Quick Response (QR) codes are so yesterday. Today, image recognition is taking mobile brand-to-consumer interactions to new heights. Using mobile visual search, apps can identify products just by looking at them — technology that has endless potential for reaching customers via their mobile devices. One company that recognized this potential is Blippar, a mobile startup taking the advertising world by storm.
What is Blippar?
Blippar is an augmented-reality mobile app and advertising platform that connects brands with highly targeted consumers. Blippar takes everyday products and transforms them into content-rich, consumer-centric interactive experiences. The app is available on iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone.
How does Blippar work?
Blippar works by turning mobile phones into augmented reality devices. A blipp — defined on Blippar's website as "the action of instantaneously converting anything in the real world into an interactive wow experience" — consists of unique customer interactions with a brand's products or print advertisements. Blipps can include mobile coupons, m-commerce actions, 2D or 3D overlay, location-based services, videos, games and more via object recognition. [6 Mobile Apps Changing Shopping Forever]
The technology behind Blippar is relatively simple. Using "markerless image recognition," the Blippar app recognizes products, images and graphics, and this recognition then triggers a response on a mobile device. For example: a user opens the Blippar app and places the mobile device in front of a Heinz ketchup bottle. The app uses invisible markers assigned to Heinz's ketchup bottle art to identify that it is indeed a Heinz ketchup bottle. The app then triggers a pre-programmed augmented reality on the device: a Heinz recipe book appears on top of the bottle as seen through the device, allowing users to flip through meal ideas with Heinz ketchup as an ingredient, as though the recipe book were on the actual bottle itself.
Other examples include triggering a game from a candy bar; beauty tutorials from Cover Girl; a Middle Earth adventure from "The Hobbit;" interactive, in-action videos from Range Rover; and a photo op with Justin Bieber from his album cover.
Blipps can be created from nearly any type of image, such as print advertisements — magazines, catalogs, brochures, posters and even billboards — product packaging, point-of-sale media, television and more.
Can small businesses use Blippar?
Blippar's clients include large media companies and giants like Coca-Cola, Sony, L'Oreal, Nike, Jaguar and Disney, but small businesses can get in on the fun, too.
Blippar will soon introduce its self-service, self-publishing platform Blippbuilder, a do-it-yourself (DIY) blipp-creation platform. Using Blippbuilder, small businesses can take advantage of Blippar's innovative mobile marketing tools by creating their own augmented reality experiences for consumers.
"Blippbuilder is a super simple drag-and-drop tool that empowers users to create really interesting content," said Lisa Hu, vice president of business development at Blippar. "Upload your images, make it interactive, and basically put [in] whatever you want."
Highlighting Blippbuilder's ease of use, Hu said that if you can use PowerPoint, you can use Blippbuilder. "You can be done in 20 minutes," she said.
Hu stressed, however, that Blippar is more than a marketing tool. It's a strategic platform, she said.
"Using Blippbuilder is not just a matter of creating any ad campaign. It must also be engaging," she said. "We really encourage dynamic content, and users can change up their content any time."
In addition to creation tools, Blippbuilder also equips users with everything they need to manage their Blippar campaigns.
"On the front end, you've got the consumer experience, but the back-end tools let you learn more about their engagement and how to make it bigger and better," Hu said.
Back-end features include a data-metric dashboard to gauge how users are engaging, as well as a heatmap with granular data showing information like how many people are blipping and what they are clicking on, Hu said.
"It's really about engaging behavior and giving content to people who want it, and they can then share or save [that content]," Hu said. "It's a quality experience that works."
Blippbuilder will be commercially available in January. It will be a fee-based service with affordable options for small businesses. Costs will be based on a monthly licensing and marker fee.
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.