On more than one occasion in the past 12 months, I’ve heard the AR and VR advertising we do at Adverty described as the cherry on top of the cake of a campaign. That is, we’re the little piece of innovation that raises a campaign above the business as usual status for a reasonably small investment.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to be that cherry … for now. But as an industry what do we need to do to move from the interesting curiosity to the main event.

Here are five things I think we need to do as an industry in 2019 to at least start make that shift.

1. Be more consumer-centric

Stop building things for ourselves that no consumer will ever see.

I “grew up” (from a career perspective) in the early throes of the digital advertising industry. It’s interesting to see the parallels between how that industry developed and how AR/VR is developing as an industry. Digital marketing went through a phase of doing things because they could, not because they should. Lots of client dollars were wasted on expensive digital properties that were more focused on agency revenue and development rather than consumer use and business need. The XR industry is going through that phase now.

We have to stop building things that cater for our own vanity and start to look at what consumers want, need and will use.

This will mean looking at what consumers are using now. Put the HoloLens and the Magic Leap down for now and think 360-degree video, Snapchat filters, and Cardboard. By concentrating on AR that people are using, Gatorade was able to drive 100 million views of its sponsored Super Bowl filter. Perhaps not the most advanced use of AR, but that’s still 100 million views.

2. If we build it, they will (not necessarily) come

Another error we seem to be copying is in forgetting that we need to promote what we create. In 2019 we need to remember to save some budget to direct people to the experiences that we build. We need to think about how can we get better at integrating what we do into the overall mix of channels? It will be some time before AR and VR can stand alone as effective channels in their own right so we need to think about how we all can create additional value to existing activity.

This example from Pepsi is probably still my favorite example of a brand doing just that. By using AR alongside an established medium (out-of-home advertising), they ensured that what they built would get the views it deserved by making it a central part of a wider campaign.

3. Focus on measurement, ROI and data

We also need to make it as easy as possible for clients to make decisions, and these days that means data and measurement.

There is currently a dearth of information and data about who is using AR and VR and its effectiveness. At Adverty we have worked with Ogury to help us analyse our own data to understand our users and this has been a huge reassurance for clients.

We are also developing our own unique ways of measurement to ensure that we can give clients effectiveness data that they have never seen before. This is in addition to our brain impression technology that ensures that clients only ever pay for ads that are viewed.

4. Test, test, test

We need to be prepared to go through the period of testing that all new channels require. This means being prepared for lots of work for not huge returns and an understanding that clients cannot (and will not) commit large scale budgets until we have proved our worth (see point 3).

5. Build the ecosystem

If I have one resolution for 2019, it’s to stop seeing other XR companies as our competitors — to be nicer and more co-operative to other AR and VR companies. We are all part of an ecosystem that needs to flourish as a whole for any single element within it to grow sustainably. At Adverty, we are taking a partnership approach to growth through a collection of like minded XR companies with whom we can build more holistic solutions together that better answer clients real business needs.

Adam Hemming is the CRO at Adverty, the Swedish start-up bringing brands the opportunity to use AR and VR as a media channel at scale.