Engaging Millennials Through Image Recognition and Augmented Reality

Inés is the Content Marketer for Catchoom Technologies based in Barcelona. Also a hip-hop dancer, aspiring DJ and a vegetarian, she believes technology paired with creativity can bring amazing things.

Millennials are the first truly digitally-native generation on the planet. They are defined as those born between the late 1980s and early 2000s and they are one of the largest demographic segments in the world. However, their way of thinking, how they interact with brands, and their shopping habits are very different from their parents’ generation. Companies must tailor their strategy if they want to reach this consumer group.

Why Image Recognition and Augmented Reality?

A new survey found that 96% of millennials say that cameras are crucial to smartphones, and 68% of them said they would prefer to take a picture of something than have to type text in order to look something up.

Image Recognition and Augmented Reality allow brands and retailers to provide new kinds of mobile experiences, seamlessly interacting with the real world in less than a second. It combines the perception of exclusivity and customization with a multi-dimensional sensory experience, which is perfect for millennials.

1. Understand their Digital Lifestyle

Firstly, we need to understand that millennials are mobile-first users. 84% of them own one, which is more than any other generation. Mobile is their main way to connect to the internet, and they are increasingly using it for shopping. If you want to reach millennials, you must work on a good mobile strategy.

McDonald’s reconquered the millennial audience with their McDonald’s Icon Club mobile campaign. Using LogoGrab’s Image Recognition Technology, customers could download an app and scan the McDonald’s icons spread around the city to unlock sounds, which they used to create tunes. In one month, the app received 200,000 downloads and 50,000 tracks were uploaded to the McDonald’s Icon Club channel, resulting in an overall 50% increase in engagement among millennials on social media.

Download the McDonald's case study here.

The second most important thing to consider when addressing millennials is their shift in values and their preference of experiences over tangible goods. A study revealed that 78% of millennials would rather spend money on an experience than on an object. And these experiences are even better when they can share them on social media, which they trust over traditional advertising. Therefore, creating memorable and engaging experiences that are worth sharing is a must when targeting this group.

Heineken’s Spectre campaign, for example, provided customers with a James Bond experience when purchasing limited-edition Spectre bottles. They could scan the logo via web browser on their mobile device, so it didn’t break the consumer’s journey with the need to download a mobile app. Users would then access exclusive behind-the-scenes content of the upcoming movie. The success of the campaign was not only attributed to the meaningful interactions between brand and customers, but also to the incentive-driven engagement.

Millennials value being recognized by brands and receiving rewards. Thus, offering a one-in-seven chance to win cinema tickets to the James Bond Spectre movie in the US, resulted in a 4x increase in engagement.

Download the Heineken Spectre case study here.

2. Marketing to Millennials

Most Millennials don’t trust traditional advertising. So if you want to catch their attention, you must get creative. Alternatively, you can let users produce the creative content themselves. User generated content (UGC) is highly valued among this group, as they trust their friends over corporate communications. In fact, millennials spend an average of 18 hours a day consuming media, out of which 30% is UGC. This is trusted 40% more than other forms of media, and is found 30% more memorable than traditional communications.

Apps like Tagxy allow users to create their own Augmented Reality content for everyday objects and places for others to discover them. It gives people access to relevant, timely information while enabling social interactions and the power of self-expression.

Download the Tagxy case study here.

Get your audience emotionally involved and make each interaction personalized to create more memorable interactions. It is important to engage customers by offering custom shopping journeys and product experiences, whether in-store or online.

Millennials create emotional connections with the products they buy, which is why items like Prynt are so successful. Prynt is a smartphone case and a printer at the same time. Through the brand’s mobile app, users can bring their photos to life with short videos that only exist inside the printed photo.

Download the Prynt case study here.

3. The Shopping Experience

When it comes to the actual purchase, it is also important to deliver a smooth buying experience that will make these customers return.

Scan-to-shop apps have increasingly become a standard offering among retailers and brands. Millennials will not buy a product if finding information about it is going to take too many clicks. They want instant gratification, and product scanner apps reduce the time of the transaction, and let users compare prices and products to make informed purchases, in the blink of an eye.

Adding Augmented Reality to the shopping experience takes it to a more sensory level which is perfect for millennials. It can enable consumers to virtually try on clothes, shoes, jewelry or make-up.

Sephora’s Visual Artist is an ideal example for this. Using Augmented Reality and facial recognition, it allows users to virtually try on different products, visualize how they would look on them, and share the results with friends. Millennials value their friends’ opinions, which makes this share-worthy too.