Augmented Reality: What It Is in Terms of the Senses

augmented reality senses

Augmented Reality and the Five Senses

Advertisers are increasingly incorporating Augmented Reality (AR) into print ad campaigns to provide visitors with more content and immersive experiences. This technology not only educates consumers and showcases products more realistically to reduce returns but also creates a multisensory online shopping experience that mimics the in-store feel.

AR advertising relies on high-quality visuals, videos, and audio components. By transforming 2D ads into 3D experiences, videos showcasing models wearing apparel can spark interest in brands. Virtual try-on features have revolutionized online shopping, allowing customers to visualize products from different angles and try on different colors and patterns. IKEA, for example, uses AR with 3D modelling to show customers how furniture will look in their homes.

Audio is another crucial element in AR ads, setting the tone and enhancing the product experience. From catchy music to the sounds of opening a beer can or the ocean waves, audio complements visuals to evoke emotions and create atmospheres.

While smell and taste are not yet fully integrated into AR technology, visuals and audio can still stimulate these senses. For instance, a pizza brand might showcase a close-up of a steaming, hot pie with the melting cheese and the sound of someone grabbing a slice, evoking the desire for a delicious meal. Fragrance brands can use images and videos to capture the fresh smell of spring.

Although touch is not fully realized in AR, retailers can create an essence of texture and movement. For example, magnified views of rug fibers can convey their texture, while tracking technology allows virtual try-on of costumes that bounce and apparel that moves with models on a virtual runway. These elements provide shoppers with tactile information about the feel of the products they are interested in purchasing online.

Ultimately, incorporating AR into print ad campaigns enhances the overall shopping experience and positively impacts the bottom line. By engaging multiple senses, AR marketing drives higher conversion rates and increases purchase intent. The evolving world of AR continues to push the boundaries of online shopping, offering a more immersive and interactive way to connect consumers with brands. As advertisers are integrating more Augmented Reality into print ad campaigns, they can provide visitors not only more content and experiences with AR overlays, but also a more immersive experience, to better educate consumers, and to provide a more realistic representation of products in order to reduce returns.

Augmented Reality, in Interactive Print campaigns for omnichannel marketing, can tune in all of the five senses to offer consumers more of an in-store feel to their online shopping experiences. Engaging the senses helps give viewers a more thorough idea of your products than mere visuals can. Word from the Meta-verse is that “These marketing adjustments acknowledge the proven effectiveness of AR marketing: products promoted with Augmented Reality content have a 94% higher conversion rate than products without and using AR in advertising increases purchase intent by nearly 2.5x.”

The bottom line is that including AR in your print ad campaigns positively affect your bottom line. Starting with accessories and fashion, virtual try-on makes exemplary use of our sight senses.


Most Augmented Reality advertising relies heavily on high-quality images, video, and audio components. Print ad campaigns with AR will often include videos of your products within the AR space, to turn the 2D ad into a 3D experience. Videos that show models wearing your apparel can pique shoppers’ interest in your brand. Additionally, the ability to try on products virtually has been a game changer for online shopping. From eyewear try-on to full body tracking technology, you can see how different garments and accessories will look on your body from all angles. Shoppers can click through different colors and patterns to decide if they like products on their bodies. Some retailers, such as IKEA have been using Augmented Reality with 3D modelling to show how their furniture pieces would look in your home or business. IKEA Place allows shoppers to move home furnishing pieces around in a room via their Smartphones, to give shoppers an idea of the size of pieces, in perspective and to get an idea of how that piece works in a specific space.


While you probably don’t want to hear what you sound like trying on clothes, you will probably have a more upbeat experience virtually trying on clothes or eyewear frames if catchy music is playing while you are doing that. Music, street sounds, voice-overs, dialogue, and other audio set a tone for brands in AR ads. Sounds in videos can enhance products. The sound of a beer can or bottle opening can make you feel the refreshing sensation of that moment. The sound of the ocean can evoke memories of how it feels to walk on a beach, and the sound of silverware and glass tinkling in the background can conjure an elegant restaurant atmosphere. The sound of smooth jazz can create an atmosphere of sophistication for your high-end vodka AR ad. Last but not least, imagine engaging in an immersive Harley-Davidson test ride delivered using 360-degree; the sound itself would keep you coming back to the experience.  Because smell and taste are complex senses, and Augmented Reality technology hasn’t yet perfected Smell-O-Vision, as a reality, the senses of taste and smell in AR components rely on visuals and audio.


Piggybacking on how audio and video can create a desire for a cold beverage, with the sound of a beverage opening and the spray of bubbles indicating the refreshing results, the sense of smell figures into scenes with food through sight and sound. A pizza brand may go in for a video of a steaming, hot pie, right out of the oven, focusing on a close-up of melted cheese that stings across the frame when someone grabs a slice. Fragrance brands might utilize images of flowers, a video of a tropical beach scene, or a video of sheer fabric catching a breeze on a clothesline in a fresh green setting, to capture the fresh smell of spring. Taste, closely related to the sense of smell, can also come to life in AR ads through high-quality video production.


A popular trend, these days, pre-measured meal kits, such as HelloFresh, can offer customers video images of the process involved in creating different dishes, showcasing the ingredients in closeups, and presenting the final dishes in a setting that accentuates the food and creating a craving for the flavors and dishes in these meal kits. For shoppers, a wine ad may take you to the winery where the grapes came from, spotlight the vintner, and give visual clues with videos of berries, chocolate, butter, and other predominant flavor notes in specific wines. Along with creating tastes and smells through visuals and audio, technology hasn’t quite caught up with shoppers being able to reach into an AR component and touch products, although researchers at Texas A&M University are working on touch screen technology that will do just that.


In the meantime, several options exist to create the essence of what products might feel like. Retailers can create a sense of touch through positioning elements in print ads that give shoppers a magnified view of the fibers a rug is made from so that shoppers can form an idea of the texture of those fibers and how they would feel to the touch. Inserting an AR component that shows the different threads on a sheet of paper and the sources of fibers the paper consists of, in their natural forms can induce a sense of the finished product’s feel or texture. Somebody tracking technology allows shoppers to see how products move. For example, a customer virtually trying on costumes that bounce when worn can move around to get an idea of how the costume would look in motion. In body tracking for virtual apparel try-on, to represent the feel of the apparel, advertisers might show pieces of their apparel on models walking down a runway or if the apparel is marketed as evening gowns or high school dance attire, watching models dance in flowing gowns or short, twirly skirts can give shoppers more tactile information about the apparel, they’re interested in purchasing online. Capturing the feel of wooden furniture may involve showing videos of the sanding and varnishing process so that consumers get a feel for the surface of the polished wood.


Tapping into the power of the five senses, AR solutions are revolutionizing print ads and direct mail campaigns, to engage online shoppers in a more interactive immersive experience.

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