8 ways AR platforms like Google Lens can work in an advertising capacity

Google’s augmented reality platform, Google Lens, is expanding outside of the Google Assistant app to being accessible directly from the camera on some Android devices, as well as in Google Photos and Google Maps. With it only being a matter of time before Apple rolls out ARkit functionalities directly within its cameras too, users are about to have even more avenues for accessing this tech than ever before.

Google Lens enables your smartphone to visually scan your environment and pull up information about items in the real world, anything from buildings, people’s faces and household objects, as well as text from street signs, screens, restaurant menus and books etc. It basically lets you search for info about items in the real world as you’d search for keywords on the web, and call up actionable prompts like purchase links for products and Wikipedia descriptions of famous landmarks etc. The goal is to give users context about their environments and any and all objects within those environments.

Here are 8 ways that this type of technology could work in an advertising capacity:

  1. Scanning billboards or OOH ads, Shazam-style, to find out more information on a brand or apply for an offer. Like with QR codes in magazines etc. but less lame, on a larger scale, and without the need to download / access it through a standalone app.
  2. Scan the outside of a retail location or restaurant to find out its opening hours or offers.
  3. Scan a product in a supermarket to find product info or price comparisons.
  4. Placing AR elements in a real world environment, like BMW’s Snapchat AR lens for the X2.
  5. Integrating street ads with AR location information on how to get to the store.
  6. Scan an ad or product to access a promotion that can be redeemed online or in-store.
  7. Scanning a product to view customer reviews.
  8. Turn empty retail locations into augmented reality storefronts like Net-A-Porter.