Difference Between AR ss. VR: The Digital Marketer’s Guide

Some people get confused with the difference between augmented reality and virtual reality. Others think that it’s the same thing altogether. It’s understandable since they share a lot of common elements.

What really sets them apart is how they alter our perception of the real world.

Our article will explore the difference between AR and VR. But first, let us start by defining each of them.


Virtual reality is a simulation of a world within the virtual realm. It can be a reflection of our world or it can also be an entirely new world. Devices like VR headsets or goggles help bring you into this world. 

What VR does is that it replaces what you see around you with a digital world. It doesn’t sound convincing when you read about it. But once you’ve experienced it, it feels surreal. With your sense of sight and hearing fed with digital information, everything changes.

Within this artificial new world, you can move around and interact with the elements inside. What’s awesome is that it’s currently being applied to a lot of fields. This includes fields like education, gaming, and marketing. 

A UK-based travel agency called Thomas Cook was able to use VR to their advantage. They had a campaign that allowed travel agents to experience what they were promoting to their clients. The campaign was called “Try Before You Fly”.

Augmented reality uses computer-generated graphics, interactive data, or images. It incorporates the use of physical and digital elements to create artificial environments. But unlike VR, it does not replace the real world. Rather, it overlays some of the elements to add to your world perception.

One of the companies that have successfully incorporated this into their marketing is IKEA. They have incorporated AR into their marketing and customer service by launching the VR application by IKEA. With this application, you can choose furniture and place it in your room via AR. This helps you visualize if it’s the right furniture for you.

The app was received well by the market. They enjoyed how clever and fun it is to redesign their rooms without having to leave the comfort of their own homes. The app also created an incredible marketing buzz for the company. Everyone kept talking about it.

There is a way to enjoy both AR and VR functionalities. Mixed reality (MR) incorporates the best of both VR and AR. It is a mix of both physical and digital reality. It brings in a level of interactivity with the digital elements. Like in the case of virtual reality, you will need a headset to get the full experience. One of the best existing examples of mixed reality is the Microsoft Hololens.


Now that we have a good understanding of the two technologies, let’s look at the differences. 


Virtual reality replaces the real world. It is an immersive experience that allows you to interact in the virtual space. You feel like it has transposed your body into a different world. Think about it like shutting out the physical world and going to a virtual one.

The automobile industry is taking advantage of virtual reality to sell cars. For example, Volvo has an app that allows you to test drive a vehicle without being in one. All you need is a smartphone and the Google Cardboard headset.

The medical field has also been a beneficiary of virtual reality. It uses VR for training surgeons, nurses, and doctors.

Augmented reality enhances the real world using digital elements. Businesses can use AR for many applications. Such include remote collaboration and assistance.  

Others are computer-assisted tasks and on-the-job training. Gaming companies like Pokémon Go are using AR to allow players to interact with the environment. The marketing of this game released videos of players going around the world catching Pokemon. This game is so successful, it had 500 million downloads on its release. Up to date, it already has 1 billion downloads. 


As we have stated, virtual reality depends a lot on specialist equipment. You will need headsets or goggles. You have different options with regards to headsets. Some have inbuilt screens that you can combine with handheld devices. It allows for a more immersive experience.

Others allow you to mount your phone. The screen becomes your display. Such equipment allows for a more immersive experience. You achieve this by shutting out the physical world.

For augmented reality, all you need is a smartphone, camera, and the right app. You can also use headsets if you prefer. AR is more accessible, especially to smaller businesses. Investing in VR set-up can be a bit more costly if you take into consideration everything you need.


Augmented reality uses depth tracking, mapping, and computer vision. It allows for the collecting, sending, and processing of data via the camera. Digital enhancement is in real-time.

Virtual reality is all about simulating vision. The user needs to have a screen in front of the eyes to block out the real world. You then adjust your eyes depending on movement and positioning.

Head tracking, for example, makes the experience more real. It allows you to explore the virtual environment by moving your head. You will notice that the display changes depending on the direction you are looking for. In this way, you can get a 360 view of the environment.

You will need a PC or mobile screen to render the visuals. For further immersion in the experience, the user can apply the different senses. Sight, hearing, touch, and stimulation play a significant role. It could explain why it is so popular in gaming. Imagine wielding a shield to defeat your mortal enemy.


We have highlighted the difference between virtual reality and augmented reality. 

Virtual reality brings you to a whole new world. You can interact and explore like you would in the physical world. The use of touch, sight, and hearing increases the immersive experience. To get the best out of VR, it helps to have the best headsets or goggles.

On the other hand, augmented reality does not remove you from the real world. Instead, it enhances the real world by adding digital elements. It may be more accessible to smaller businesses. It doesn’t need very specialized equipment. With a smartphone and the relevant app, you can access the functionalities.

There is a lot to look forward to with regards to AR and VR. Mixed reality combines the best aspects of both. And now, extended reality (XR) is starting to generate some buzz in the tech world. It is a combination of the best that AR, VR, and MR have to offer. 

Imagine the possibilities this has in store for digital marketing. In the near future, we’ll be able to let the market experience our brand to a whole new level.