Telling an augmented story - how can web-based augmented reality be used in designing narratives for brands?
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[EMBARGOED UNTIL 8/1/2024] The advance of website-based augmented reality (Web AR) enables advertisers to create and lets consumers receive mobile AR (MAR) content easily, necessitating research on Web AR used to design advertising messages and on its effects on different consumer groups. This study examines how a brand story that is designed with high, low, and non- AR content matching through Web AR affects consumers with different levels of imagery ability and captures responses to the story and brand. The sample consists of 290 individuals - sampled to represent the major group of consumers who use AR - recruited by a Qualtrics panel in an online experiment. Results confirm Web AR used to design augmented stories with high levels of content matching outperformed those with low levels of content matching, particularly among those with high imagery ability. Narrative engagement and perceived persuasive intent are two serial mechanisms mediating the interaction between AR content matching and imagery ability on consumers' responses. These findings contribute to advertising theory by providing a constructive theory building block, boundary conditions, and both positive and negative mediating roles, contributing to a more nuanced and comprehensive understanding of AR advertising's effectiveness. This study also found that Web AR provides both potential benefits and drawbacks in practical brand storytelling, suggesting that nuanced strategies for effective design and potential care should be taken due to possible adverse effects of using Web AR in advertising.