February 25, 2020

How to start your augmented reality project: strategic planning and tips to succeed

Augmented reality technology has been highlighting and complementing a number of different campaigns and digital solutions across multiple sectors of the market. From assisting Nissan dealerships with product visualization and sales to telling the stories of Jack Daniel’s and its whiskey, AR truly has a versatile nature.

If you are interested in creating your first (or next) AR app, it is crucial to keep in mind a popular, yet meaningful quote by Benjamin Franklin: 

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”


In the app development world, having a clear roadmap is essential to get the ball rolling and to hold yourself and your team accountable and in sync. 

Continue reading to explore 8 steps that will help you get your augmented reality project started on the right foot.

Strategic planning and tips for your AR project 

1. Outline the concept and app objective

This step sounds a little obvious; however, it is essential to pinpoint your objective so that efforts can become laser-focused and aligned throughout the team.

What are you creating, and why?

When defining your concept, think about the purpose of the app; how it will be attractive and useful for the end-user; how your business will benefit from it; does the AR app solve a problem? How? Be specific about your vision.

Keep in mind that in the AR app world, sometimes it is not about solving an end-user issue (even though it often is: see augmented reality sewing patterns). The project objective could also be, for example, about achieving a marketing strategy by engaging the user through entertainment (see Ellen DeGeneres’ TV game show AR app) or providing much more than expected from a product (see augmented reality stickers by Mardles).

By the end of this step, you should have written down the main idea behind the project and its core functionality in a clear and concise matter.

2. Define your audience

Defining your audience is very much aligned with the step above, yet, those who take the time to properly explore this step typically experience more success regarding user experience, content, and outreach.

Who is your target base?

Is the AR project designed for a specific age group? A broader audience? Company employees of different backgrounds? Once you clearly define your audience (country, age, gender, area of interest, etc.), take the time to research how to reach and keep your specific target group interested and engaged.

As an example, let’s take a case from the toymaker Spin Master. Knowing that their target group – kids – are, nowadays, so connected to mobile devices, both for entertainment and gaming, they wanted to provide a fully immersive experience into the world of their Dragamonz toyline by extending the play with AR

Use this logic and your research abilities to better connect with and cater to your target audience.

3. Research market vertical

This step is an important one to gain knowledge and align your expectations by tracking the success rate of similar projects in your market segment (how fierce is this marketplace). It is also a great source of inspiration.

What has already been done, and how could you do it better?

Save yourself time by learning from the mistakes of your competitors – both the successful and unsuccessful ones. Check ratings and customer reviews, download similar apps to have the experience first hand, analyze the number of installs, find gaps in the market, and dig deeper whenever possible and relevant. 

The better the research, the better the outcome. Check for design characteristics, functionality, user workflows, and jot down any positive and negative aspects of each investigated app. Then, use that valuable (not to mention free) info to optimize your AR project in all fronts possible.

4. Define AR app features

At this point, you should have a clear vision of why and how you want your AR app to function. Regardless of whether your project is to be deployed on an existing app or a dedicated one, this is the moment to define which specific functionalities and AR features you wish to include.

What are the AR features that will better suit your project?

At this stage, keep in mind that as a developer, it is often easier to settle for what you know. And as a client, you probably don’t want to limit your possibilities. So, take the time to explore the AR tech you wish to work with to see if any of the technological advancements could be a better fit for your project. 

Access the links below to get inspired by what can and is being done in the AR world today:

Once you are up to date with new technology features and possibilities, define all the features you want your app to have and organize them by priority. 

5. Create a marketing strategy

It doesn’t matter how good your final project is if people don’t know about it. So make sure you have a plan to publicize your AR app.

How will you educate users about your new AR app?

Sadly, this step is often overseen and disregarded, but it could be the key element tied to leading your app into a successful path – or not.

Let’s take an example from a use case mentioned in the intro. One could imagine that a well-known brand like Jack Daniel’s wouldn’t need to focus much on marketing their launches, as the brand in itself would attract all the buzz automatically. Not the case. Even though JD would experience success of some sort without even trying, the company planned and acted out an efficient marketing strategy that began months before the launch of the AR app. The results? Thirty days after the official global Jack Daniel’s AR Experience app launch, 30.000+ iOS and Android users had watched over 110,000 ‘Jack Stories’ AR experiences with an average of 5:42 minutes of total session time per user.

So, whatever your budget is, include a detailed and efficient communication plan to let your target audience know about your AR app.

6. Analytics

Tracking data that is aligned with your project goals will, among other things, indicate what is working well, what needs to be improved, and ultimately measure the progress and success of your project goals.

Define the metrics and KPIs that are important for your AR project.

As you might already know, a KPI is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a project is achieving its objectives.

The mobile metrics to be tracked can be:

  • generic: downloads, registrations, crashes, upgrades, number of AR target scans;
  • related to engagement levels: sessions, social shares, active users;
  • revenue-focused: conversion rate, return of investment (ROI), in-app purchase;
  • user-experience-oriented: load time, devices used;
  • marketing-related: geo-metrics, demographics, keywords;
  • and, of course, reviews and ratings.

For an in-depth review, check this extensive list of 50+ detailed Mobile App KPIs.

As you can see, a lot can be tracked. Think outside the box, and if it is important for your project, track it.

7. Budget

Cross-examine what was defined in the steps above with the budget available for your project. Does your budget allow you to develop everything you have planned to include?

Align existing budget with the AR project plan.

Be realistic, and trim where needed. And remember that It is always possible to revisit, re-edit, and add along after the initial AR app launch.

If you are not too sure about cost estimates, the next step (and article) will give you further guidance. Just remember to make room for step 5 (promotional strategy) into your budget. 

8. Start the development process

By following the steps above, your AR project outline will be ready to be taken to the next exciting step that will bring your project to life: the development phase!

If you have in-house expertise, your team probably knows how to take it from here. If that is not your case, we have prepared a complete guide with tips on how to choose the ideal AR professionals for your project. Coming up on the Wikitude blog:

How to choose an app development partner for your AR project.

Can’t wait for the next blog to know more? Contact our team to get your AR project started today!


Questions, comments? Let us know!

If you have questions, suggestions or feedback on this, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via Facebook, Twitter or send us an email at hello@wikitude.com!

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