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web-based AR or App-based AR

Do you use webAR or go for Augmented Reality in a app?

webAR is on the rise. The time that you had to experience AR via a downloadable app is slowly decreasing. Big players such as Google (ARcore) and Apple (ARkit) are investing heavily in Augmented Reality. But other smaller parties are also not slowing down when it comes to unlocking Augmented Reality experiences via the browser of your smartphone. We call the latter webAR.

weAR beats app-based Augmented Reality solutions in one fell swoop when it comes to quick access to an AR experience. Most marketeers go for convenience for the customer. But there are more pros and cons in this battle between weAR or app AR.

webAR portal of 8thWall

Software provider 8th Wall shows a complete lunar landscape in Augmented Reality through the browser of your smartphone.

Clicks and Kicks

Web-based AR currently has a more limited number of content options. For example, the number of MBs (data consumption) and render times of 3D in web-based AR weigh more heavily than suddenly downloading an app with all the trimmings.

In addition, developers still have far fewer tools at their disposal than with ‘regular’ AR apps that often use game engines such as Unity or Unreal. WebAR is fine if the content is less demanding on interfacing and amount of content. This often concerns the short -often campaign-based- experience.

Dynamic webAR is fine for the short kick at the moment, shall we say.

Try explaining that to users…

Accessibility of web-based AR

Now you would think that any smartphone with an internet browser can use webAR. That is not true. In general, most smartphones are supported, but here too it is necessary to keep the smartphone software up-to-date.

Moreover, a new smartphone does not mean that they support weBAR or AR via apps. Experience shows that even one Samsung 20 does work with webAR and another does not because the chipset comes from another manufacturer.

Explain that to your users… but of course that also applies to regular AR apps.

Cost of dynamic webAR

Quite hefty license costs are charged at the various weBAR software providers, while an app is often a one-time investment + perhaps some annual maintenance costs. That is why dynamic webAR is often available for a short period of time. By dynamic we mean that the AR is interactive and animated.

Google and webAR

The Google search engine gave nice -not dynamic- webAR search results on your smartphone. If you searched for “Dogg”, “Tiger” or “Emu” you will see an image with a button “View in 3D”.

Not so long ago you where be able to place a static model of a labrador in your own home via your brwoser, not animated. Now Google has changed that again and you have to download the app from Google to view the labrador in AR. Downside from Google…

Content is key

As usual, the objective and the content determine which type of medium is chosen. If the choice is made for Augmented Reality, then there are choices to be made. ArtiShock has already done cool projects with web-based AR. Nevertheless, we will always take a critical look at the purpose of Augmented Reality. A whole E-learning in webAR is impossible (and impossible) and all that a short poster campaign with AR is absurd to ask of your audience to start downloading an app.

webAR: New kid on the block

While webAR is the newbie in the market in “Immersive Tech”, it offers ease of use and can attract more ‘Clicks’ to a campaign. App based solutions may get fewer downloads but give you more flexibility in content, let you zoom in on details and knows two-way traffic.

People come back for relevant content. The granularity and richness of AR content that an AR app can deliver may be reason enough for users to download the Augmented Reality app.

Costs also play an important role. If it’s a short campaign with a not too difficult story, then web-based AR is a good choice, if it’s about more long-lasting and richer experiences, then an app might be a better choice.

Now what?

Paying attention to web-based AR or downloading an App with Augmented Reality require the same amount of marketing effort. Both require users to take action to interact with the AR experience.

However, the AR content on offer should motivate users sufficiently to engage and stay in touch with a brand. The way in which the offer is promoted must ensure that the experience is successful. Good content remains important for people to want to know more about the brand.

If you opt for a longer period of time, an AR app is recommended, also because of the higher license costs at weAR.

If you want to know more about webAR or if you have any questions about Augmented Reality via web, please contact us at or call: +31(0)786314375

More information on webAR:

Augmented Reality on your website
WebAR / webxr makes you integrate Augmented Reality on your website without app download. Ideal for webshops: products in 3D in the customer's livingroom.
Bekijk oplossing

Cases using webAR:

Amazon prime: webAR filmcampaign for The East
We applied Augmented Reality on the poster campaign for the film The East. The webAR shows a trailer of this exciting new Dutch film by director Jim Taihuttu. The film can be seen from May 13 on Amazon's prime video and some selected movie theaters
Bekijk case
webAR- and social media AR for the International Film Festival Rotterdam
Tiger on the Loose! During the International Film Festival Rotterdam you can -at your own risk- enter the film world of the tiger with web-based AR (Augmented Reality).
Bekijk case