The rise of social media marketing and brands solely dependent on social media for their growth has given rise to fascinating concepts such as marker-based AR for marketing and advertising. AR markers are designed to trigger AR content that catches customers’ attention. It allows brands to showcase their AR experiences through a simple advertisement hook and let customers interact with it. 

In this article, we will take a brief look at how marker-based augmented reality works and how it can benefit brands.

What is marker-based AR?

Marker-based Augmented Reality is an approach where images, referred to as markers or triggers, serve as reference points for superimposing digital content onto the physical environment. The camera recognizes these markers with the help of computer vision and tracking features. It then uses them as anchors to overlay virtual elements, such as 3D models, animations, or information, onto the corresponding marker locations.

How does it work?

It operates through the synergistic efforts of cameras, computer vision algorithms, and the Augmented Reality marker image itself, following a sequence of fundamental steps:

Marker Detection

The camera continuously scans the physical environment, actively searching for predefined markers. These markers are typically high-contrast patterns or designs that are easily recognizable by the system.

Pose Estimation

Once a marker is successfully detected, the computer vision techniques calculate the precise position and orientation of the marker relative to the camera’s viewpoint. This spatial relationship is crucial for accurate content alignment.

Content Overlay

With the marker’s pose accurately determined, it then seamlessly overlays digital content onto the physical marker in real-time. This augmented content can take various forms, such as 3D models, videos, animations, or textual information, effectively blending the virtual and real worlds.

What are its widespread applications?

Major applications of marker-based AR are in the fields like:


Marker-based AR can transform traditional educational materials into immersive and interactive learning experiences. For instance, biology textbooks can come alive when viewed through a smartphone or tablet, with 3D models of organisms superimposed onto designated markers. Students can explore these virtual representations from multiple angles, gaining a deeper comprehension of complex structures and processes, ultimately enhancing their understanding of the subject matter.

Marketing and Advertising

Brands leverage it as an innovative way to engage consumers and promote their products. By incorporating markers on product packaging, companies can unlock additional digital content, such as promotional videos, interactive experiences, or even virtual try-on experiences, when scanned with a dedicated mobile application. This approach captivates the audience and provides a unique and memorable brand experience.

Gaming and Entertainment 

It can be integrated into games and entertainment experiences, creating interactive and immersive environments. For example, board games or card games can come alive with virtual characters, animations, or special effects when viewed through a compatible AR application, adding an extra layer of excitement and engagement for players.

Retail and E-commerce

Markers can be used in retail settings or on product catalogs to provide customers with additional information, virtual try-on experiences, or even augmented reality product demonstrations. This approach can enhance the shopping experience, aid in purchase decisions, and potentially increase sales.

Architecture and Construction

Architects and construction professionals can leverage it to visualize proposed designs or modifications on-site. By placing markers at specific locations, they can overlay virtual representations of buildings, structures, or landscaping elements, allowing for better communication and collaboration with clients or stakeholders.

Benefits of Marker based AR

Some well-used benefits include:

Amplifies branding, marketing, and advertising content 

You could be adding oomph to your marketing collateral and branding content beyond just plain images or videos on the internet with marker-based web AR that users can access on the browser without installation.

Increases customer interaction

Interaction between customers and the brand is extremely important, and this is not possible with plain images or videos. With marker-based AR, customer interaction with the products and brands leaves a lasting impression.

Embed interactive AR content 

With AR markers, interactive content can be easily embedded in materials related to advertisement and customer engagement. It can vary from an immersive experience to a product demonstration.

Types of AR marker-based content

Some of the most used examples of how market-based AR is used in the market are:

QR codes

QR codes have emerged as a highly effective and widely preferred tool for triggering AR. It is an emerging tactic for marketing campaigns. With their ease of use and accessibility, these codes have become immensely popular. Brands of all sizes and across diverse industries use them in many ways. Also, they offer a seamless and convenient way to create anchors for AR content, helping brands engage with their customers in a more interactive and immersive manner.

Logos and brand visuals as Markers

Logos are a great example of how to create an anchor. They represent the brand and can become an asset in creating AR experiences. By using materials related to the brand, such as logos and other brand elements, companies can create an immersive experience. It helps keep users engaged and invested in the brand. This approach helps to build brand recognition and loyalty. Users are more likely to remember a brand that offers engaging and unique experiences.

Smart packaging

Smart packaging has become increasingly popular in the market due to its versatility. You can embed AR experiences on product packaging. Users can access it simply through their smartphone by scanning the package. Smart packaging is also easy to manufacture and distribute and is less expensive than most traditional immersive experience triggers. 

Best examples of Augmented Reality Marker-based applications 

Some applications that use AR marker tracking include:

Pokemon go 

Pokemon Go uses augmented reality markers to guide players in discovering in-game items and landmarks, with more exploration leading to higher chances of rewards.

IKEA place

IKEA utilizes the AR image markers feature in their app for a wholesome product experience. It enables a better visual representation and insightful overlaid information about their products. By seeing the products in their space in AR, customers can make informed decisions before making a purchase. 


Augmented Reality is growing fast. With the evolution of technology, we can expect more accurate marker recognition, better pose estimation, and more realistic AR experiences. Marker-based AR is becoming more widespread as it seamlessly blends virtual and real environments. With each advancement, it offers more immersive user experiences and opens up new possibilities for various industries.

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