August 31, 2020Comments are off for this post.

Why Brands Should Care About 3D and AR Marketing

A templated Arlene automotive ad including 360/AR elements.

2020 has presented companies with unprecedented challenges. These challenges have increased society’s reliance on websites and apps for purchases, leading to a large spike in eCommerce traffic. The 33% increase from $1.8 trillion in 2019 to about $2.4 trillion in 2020, shows the industry is seeing significant growth as people shop from home and avoid brick and mortar stores.

As eCommerce gains momentum with adoption and retention, brands seek to better digitize their offline experiences for consumers. Through 3D and AR, brands forge a more immersive connection with consumers that leads to a better shopping experience and more purchases.

Evaluate Your Brand’s eCommerce Presence

For perspective, eCommerce platforms generated $25 trillion USD worldwide in 2019, with retail accounting for $3.5 trillion. The growing demand for eCommerce solutions from a digitally savvy consumer has made it essential for brands to maintain a polished online and mobile presence. Businesses of all sizes can scale their online presence with ease thanks to the rise of companies like Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly.

A successful eCommerce strategy requires efficiently bringing customers to the store and increasing their likelihood of making a purchase. Customers respond well to visual cues, with 83% stating a product image influences their purchase. Thinking beyond images, other mediums that can provide visual cues are 3D and AR.

A 3D representation of a product has more visual cues than an image, and AR acts as a multiple to 3D’s visual cues. Using 3D/AR within a product preview will elevate a brand’s shopping experience and accelerate conversion rates by 2.5x.

How Arlene can help

When applied to product try-ons, 3D/AR enables personalization, 63% of consumers reported an improvement in their shopping experience with up to 400% more view-to-cart conversions. While this seems ideal, brands haven’t had the tools to implement these experiences efficiently at scale. In response, Arlene has developed products that democratize 3D/AR for brands and publishers.

Using the concept of templatization, Arlene has created 3D/AR formats that are easy for brands to use to generate ads across web, mobile, and social. The experiences are simple, to showcase the product and focus on ease of use while having a rinse and repeat implementation where attributes can be quickly customized. No files or technical integrations are required for marketers to get started.

Arlene has multi-faceted products that work across eCommerce and advertising, enabling a price structure that’s beneficial for brands looking to reach more people while maintaining cost efficiency.

Above is an example AR furniture preview using Arlene. Consumers can use their mobile device to preview photorealistic products as they would appear in their homes. The brand can also take this experience and extend it through templatized social and programmatic ads. Scan the following barcode to try for yourself!

What's Next

3D/AR technology is evolving and so is Arlene. Looking to the future, Arlene plans to continue building tools that make it easier for marketers and publishers to transact using immersive experiences. The industry remains nascent and Arlene sees opportunities to improve 3D/AR creation processes, bundle data/analytics with machine learning to extract more learnings from 3D/AR, and integrate with other 3D/AR channels (wearables, Unity, etc.).

Want to learn more about using 3D/AR? Please visit Arlene’s website or reach out via email at

August 20, 2020Comments are off for this post.

Remote work as an advantage

Photo credit: Andrew Neel

Like most businesses, Arlene was impacted by COVID-19. From canceled in-person client meetings to delayed sales events, we have been forced to adjust our day-to-day activities with third parties.

Fortunately, Arlene has been a remote-first company since our inception. It’s ingrained into our DNA. While this form of working presents its own challenges, we see a number of advantages.

Elevated Productivity

An advantage of moving the entire team and client base to remote-only is an increase in productivity. There are no more long commutes, unnecessary distractions, or valueless events and meetings that suck up time. We streamline our interactions and operations towards results and growth. The conversation is no longer whether employees put in long hours; instead, it’s whether they add value and efficiently accomplish tasks.

Our employees work on their own schedules. Arlene is not a 9–5 culture. We have employees that start working at 5am and stop by midday. Others work late at night or between other projects. Transparency and communication are essential in maintaining a strong team rapport, especially as employees are working asynchronously thousands of miles apart.

Improved Communication

A remote-first team has forced us to improve our communication internally and externally. Working from home has allowed our team to be flexible with schedules. Several team members have families and young children, so Arlene recognizes that life happens and schedules change. This means irregular communication at times and requires clear instructions and details for all tasks. Slack, Trello, WhatsApp, and G Suite have been essential communication tools for our team.

Beyond internal initiatives, crisp communication is also required with clients in order to reduce back and forth and succinctly communicate our value proposition. Proposals must be visual and outline all campaign specifics in a digestible manner. Many clients haven’t dealt with AR/3D before, so this is also an educational process.

Product & Vision

The consumer experience has changed during COVID-19 as shoppers shift from a mix of online and in-person purchases to predominantly online. This shift from physical retail to eCommerce has opened new product opportunities for Arlene with the increased need for at-home immersive shopping experiences.

Couch example using Arlene’s AR product preview tech.

Consumers are visual shoppers and want the ability to preview products that they would normally evaluate in-store, anywhere in 3D from their mobile device. Better shopping experiences lead to higher purchase conversion rates.

This shift has accelerated the development of our virtual try-on products as well as 3D product previews within client websites. We expect this shift to continue as shoppers grow accustomed to using AR as part of the buying experience.


Raising funds during a pandemic is not an easy task, but our cost structure has gone from a “nice to have” to a “strategic advantage” for investors. While Arlene maintains a distributed workforce, our management team remains centralized and in constant communication.

With a distributed global team, we account for various currencies, time zones, and language differences, which has implications for our management philosophy, payroll, and potential investors. Due to our structure, we’ve raised strategic investments that may not have happened before.

COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of eCommerce, video chat, and immersive experiences such as AR/VR. Arlene’s products sit at the intersection of these industries. However, as COVID-19 decreases and somewhat normal life resumes, Arlene’s products add value in a way that keeps them defensible and relevant.

Organizing Human Resources

Pre-COVID-19 we hired on a rolling basis without a fundamentally sound onboarding process. While Arlene has been a remote-first company, employees frequently had the opportunity to meet up in New York and/or Medellin. The pandemic changed this, particularly for new hires. Interviews and onboarding all occurred virtually and it required developing a better employee onboarding process. This includes clear management ladders, daily scrums, and weekly 1:1s.

As quarantine restrictions ease, Arlene plans to offer more team meet-ups, happy hours, outdoor events, and other activities for the team to bond and connect outside of Slack and daily meetings.

If you’ve seen other advantages of working remotely, please send us a message as we would love to hear your thoughts!

August 13, 2020Comments are off for this post.

Arlene powers social filter awareness campaign for Uplifting Athletes

Uplifting Athletes, a non-profit fighting rare diseases, used Arlene’s Social Filters to amplify brand awareness for their 7,000 Mile Challenge virtual race. They enlisted various teams with the collective goal of actively moving 7,000 miles (running, biking, walking, etc.) to support those with rare diseases. The event was a success with 12,000 total miles run, $50,000 raised across 650+ donations, and 375 sign-ups.

Arlene helped with brand awareness and provided two Instagram AR filters for the event: a branded face mask and a gold medal.

“Working with Arlene for our inaugural 7,000 Mile Challenge helped elevate our event through social media. They took our ideas and created filters that went beyond our expectations. The filters generated engagement and awareness for our rare disease cause. We look forward to working alongside Arlene again in the future!” — Levi Norwood, Chapter Success Manager at Uplifting Athletes.

Face Mask Filter

The Uplifting Athletes “Face Mask” was run as part of a pre-event social media campaign, using a symbol of the times to drive awareness around an upcoming event. Several event organizers and micro-influencers posted stories using the filters, urging users to register for the event.

The filter generated thousands of organic views with 7.1% user engagement (viewers tapping to try the filter.

Microinfluencer @bri_norwood promoting #7KMC with Arlene’s face mask filter.

Gold Medal Filter

A second filter featuring an AR gold medal was used for post-event drip engagement. Event participants and leaders used the filter as they shared results and encouraged additional donations. This filter received a 13.7% engagement rate.

Uplifting Athletes Chapter Success Manager, @levi_norwood recapping the #7KMC event using Arlene’s gold medal filter.

Conclusions and next steps

AR is engaging but it requires promotion for people to know when to interact. With Uplifting Athletes, views and opens spiked when event influencers promoted the face mask early in the campaign. Organic engagement decreased without sustained promotion. We saw similar behavior with the medal, where engagement spiked on days it was promoted. With a longer promotional cycle, we will see increases in overall visibility, conversion, and engagement.

Simply creating an AR filter will not change a business or drive sales. AR filter campaigns should define KPIs and optimize towards driving specific audience behavior.

For upcoming campaigns, Uplifting Athletes and Arlene will expand brand awareness initiatives and test performance-based AR/3D experiences to drive donations/registrations.

Arlene also plans to boost campaign reach through verified influencer networks, increased frequency of posts, and paid promotion (programmatic and social ads).

Arlene and Uplifting Athletes plan to use social filters to drive registrations, donations, and other performance-based KPIs for future events.

August 4, 2020Comments are off for this post.

Diversity, Arlene, & AR

Arlene strives to democratize 3D and AR experiences so that any person or brand can deliver AR ads at scale. For our products to serve everyone, we must be inclusive of everyone. We commit to making diversity, equity, and inclusion part of our DNA — from how we build products to how we build our team. Arlene is an ally to underrepresented groups and will fight racism, bigotry, and hate.

Diverse people, experiences, and thought drive progress at Arlene. We’re proud to hire and do business with black, Latinx, female, LGBTQ+, veteran, and all groups that have been underrepresented.

Levi’s Pride AR experience on Snapchat. Photo credit: Levi Strauss

As an early-stage startup with few resources, here are a few commitments we are making to take action:

  • Increase the focus of hiring underrepresented employees for Arlene’s team.
  • Implement fair hiring practices. Recruit from diverse pools and sources that are underrepresented (e.g. historically Black colleges, lower-income coder programs, etc.).
  • Place additional emphasis on soft skill evaluation.
  • Have the awareness that advertising products can positively and negatively affect certain people, groups, and causes.
  • Work with partners and customers who share and live our values.
  • Fundraise from investors who have diverse and ethical portfolios/teams.
  • Recognize the full range of skin tones before releasing face/skin-recognizing AR experiences.
  • Feature a diverse range of skin tones in product demos and content marketing.
  • Look for ways to support underrepresented communities using our technology. E.g. use our social filters products to promote and drive donations for nonprofits and activists.

We look forward to gathering feedback from candidates, employees, and partners to ensure Arlene is a fair, equitable, and safe place to work. There is much work to do, and we pledge to listen, learn, and take action to make Arlene an inclusive and diverse workplace.

Please send us a message if you’d like to learn more and/or have thoughts on how tech startups can do better to be more inclusive and hire more diverse talent.

July 28, 2020Comments are off for this post.

Why Brands Struggle with AR

KAWS exhibit featured in Acute Art’s AR app. Photo credit:

The international market for AR products will increase by 80% to reach $165 billion by 2024 and nearly 70% of consumers expect retailers to integrate with AR technology by 2021. Today, 61% of consumers prefer to shop at eCommerce stores that offer an AR shopping experience, and up to 40% of these consumers actually end up purchasing a product once they’ve experienced it through AR.

While many brands recognize this opportunity, very few have moved beyond the experimentation phase and even fewer consider AR an integral part of their marketing strategy.

Augmented reality helps brands drive tangible business outcomes and create memorable experiences that keep customers coming back to the brand, but there are several challenges that brands face as they scale up their AR efforts. Specifically, companies are wrestling with obstacles related to market maturity, campaign impact measurement, limited understanding of the technology, and the overall disconnect between a brand’s marketing strategy and the AR technology being used.

Demand exists, but platforms lack accessibility

Augmented reality should be simple to implement and easy to replicate. Many brands fail to progress past AR experimentation simply because they cannot find a platform that makes the creation and implementation of AR seamless enough. This is rooted both in brands’ misunderstanding of how the technology works and in limited exposure to the available platforms designed to help brands curate AR content.

To date, most AR solutions are tailored towards enterprise-level business and walled gardens.

Issues with market maturity and limited successful track records

Many brands are focused on the awareness and consideration stage when utilizing AR as a marketing tool. Few have seen a proof of concept showing that the use of AR does indeed lead to purchase intent and ultimately incremental sales. As a result, there is a common perception that overcoming these hurdles will require too large of an investment and will outweigh any tangible benefits.

Similarly, brands are unsure how to accurately measure ROI — a problem that can be overcome with widespread AR adoption leading to more robust metrics. Industry benchmarks would allow peers to gain comfort by taking a data-driven approach to testing AR.

Foot Locker used AR ads on Snapchat to boost Air Jordan sales. Photo credit:

Despite cautious sentiments, a few early trailblazers have successfully utilized AR as a core marketing strategy.

  1. Michael Kors saw 10x higher performance on AR virtual try-on ads compared to static banners.
  2. Foot Locker AR ads averaged 45 seconds in dwell time per user.
  3. Home Depot’s AR ads saw 2+ min average engagement and 12.5% CTR

Bridging the gap between the brand, technology, and customer

For brands, marketers struggle to create AR content that fits into a broader, cohesive marketing strategy. Brands need to align their marketing strategies with appropriate technologies that best leverage their brand values.

A great AR experience is only half the battle — curating meaningful content starts in the ideation phase when brands answer what it is they are trying to accomplish with AR and how they can provide customers the most immersive experience to achieve that goal.

Final thoughts

While obstacles remain regarding adoption, industry metrics, and implementation, wider adoption will drive marketers to overcome these barriers. Arlene strives to democratize AR by providing a simple turnkey solution that ensures brands can provide customers with the most authentic immersive experiences at scale.

Stay tuned for more blog posts that dive deeper into Arlene’s products and vision.

Want to learn more? Contact us at

July 21, 2020Comments are off for this post.

Introducing Arlene

eCommerce is growing rapidly and brands are seeking ways to better digitize offline brick and mortar experiences. 3D/AR technology allows consumers to preview and engage with photorealistic objects, creating moments that increase conversions by 2.5x and reduce product returns by 20%.

Due to 3D/AR’s nascency, there is a high barrier of entry for brands to test the waters and quickly validate whether this new format provides incremental value. Brands see value, but don’t want to deal with the hassle of finding 3D design talent and the relevant distribution channels.

We’re excited to introduce Arlene, a platform that democratizes 3D/AR by making it easy to run cross-channel immersive experiences at scale. Arlene goes beyond building and hosting 3D/AR experiences and provides turnkey tools that allow brands to easily generate 3D and AR-based experiences that can be programmatically extended across web, app, and social channels.

We’re fortunate to have great launch partners. Early campaigns include:

Check out more examples on our YouTube channel.

Example Arlene social filter created for @jordanluca_official on Instagram

In the pipeline, we’re building exciting new products allowing us to tap into an influencer, brand ambassador, and affiliate networking platforms. We’re preparing pilots involving brands in the pet, cosmetics, health, and travel verticals.

If you are interested in using our platform, please send us a message!