philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology



Unlike virtual and augmented reality experiences that require you to download apps or have special hardware, this technology lives right in your mobile internet browser.


As with static websites, there are a host of different tracking and analytics available when using WebAR. Not only can you track traditional metrics like engagements and time on page, you can also get more granular insights like how long a user interacted with a particular product or even — if a user “tried something on”  through your experience — their clothing size for future reference.

A word of caution: Don’t be a data snoop! Data protection is incredibly important, and with advancements in technologies like eye tracking, facial recognition and image targeting, the power to collect personal information is only growing. In fact, these technologies are sometimes required to build virtual and augmented reality experiences. It is more important now than ever that we as digital content creators treat this power with respect.


The development process of creating WebAR experiences can be broken into six simple steps:

  1. Planning and Creative: Always begin with a well-rounded plan that clearly states your target audience, campaign goals and creative vision. This will help inform your decisions later on.
  2. Platform Selection: There are two industry-leading platforms for building WebAR experiences; 8th Wall and Zappar. These are software packages that make developers’ lives easier by giving them access to the base technologies needed to build amazing WebAR experiences — think tools like surface tracking and image recognition. Each has their own benefits and drawbacks, but leveraging one of these two platforms will save you valuable time and money compared to developing your experiences from scratch.
  3. Asset Creation: Now it’s time to start building your 3D digital assets. A good WebAR experience is all about balancing your creative vision with available bandwidth speeds. Highly detailed models or super complex animations can cause web-based experiences to run slowly. For an optimal experience, focus on creating low-poly art assets and engaging yet simple animations.
  4. Assembly: With your plan in hand, platform selected and assets ready to go, you can begin developing your new WebAR experience. This work will be done through the platform you selected above. Like most digital development, this process is fairly technical and best handled by a developer or team of developers with experience building in the platform.
  5. Testing: Testing is an important step when building any digital experience — but especially with WebAR, as there are so many variables to consider. We recommend testing across all major mobile platforms and web browsers. If possible, we also suggest trying the experience on different network connections (Wi-Fi, 4G, 3G, etc.)
  6. Distribution: Both 8th Wall and Zappar offer hosting services and custom URL integrations if you prefer to keep things simple. You can also export the final experience and host it on your own servers Either way, you can now share your new WebAR experience by simply sharing the host URL via QR or any other means.


Companies like Google, Apple and Mozilla have been working for years behind the scenes to help make WebAR a reality. Serious research and development efforts on WebAR began in the 2000s but started to really ramp up in the last three to five years. These efforts have paid off, and this technology is now ready for prime time.

WebAR is supported by all major mobile phone manufacturers — such as Samsung, Apple, HTC, Xiaomi, Huawei and more — and across all major web browsers, including Safari, Chrome and Firefox. As consumers and creators, this means we now have access to more three billion sets of eyeballs when we publish a WebAR experience. It’s simply up to you to reach them.


5G is promising mobile internet speeds five to 10 times faster than the fastest 4G connection. What does this mean for WebAR? Imagine watching an NFL football game play out in 3D right on your dining room table. Or perhaps having a phone call with your interior designer while being able to see new paint colors and furniture options appear in your living room in real time. 5G technology is going to be a game changer for WebAR and other interactive technologies like WebVR and 360-degree live streaming. The experiences we’re seeing today (as powerful as they are!) are just the beginning.

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