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63% of Advertising Creatives Struggle with AR Technology Adoption, Unity Survey Finds

While creatives are still unsure about AR technology adoption, there is an increase in consumer demand, according to the same survey.


AR technology is more and more in demand by consumers and marketing and advertising clients. However, a significant proportion of creatives have trouble implementing it in their campaigns. This is one of the significant findings of a Unity Technologies survey among UK and US ad creatives. The company released its findings during the second day of the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival and followed them up with a solution to this issue.

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The Two Main Barriers to AR Technology Implementation: Tech and Cost

To make the results relevant for the state of adoption of AR technology in marketing and advertising, Unity included almost 1,000 participants in its survey. All of them are creatives from the US and UK, working for advertising agencies. Some of the participants have not used AR at all, while others have already implemented it at least once.

For those who have not used AR in their ads yet, the obstacles to adoption are:

  • lack of technical skills (24.1%);
  • cost concerns (31%);
  • perceived consumer fear to try new things (26%);
  • not being sure how AR can fit in their campaigns (20%).

Also, they are worried that consumers themselves may lack the knowledge to interact with AR ad campaigns (34% of respondents).

As for the participants who have already used AR technology in their work, they expressed the same key concerns: financial (around 39%) and technical (around 25%).

A Disparity Between Industry and Consumer Expectations

However, the Unity survey brought to light the fact that consumers are actually eager to interact with AR ads. Despite their fears that users may not be ready for AR technology, 62% of the participants saw an increase in client demand for this type of ads.

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Also, they are quite optimistic about the potential use cases of AR in their work. Thus:

  • 78% of respondents had a positive opinion about using AR in advertising;
  • 56% of them are likely or very likely to create an AR campaign in the next year;
  • 54% are satisfied with the results of their AR campaigns.

The Vice President of Advertiser Solutions at Unity Technologies, Julie Shumaker, explained the results of this survey:

“This survey reveals one very important thing: there is a disconnect between the growing demand for AR solutions and the pace at which advertisers, marketers, and creatives are becoming comfortable with the technology. We need to improve AR familiarity among creatives — both in terms of technical competency and highlighting the cost-effective solutions that are available today.”

New Tools to Smooth the Path to AR Technology Adoption in Advertising

For Unity – a company that enables the creation of over 60% AR/VR content on the market – this survey was a part of a strategic launch campaign. During Cannes Lions Advertising Festival, the company announced two new tools: Unity as a Library and Responsive AR Ads.

Unity as a Library is a new feature added to the development framework AR Foundation, launched a few months ago. It allows native Android, iOS or Windows app developers to add AR functionality to their existing apps. Thus, they do not have to rebuild them from scratch to incorporate AR technology. Instead, they use the AR functionality from Unity and add it as a library to their app.

Responsive AR Ads are Unity’s answer to the key issues raised by the respondents in their survey. As Tony Parisi, Head of AR/VR Ad Innovation at Unity, explained:

“Responsive AR Ads are a friendlier, less intimidating approach to implementing AR into campaigns that is tailored to increase opt-in rates for advertisers while improving user comfort by putting control in their hands.” 

He acknowledges that there are still many barriers to overcome, such as technical skills, high costs and fear of the unknown. But AR technology is “arguably the most powerful storytelling medium ever”.

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