Latest Google feature brings mainstream social AR marketing one step closer

The latest news out of Google is that they’re opening up Maps so developers can create the next big mobile gaming phenomenon, in the mould of Pokémon Go. While initially this seems like great news solely for gaming, there’s no reason this shouldn’t get marketers excited too.

The new API being introduced will allow developers to access real-time Google Maps data allowing for experiences in real-world locations through AR. The crucial part is that there is a great deal of accessibility built in, as the Unity SDK does the majority of the heavy lifting. This means that a large number of mobile handsets will be able to run the software effectively.

This sounds amazing for gaming, but how is it relevant for marketing? Game developers will be the first to explore this new Maps offering for Google but it won’t be long before innovative marketers find a way to tie it to a rich and immersive AR marketing campaign. It’s only relatively recently that ARKit was given its due attention and more soundly integrated into Pokémon Go. When the benefits of this SDK become apparent, more developers will jump on the bandwagon. There’s no doubt that the likes of Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook will be considering how they can either form a partnership to use this platform or use their own resources to create a competing offering.

There are a few games already in the works that are aiming to have a piece of the Pokémon Go action. But there’s no reason that we shouldn’t expect social platforms to consider what it is they could be doing in this space. As a result, we’ll need to consider how we might leverage those features as part of future campaigns for our clients.

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