Movable Ink adds augmented reality to email marketing arsenal

Movable Ink has always helped marketers create highly customizable, visually interesting emails. Today, the company announced a new capability for marketers who want to introduce lightweight augmented reality (AR) to their campaigns.

Movable Ink co-founder and CTO Michael Nutt says the company was looking for a way to provide customers with AR experiences with less fuss than most current methods. “Marketers were looking for something interesting in AR, but they wanted to do it themselves without expensive consultants. We had this powerful visual channel already. We combined that with web technologies and put together an offering for our clients,” he explained.

This isn’t highly sophisticated AR, but it does provide a starting point for marketers who want to get involved with it. The idea involves creating branded selfies. Say you are using a vacation company to take a cruise. The company could send you an email a couple of days prior to the trip. Clicking the email takes you to a site where you can take a picture of yourself, superimposed over a relevant background. Users can share these images on social media, thereby acting as brand ambassadors for these companies.

Photo: Movable Ink

Movable Ink’s mission involves making marketing emails more interesting so people open them. The AR component is really about increasing engagement, and Movable Ink says that in early betas, it has been seeing a 40 percent increase in open rates, and 50 percent of participants who do open the email spending more than a minute engaging with the AR experience.

The flavor of AR the company is offering doesn’t require the end user to have any special equipment and it doesn’t require the marketers to have coding skills. It’s all designed using tools that work inside any browser with graphical overlays and face filters to provide this customized selfie experience.

Once marketers create these experiences, they can measure and report on them like any marketing email, looking at opens, engagement time, the number of times the camera has been activated and how many pictures have been taken.

The company began working on this capability about a year ago and launched in beta in October. The product is available for Movable Ink customers starting today.