marker based ar

What Is Marker Based AR?

What Is Marker Based AR?

Before you need to know what marker based AR is you may be wondering what Augmented Reality is. If this is you, check out this article. 

Marker based AR, also known as image recognition AR, requires a trigger photo or QR code to activate the AR experience. The user can scan the marker using their phone camera and the digital experience will appear on top of the marker. This allows the user to move around the marker and see the digital experience in 3D.  Burger King did a genius marketing campaign, “Burn That Ad” featuring marker based AR. Users could point their camera at the marker: a McDonald’s print, coupon or billboard and the app would make it appear as if it were catching on fire, leaving a coupon for a free whopper. 

Marker based AR can be cloud-based or localized to the device. A localized AR experience can be viewed immediately because the AR assets are pre-downloaded to the users device through the app. A cloud based AR experience can take a few minutes longer to load because the AR assets need to be downloaded from the server. You may want to go with cloud based AR for increased storage capabilities while, localized AR is independent of network availability and less costly.  

It is important that the marker is unique so that the camera can recognize it. Good markers can include logos, packaging, posters, bottles, machinery and more. Images with distinct corners, colors and edges work best. 

Marker based AR is perfect for marketing and gamification use. It is proven to increase engagement for your brand through the use of marketing materials. Forget the boring static materials of the past, brands are now able to set themselves apart and provide customers with fun and engaging brand experiences.  


  • Simple and user friendly for first time AR users 
  • Tracking is very stable with marker based AR 
  • Minimum production cost 


  • Only works when the camera is near the marker 
  • If the marker image has light reflecting, it causes issues with the AR overlay 
  • If there are not strong contrasts between colors the tracking will be unstable 
  • One last con is the app relies on the existence of a separate asset such as marketing material to launch the experience. While marker-less AR can be used anytime and anywhere.  

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