The study of consumers from across the world used smart watch technology to measure their immersion. It found AR experiences command continuous high attention, compared to traditional advertising experiences which have peaks and valleys over time. The results have profound implications for advertisers in seeking to better understand how AR can be used to better engage consumers.

The in-depth neurological research study was commissioned by Snapchat to better access emotional engagement and attention to Augmented Reality. Participants in the study took part in virtual, individual research sessions. Participants watched content from home or out and about with engagement measured in the most natural environment.

The level of immersion was calculated by measuring variability in their heart rate using a smart watch. The technology behind the methodology made it possible to map the distinct patterns in heart rate indicating a participant was engaged in an immersive state.

The key findings were:

– Immersive experiences offer significant value. When people are highly immersed, they are paying attention, emotionally engaged, and actively committing information to memory. Immersion predicts consumer action and memory with 83% accuracy.*

– AR offers an immersive experience across platforms. Respondents’ average scores were higher than industry benchmarks for the Entertainment category across all social media platforms, which includes 350 experiences across television, film, music, gaming, and sports. There was an average of 56 versus 45.

– AR experiences maintain high attention throughout while traditional advertising experiences peaks and valleys over time. A heart rate tracker graph demonstrated that every second is that much more impactful and delivers positive memory encoding.

– AR experiences can drive business results.

It’s clear that advertising to highly immersed, attentive individuals shows positive implications for an ad’s effectiveness. These research findings are meaningful to advertisers planning campaigns and are especially interesting considering the metaverse, the rise of AI influencers and the other futuristic trends we’re currently experiencing.

According to the report’s author, Andy Pang, Head of International Marketing Science from Snap: “We commissioned this research to deepen our understanding of the unique impact of engaging with Augmented Reality and whether consumers are more receptive and engaged by AR advertising as opposed to traditional advertising formats. The results are clear. When people are highly immersed, they are paying attention, emotionally engaged, and actively committing information to memory. To put it differently, they are “in the zone,” and the experience is resonating with them on a fundamental level – to the point it can predict future behaviour.”