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Credit by IAB

Augmented reality has existed conceptually in popular culture since at least 1901 in L. Frank Baum's novel, "The Master Key."

Versions of AR have continued to appear in novels, films and television driving increased awareness of AR and sparking the imagination to its possibilities.

Consumer adoption of AR - at least in the sense relevant to this Playbook - really begins soon after the launch of the iPhone in 2007.

From a marketing perspective, in particular, the story begins in 2008. BMW ran a print ad for Mini that rendered a 3D image of the car overlaid on the page when a webcam or phone camera was pointed at it.

With advances in technology, to be described later, AR in marketing progressed rapidly over the next decade. Until about 2014, it was used primarily for branding "stunts" in public spaces, typically involving cameras shooting people and their surroundings, adding the virtual elements and displaying on a screen. This helped to introduce and drive broader consumer awareness of AR as a marketing channel.

Exposure to AR truly scaled in 2015 with the introduction of Snap Lenses. In its first year alone, 30 million snaps were decorated with Lenses - including by advertisers. For the first time, brands could reliably achieve scale with augmented reality.

For example, in 2016, Taco Bell's Shell Lens for Cinco de Mayo was shared by millions of Snapchatters and viewed over 224 million times on the day it launched. By 2018, on average, over 70% of Snap users had played with or viewed an augmented reality Lens every day, and over 300,000 Lenses had been created by Snap's community through Lens Studio, and those Lenses were viewed over 35 billion times.

The following chart traces some key milestones over the last decade that have propelled AR awareness and adoption towards today:

It is clear the adoption of augmented reality has grown and will continue in significant ways as the following chart shows:

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