In this digital age, brands have increasingly focused on enhancing how they interact with customers to create unique and meaningful user experiences. It’s no wonder that the prospect of changing how consumers see reality and even placing them in a 3D world holds such appeal in marketing. Companies like Facebook, IKEA, and Burger King have already invested in and successfully launched Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) campaigns.

AR uses visual overlays on the physical world through a smart phone whereas VR is an immersive experience in a navigable 3D world through a headset. But most sectors are skeptically watching the technology develop before they test the waters. So how can this emerging tech be used in marketing strategy and is it worth the investment?

It’s a tried and true principle of marketing that unique brand experiences lead to a deeper connection with the consumer. And the corner of a person’s mind is the most valuable place a brand can be. When a brand does something interactive and shareable, people engage with it and talk about it. It leads to brand loyalty and even brand advocacy. AR and VR are offering some of the most memorable and exciting brand experiences today.

AR and VR also have the ability to make ads cooperate with the consumer to get a digital discount or contribute to their experience, making them more rewarding and less intrusive. In VR, for example, a Coca-Cola bottle on a table makes the experience feel more real. Burger King recently used AR to enable users to “burn” competitors’ ads and reveal a free Whopper deal on the consumer’s phone. Add to that AR’s ability to let targeted consumers interact with products before purchasing, increasing buyer confidence, and you can hear sales ticking up.

But why the reluctance for marketers to adopt this interactive technology? The steep upfront cost without a way to understand ROI is enough to discourage most companies. But there’s also the question of how this tech fits into your marketing strategy. Not all products lend themselves to a relevant AR or VR experience. And there is definitely still a gap between the vision and the technology. Digital marketing companies need to harness all the tech on a smartphone to create engaging user interactions with brands. Availability of the tech is another issue. You won’t find a VR headset in most homes, and AR requires consumers to stop and download an app.

But AR and VR still have huge potential in marketing because the creative applications are endless. The tech develops more every day, and it’s something our production artists at AMG are always watching and experimenting with. Can you imagine a future where ads don’t just talk to people, but do things for them? It’s coming.