Blippar launches ‘first AR digital ad unit’ that doesn’t need an app

The ad requests camera access and then shows the live feed matted against a cut-out 360-degree video or 3D model.

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A Blippar AR ad, with imagery from a phone's camera matted against a car interior.

A Blippar AR ad, with different imagery from a phone’s camera matted against a car interior.

Augmented reality (AR) provider Blippar has announced what it says is the first-ever AR digital ad unit that doesn’t require an app.

Called Augmented Reality Digital Placement (ARDP), it works inside standard rich media banner ad units on mobile devices or desktops/laptops, with no separate app required. The format will launch next month.

A call to action in the delivered ad banner requests access to the device’s camera feed. The kind of call to action is determined creatively by the brand.

The video from the camera is then inserted live into a “cut-out” area behind a 360-degree video image or a 3D model, such as a background street scene matted into a cutout of a car interior. (See above.) Essentially, it’s like a green screen using your device’s camera, employing a gyroscope for positioning when the device is a smartphone or tablet:

If the user declines camera access, the ad shows only a 360-video or a 3D model, but without the transparency. Standard ad metrics — such as impressions or user engagement — can be tracked by the ad server, and the ad content can be shared to Facebook or saved locally.

ARDP works only on Chrome browsers for desktop/laptop computers, or in the Chrome or Firefox browsers on Android mobile devices. Blippar said an iOS version is on the way, as soon as Apple releases its WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) kit.

Founded in the UK in 2011, Blippar became known for its augmented reality (AR) mobile app that unlocks layers of content on top of real-world scenes.

Details about a flower might grow out of flower when you view it, for instance. “Fill the screen as much as you can with the image,” Blippar instructs, “hold still for a second or two and if the app recognizes the image, it will launch the blipp automatically.”

Currently, Blippar needs to make the ARDP ad for the brand, a process that takes at least four weeks.

By contrast, brands — including PepsiCo, General Mills and Procter & Gamble — can build their own Blippar non-ARDP content with tools provided by the company. Eventually, brands will have access to creation tools for building ARDP, Blippar said.

Late last week, Blippar also announced a global partnership with London-based marketing network Geometry Global (part of the WPP Group) to bring AR to retail in unspecified ways.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Barry Levine
Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a Senior Writer for VentureBeat, and he has written about these and other tech subjects for such publications as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and led the web site/unit at PBS station Thirteen/WNET; worked as an online Senior Producer/writer for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The First CD Game; founded and led an independent film showcase, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T.; and served over five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find him at LinkedIn, and on Twitter at xBarryLevine.

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