When new technology like augmented reality (AR) comes along, it’s tempting to jump on the bandwagon blindly. But assumptions can be costly – and with sentiment analysis tools, they’re unnecessary.

Now is the time for research

It’s entirely possible AR is the wave of the future – just like the internet and smartphones turned out to be. Then again, we’re a ways off from augmented reality becoming mainstream. It may turn out to be comparable to having a website – where not incorporating it labels your brand as dated. But then again, it may not.

Before you spend a ton of time and money on bringing AR technology into the mix for your brand, you need to take your audience’s temperature. This is how you’d approach any business decision, of course – or should be. And it’s where sentiment analysis shines.

How do consumers feel about AR, as it’s available now, and as it may be in the future? Can they see the possibilities? How many have tried it? Do they view it as just another technology that will cost them money?

The answers to these questions are out there, and before you think of investing in AR, you need to know what they are.

Competitive analysis has never been more important

Your competitors are a great resource for what works with your target audience – and many of them are experimenting with AR as we speak. Even if not direct competitors, you can look to those incorporating AR into their customer experience for inspiration and ideas. And it’s crucial to see how consumers feel about all of it.

If Pokémon GO is any indication, the potential is major. Use a tool like NetBase Instant Search to get the lay of the land, then hone in on the areas that matter to you.

We searched on the terms “augmented reality,” “AR” and “#AR.” This returned a word cloud where the term “augmented reality” featured prominently. Clicking on that revealed a number of posts with articles about the role AR will play in the future, but this one was of particular interest:

Growing toy sales certainly correlate with the success of Pokemon GO. This might be the way in for many brands – but you need to know what other options are out there too.

Something else last summer’s trendy game points to is the likelihood of mobile being a key launch point for AR technology. After all, there’s no expensive headset needed – just a device consumers already use regularly.

This is the kind of intel you need to find and consider as you break into the augmented reality market. Social analytics will point you in the direction that matters for your brand and category – so don’t get caught up in whatever you think consumers want. Act only when you know.

Influencers are critical allies

If you’re committed to building AR into your brand experience – because you want to be on the front lines of new technology, for example – you’ll need a chorus of positive voices to help convince the fence-sitters.

As always, influencers are your best allies. Use sentiment analysis to find the intersection of people who love your brand, and people who love AR, technology, etc. Those are the voices you can put to work for your brand as you move forward with introducing this technology.

You’ll also need them as you refine how AR fits into your customer experience as it becomes more popular and mainstream.

You’ve got to feel your way through

The critical takeaway here is this: Whatever you think about augmented reality, and similar technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR), doesn’t matter.

If you don’t follow the passion of your audience as you proceed, you may waste resources on something they don’t want. Or you’ll arrive too late to a party they’ve been begging to be invited to – and find they’ve moved on to your competitors instead.

Social media is a reflection of reality – down to the speed with which it changes. You’ve got to stay tuned in to these changes as a brand by following conversations and sentiment in real-time. Actions taken without this social data in mind is risky at best – and possibly disastrous.

Conversely, if you embrace social monitoring and sentiment analysis tools, you’ll always know where true north is for your brand – whatever the future holds.

Ready to see how it all works? Reach out and we’ll give you a custom demo of our sentiment analysis software.

Image from SNDRV

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