The marketing industry has undergone dramatic changes with the influx of technology in recent years, but none has had such an impact on the industry as the blockchain. According to a report published in July 2018 by MarketsandMarkets Research, the implementation of blockchain technology in the media, advertising, and entertainment industries is anticipated to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 81.1 percent over the next five years. The report estimates that currently the use of blockchain in media, advertising and entertainment will reach $51.4M USD in 2018, and is expected to rise to $1B USD by 2023. Not only does MarketsandMarkets Research predict an exponential CAGR, but it is also expected that North America will have the largest market size in global blockchain integration through media, advertising, and entertainment during the forecasted period. While these numbers sound staggering, it makes sense when you consider North America’s rapid adoption of advanced technologies and digitization in both media and advertising over the years. With some of the world’s largest corporations based in North America, it is undeniable that the continent stays on the cutting edge of marketing technology. With those predictions, it is clear that advertisers are looking to implement new ideas and technology into their marketing matrix. Given the rise of various applications in the media verticals and the increased use of AI-enabled smartphones, marketers are looking to continue innovating in order to reach as many consumers as possible through new and exciting methods. While some local marketing strategies may still work in 2018, most marketers are looking for something innovative. What is next for digital marketing? One way marketers have begun to reach consumers is through the use of augmented reality (AR). If you live in the United States, you may have already seen it on Facebook—ads encouraging you to try on their product “in just one click.” Michael Kors was one of the first brands to use this technology, allowing Facebook users to virtually “try on” a pair of sunglasses through AR technology. In 2017, Shopify introduced an AR app where shoppers can “see” products in their home before buying. With this technology, consumers are able to get even closer to products than ever before, which would be enticing for marketers looking to capitalize on AR marketing. By letting shoppers interact with a company’s products before buying, the shopper feels more engaged with the product and the likelihood of purchasing increases. One emerging platform called GEON Network is combining location services, AR and cryptocurrency to drive consumer engagement within various industries. Blockchain technology acts as a backbone for the platform while the app encourages its users to engage with AR and geomine Geon Coins. Similar to other cryptocurrencies, GEON Network allows value transfers between individuals. Their approach however, is unique. Users do not need a mailing address stored on the blockchain in order to exchange funds. Instead, they can use proof-of-location in order to validate any transaction they wish to make. How does the platform work? An evolution similar to applications like Foursquare and Pokemon Go, Geon Network drives its users to visit locations that can only be seen through AR, called Geons. Once near a Geon the individual can then geomine Geon Coins. The app is designed so that marketers across all sectors can drive consumers to wherever they like, whether that be a storefront, point of interest, or somewhere they would want to focus social impact. All they have to do to entice visitors is create a Geon in their chosen location. Once the consumer is there, they can complete an action or task created by the Geon creator in order to geomine Geon Coins. For example, if you were a marketer looking to gather research about local consumers, you could place a Geon in front of your store in a mall and ask customers to fill out a survey in order to geomine the coins you had stored there. The difference between AR and VR in marketing The use of AR in marketing has become a popular option in recent years as it feels more natural than marketing through virtual reality (VR). According to Adam Hemming, Chief Revenue Officer at Advertly, “In AR, an advertiser can drive a click through to a sale or direct someone to a retail location nearby, which is all completely measurable. In VR, we are still wrestling with how to take someone out of the experience they are having to purchase or sign up.” Because AR is based on our current reality and the world we see everyday, seeing objects appear in AR seems more natural to us than VR. Our perception of the world stays relatively the same. Looking at yourself through your phone’s camera feels the same as trying on sunglasses in AR or using a Snapchat filter. As far as the user experience goes, GEON Network is creating a seamless connection between AR and brand awareness by rewarding users for engaging with brands, companies, and organizations through Geons. Rather than struggling to connect marketing to a VR landscape, GEON Network aims to lead the way for other location-based AR apps by enabling the simultaneous transfer of value and interaction with users. Is a platform like GEON Network the solution? It could be. By using a rewards system based on locating Geons adds an element of fun and engagement that most marketing strategies lack. Through AR and blockchain technologies, GEON Network is connecting consumers to B2C organizations in a new way. By creating an app that is simple enough for anyone to use, the network is bringing cryptocurrency into the mainstream and revolutionizing AR marketing. Marketers in any industry could utilize GEON Network to their benefit, from retail to tourism to not-for-profit. As daily smartphone use continues to rise, AR and VR functionality in handheld technology will continue to drive the integration of blockchain technology into marketing strategies, meaning the need for a platform like GEON Network is apparent. Both marketers and consumers are ready for the next phase of marketing technology, and AR is a natural progression.