The augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) markets continue to grow rapidly, with market growth for both combined anticipating to rise from $11.4 billion in 2017 to $215 billion in 2021.

AR and VR are clearly on the rise, consequentially making it realistic that they will substantially impact other markets. Digital marketing is one area where the impact appears imminent. Savvy digital marketers are beginning to incorporate AR and VR in creative ways.

Notable businesses like MAC Cosmetics, Verizon, NBCUniversal and Facebook are already embracing AR and VR in their digital marketing campaigns.

MAC Cosmetics

The beauty industry has embraced AR technology by allowing customers to try on new makeup without putting it on. The result is less wasted product for the seller, while letting the consumer go all-out in trying specific brands.

For example, MAC Cosmetics installed an in-store AR mirror for customers, where those looking into the mirror could customize their appearance with sample makeup.

ModiFace -- a company that specializes in AR for the cosmetics sector -- designed the mirror, which is capable of overlaying virtual eye makeup styles onto a live video feed of the consumer. The mirror uses sophisticated facial tracking technology to emulate real-life application, and anticipates worldwide release in early 2018.

In-store purchasing is still very important in the beauty industry, compared to other industries' firmer online sales presence.

Consumers find it understandably difficult to purchase makeup online, for example, without knowing how it looks against their skin tone. MAC Cosmetics' AR-aided mirror will encourage customers to shop in-store, which is more affordable for business in general.

Verizon and NBCUniversal

Those who watched this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade saw AR in action. With a traveling camera on the lead float, Verizon and NBCUniversal let viewers see the parade from a bird's eye view.

Additionally, AR integration saw Easter eggs appear in the live stream. The Easter eggs' interactive appeal was evident, with live-streaming viewers able to click on them to access fun facts and Black Friday offers from Verizon.

Seeing AR so prominently placed at one of the most popular televised events of the year is indicative of its rise. The implementation of the parade's live stream is an example of innovative ways to drive engagement. Whereas consumers are largely familiar with conventional advertising in the vein of commercials and banner ads, interactive click-friendly AR features are a new draw.


It's no surprise social media giant Facebook has an interest in AR and VR as well. Specifically, Facebook is testing VR content in their news feed with a scavenger hunt game centered on the upcoming release of Sony's Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Owners of the Oculus VR device can view the game in comprehensive virtual reality.

For those who do not own Oculus, they can still experience the game in 360-degree video form. Since Facebook acquired Oculus for $2 billion in 2014, this campaign also shines a light on the technology in general.

The game allows users to explore throughout the movie's jungle setting, as they collect virtual tokens and preview film scenes. Whenever users find an item, they see a video clip from the movie that's relevant to that item.

It's a clever and effective marketing technique for an upcoming film. With past movie promotion so contingent on conventional trailers and marketing, providing users with an interactive experience is a great way to engage and attract attention.
These businesses showcase AR and VR in action within the digital marketing landscape.

Consumers are growing overly familiar with traditional advertising methods, like movie trailers and conventional advertorials, so the jump into AR and VR is a wise one for an increase in engagement.