What Will VR Mean To Marketing?
VR technology has always been a very cool, fun idea. We have seen it depicted in television and movies which has only driven consumer thirst for the level of immersion that lead characters experienced while using it. Finally that fun idea has turned into an actual reality. Since the splash of functional VR has hit, website development companies have been taking a hard look at virtual reality to see exactly what VR will mean to marketing. Today we wanted to chime in with our take on the subject.
Where VR is at today
Virtual reality has moved from the “cute” tech phase to the “interesting-possibilities” phase as the technology has made significant advances over the past few years. Facebook launched the Oculus Rift in 2012 which was followed by Google’s release of Cardboard in 2014, Samsung’s Gear in 2015 and then PlayStation’s VR in 2016 along with HTC’s Hive.
Currently there are over 40 million VR users worldwide. The Google Cardboard app has been downloaded over 10 million times and there are over 250 VR apps on Google Play. Most of the VR headsets sold are geared to work with mobile devices.
Marketing ad numbers look very good at the moment with both install rates from ads and ad success rates at over 1000% of mobile. However those numbers need to be considered with a grain of salt since the experience is so new, people are more prone to check everything out compared to how many people currently tune ads out on computers and mobile devices.
As it stands VR is a growing market that has a lot of interest from consumers including a large portion of Gen Z. From a marketing perspective VR should look like a freshly plowed field that is just waiting to be seeded.
How will marketing fit into VR?
Marketing and virtual reality ideally will combine in the same way that video content and marketing did. In some ways VR is a hyped up version of that medium. So from that we can draw some parallels on how it could be used.
Now to be fair, some businesses will not need to worry about VR. For certain businesses the idea of VR will not translate into something useful for their brand and voice because their audience won’t want or need to see them in the VR world.
With that being said here are some ways VR can and should be used to help market products or services:
- VR Tours – Businesses that fall under the hospitality genre such as hotels, wineries or theme parks should all look at VR as a way to give customers the perfect tour to help showcase what your business has to offer.
- VR Instructions – Sports instructions of all type, how-to style videos or anything else that currently exists as an instructional video has the ability to become better via VR.
- VR Conferences – If you are hosting a live speaking engagement you can now allow other people to enjoy it via virtual reality.
- VR Content – Video content that is currently being digested by users can be upgraded to VR content or at least should be considered as something to be upgraded.
If you are planning on using VR the main thing to remember is that you should be aiming to provide a complete experience for a user that is better than how they can currently digest content. That means being more immersed, have the ability to see and explore everything you offer, and have sound that matches up properly.
You don’t want users feeling like you provided them a cheap view of VR content that is being utilized simply because it is VR. Instead they should feel the experience is better than what they could find in a two dimensional offering.
The bottom line is that VR has gone from the dream stage to reality which is very exciting. Now that the technology has caught up with our imagination enough to make this tech useful, it is a matter of determining the best way to apply the tech to a business situation in an engaging, immersive manner. How well we can do that ultimately will show what VR can mean to marketing.
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