Technological innovations continue to impact digital marketing, and perhaps one of the most intriguing tools to enter the landscape in the past few years is virtual reality (VR).
Virtual reality refers to an artificial, computer-generated environment that uses cutting-edge graphics, as well as audio and aural sensations, to help users feel as if they’re in a real world where they have the freedom to interact with – and sometimes manipulate – what’s around them. Most VR experiences are usually generated through the use of specialized headsets that fully immerse a person in the virtual world.
Although the use of VR in digital marketing has not yet taken off and gone mainstream, some brands are trying to experiment with this technology to create a more personalized and engaging experience for their customers; this makes sense considering the fact that it’s a technological device that’s expected to play a major role in the way business operate their product, according to Ohio University.
If you’re intrigued by the different possibilities that VR provides but are unsure how to shape it to the unique needs of your company, here are some examples that just might give you the inspiration you need to kick start your own VR marketing campaign.
Stepping into the World of Virtual Reality
One of the biggest benefits of VR marketing is that it allows people to fully immerse themselves in an experience that may be funny, emotional and/or intriguing. Most important, however, is that it’s engaging. In this environment, for example, technology like VR can help brands connect with people in a way that brings them closer together because of a shared experience.
Home builders and real estate professionals might benefit the most from VR, considering the fact that they’re dealing with people going through difficult life changes, and dealing with buyers who are essentially investing their whole life savings into a project. So, providing potential buyers with high definition photos and 3D video tours is vital to your company’s success.
Today’s virtual reality climate is similar to how mobile devices were several years ago. In other words, everyone knew that the mobile industry would be huge and their predictions were proven correct. This is the space virtual reality currently occupies. The VR industry is growing, and at a rapid pace. In fact, Goldman Sachs predicts an $80 million market for VR and augmented reality by 2025.
Tell a Story
Virtual reality allows for customers to get away from the traditional pictures of products and/or services. In other words, if you’re going to use immersive technology such as VR, ensure that you are telling a story. In November of 2015, Google distributed over 1 million cardboard glasses to allow viewers to watch the film “The Displaced,” a movie about 60 million being displaced from their homes by war and persecution. In May of 2016, the New York Times later distributed 300,000 of the glasses with the film “Seeking Pluto’s Frigid Heart.” While newspapers and magazines are considered an old form of media, VR is allowing for a new way to tell stories.
The challenge for brand and marketers will be to ensure the content they produce within VR is interesting. In all honestly, VR is cool, but if what you’re watching is boring you’re not going to end up with customers who will make a purchase. Companies need to focus on effectively communicating their brand message and creating a whole world, rather than just advertising a still image to potential buyers. While there are no ways to block ads within VR at the moment, companies and advertisers don’t want to risk damaging their brand by ruining a customer’s VR experience with a bad ad. Advertising done correctly, however, will allow consumers to engage and interact with the content.
Why Should Companies Care About Virtual Reality?
The answer’s simple. The future of VR can, in fact, improve work industries such as e-commerce, travel, advertising, dating, and yes, even real estate. While many are nervous how VR will impact our society, health and social skills, there are endless possibilities and benefits to the growth of VR.
According to Forbes, the explosion of VR will force numerous industries to adapt to its technology as consumers will be expecting more and more VR experiences. With virtual reality, developing and gaining popularity at an alarming rate, the business world must either adapt to it or lose against it.
Thanks for the read! Did I miss anything important? What are some other reasons companies should consider using VR? Feel free to leave a comment below.
Herman Davis enjoys being active and finds any excuse to go outside and explore the outdoors. If you can’t catch him online, you might be able to catch him working out at the gym, or cheering on the Boise State Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at @Davis241. Thanks!