What is Inline AR and How to Use It
March 30, 2021
Inline AR is the next big step in Augmented Reality integration. It will greatly impact the e-commerce and retail realm, as well as have many use cases in other sectors. The new style of integration allows for a more seamless user experience that benefits both the user and the provider.
In this article, we'll explain what Inline AR is, why it's such a big deal, and how to use it to your brand's advantage.
What is Inline AR?
Inline Augmented Reality, or Inline AR, is an AR experience that is integrated within an existing webpage or within other content. The experience is "in line" with the content, opposed to existing on its own web page, as has been the standard with Web AR.
The content is contained in what's called a Web AR iFrame, which is essentially a content box that holds the experience. Brands can embed this Web AR iFrame anywhere in their content. Since the experience is embedded, Inline AR is also known as Embedded AR.
Inline AR vs. Web AR
Web AR is Web-based Augmented Reality that foregoes the need for an app. Web AR instead presents an online AR experience through a web page. This web page, or microsite, works much like a landing page. Web AR users click a link or scan a QR code and are redirected to a microsite to enjoy the AR experience.
Inline AR is still web-based; however, it does not require redirection. The online AR experience can be enjoyed without leaving the parent site. So, you can think of it as Inline (Web) AR.
Why is Inline AR Such a Big Deal?
Inline AR streamlines users' ability to enjoy their AR experience since they do not have to navigate away from the web page they are already on. It essentially polishes the user experience to an optimal shine. Furthermore, it elevates otherwise 2-dimensional websites to contain alluring 3D elements.
As Tom Emrich of 8th Wall says in an interview with VR/AR Association, "I really do feel like Inline AR is a critical milestone in the evolution of the web as we move from 2D to 3D. I'm really excited to see what the developers do with this feature."
Improving the user experience and expanding from 2D to 3D is a win-win for any brand since it improves customer satisfaction and improves their bottom line. By keeping customers on-page, Inline AR:
- Increases dwell time
- Increases engagement
- Boosts discoverability of AR content
- Contextualizes surrounding content
- Streamlines user onboarding
- Inserts 'wow factor' on your site
So, it's more like a win-winx6. Inline AR takes an already immersive experience and uses it to directly immerse your customer into your website, product page, article, and more.
How to Use Inline AR
The two most obvious applications of Inline AR are e-commerce and retail. However, the use cases certainly won't end there as developers discover new ways to capitalize on the technology. From interactive blogs to immersive virtual learning, Inline AR will find its way across digital platforms.
Let's take a look at where you will likely see Inline AR the most.
The e-commerce sector has always been one of the first to embrace Augmented Reality developments. After all, they are always looking for ways to connect with their customers to compensate for the lack of "tangibility" in their digital world. Augmented Reality allows their customers to interact with their brand and its products without having to step into a brick-and-mortar location.
By now, most people are familiar with how some big brands use Augmented Reality. Ikea Place, for instance, allows shoppers to virtually "place" furniture in their homes to help their buying decisions. Sephora lets shoppers "try on" makeup from the comfort of their home.
It's easy to see how "place" and "try-on" Augmented Reality can boost sales and improve buyer confidence. It's already a widely-employed and very successful use of Augmented Reality—and that's even before Inline AR.
Inline AR greatly improves that same AR experience that online shoppers crave. According to a study conducted by Interactions Consumer Experience Marketing, 71% of shoppers would shop at a retailer more often if they offered Augmented Reality. The people surveyed also said they would willingly pay 40% more for a product if they could experience it through Augmented Reality.
Clearly, there is a demand to integrate Augmented Reality into e-commerce, and now web stores can do it more seamlessly than ever with Inline AR.
We have already discussed the benefits to e-commerce and online retail, but Inline AR benefits brick-and-mortar retail as well. Augmented Reality is very versatile, where it can drive traffic to a website or to a physical location.
Stores can integrate AR into their printed advertisements, such as in-store posters or product tags. So, for instance, in-store customers can scan the AR QR code and be led to the store's website that highlights special offers, new products, and more in a fun, interactive way. It works almost like a virtual sales assistant at their fingertips.
In addition to engaging existing in-person customers, Augmented Reality can encourage customers to visit the store. For instance, a store can use Inline AR on their website to promote an in-store event that offers a special product launch or limited-time discount. The "wow factor" of the Augmented Reality captures their attention and gives them a glimpse of what they'll gain if they attend the in-store event. Imagine, for example, an art gallery promoting a gala gives clients a sneak peek by allowing them to "hang" some of the art in their homes using Inline AR. The possible uses of Inline AR are only limited by your imagination!
Blogs & Heavy-Content Websites
Professional bloggers' success relies heavily on dwell time and engagement. Their goal is to keep readers on-page as long as possible and direct them to their products and services. Inline AR helps them to do both.
Web AR in itself wasn't very appealing to bloggers because it would navigate them off-page to another website. While it could help direct them to their products or services, it did it in a roundabout way. With Inline AR, bloggers can integrate AR experience into their written content. Not only does it help them break up a wall of text, but it also provides an engaging experience for their readers.
Best of all, bloggers can use the same AR experience across as many related articles as they write!
Other heavy-content websites, like educational or informational websites, can benefit from Inline AR in much of the same ways as blogs. They can demonstrate what they're teaching beyond an explainer video and allow the user to interact with the lesson.
As an example, consider how online and virtual learning is on the rise. In a physical classroom, a teacher can provide the tools and ingredients to demonstrate a volcanic reaction with their students. However, parents of in-home learners may not have access to the items or appreciate a messy demonstration in their home. Instead, virtual schools can provide a virtual volcanic eruption demonstration using Inline AR within their lesson.
What kid wouldn't love seeing a volcano erupt in their living room?!
How to Use Inline AR for Your Brand
Inline AR experiences will likely have an even longer lifespan than standard Web AR because it lives within your website and content. So, while you can (and should) use Inline AR for temporary promotions, you can also use it for long-term engagement.
What's Your End Goal?
To begin, you should first consider where you want to end. What is the goal of the Augmented Reality experience? What is the Call to Action you want customers to take?
Do you want to promote your newest product? If so, then a more temporary and perhaps smaller scale AR experience can lead to a strong CTA to purchase the product. Then you can repeat the process as often as you have new featured products.
Or, do you want to promote your "evergreen" best-selling product? In that case, you may want to invest more into an AR experience that will live on your site more long-term.
If you begin at the end, you can work backward to create the perfect experience that will drive your customer forward to your goal.
Choose the Type of Augmented Reality Experience
If your business is ecommerce or retail, then "try on" and "try out" Augmented Reality are always great options, but they're not your only options.
Both online sellers and physical businesses can consider other Common Types of Augmented Reality Content:
- 2D Video
- 3D Model
- 3D Animation
- Branded AR Filters
- 4K Video Streaming
- 360-degree Video
- 3D Holographic
Don't let the options overwhelm you; let them inspire you! And you can always ask the professionals for guidance.
Consult an Augmented Reality Solution Provider
Augmented Reality marketing is still new territory for many, so it's always a good idea to contact an Augmented Reality Solution Provider. An experienced team can advise you on what type of content would be most effective for your brand, as well as help brainstorm ideas for your AR experience.
At Aircards, we develop effective Augmented Reality experiences for businesses big and small, from individual entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies. We can help you integrate Inline AR to take your website and your brand to the next level.
If you'd like to learn more or rely on our expertise, contact Aircards for a free consultation.