is remarkably low. You can save a lot of money with this technology – especially when factoring in the amount of time that it also saves you, as well as the fact that you can now reach many more clients in this freed-up time.
- Builds emotional connections.
Because clients can do an augmented reality tour at any time that is convenient, they can take their time studying details and soaking up the atmosphere or feel of the place. This, together with the fact that such tours are immersive (unlike conventional 2D images), interactive and highly informative, enables the client to make a strong emotional connection with the property.
- Offers global reach.
AR technology allows property marketing agencies to showcase properties to potential buyers from anywhere on in the world.
- Establishing a sense of ownership.
The immersive and richly interactive nature of the AR experience, together with the fact that clients can virtually visit the property at any time and for as long as they want facilitates a strong sense of personal connection to the place and a concomitant sense of ownership.
Augmented reality is already a dominant factor in property marketing, as is the case in many other industries . Those businesses that require visually compelling and informative marketing collateral to support their sales strategy risk falling behind if they don’t embrace these immersive technologies. It is therefore vitally important for you as a marketer to gain a thorough understanding of how you can exploit AR to its full potential if you want your business to thrive. You can read more about how AR is changing the real estate industry at Forbes here.