What The Rise of Virtual Reality Means For Digital Marketers

Virtual Reality VR

Due to the constantly changing digital landscape, advertisers have had to get more and more creative with their advertisements and concepts, As Virtual Reality (VR) hits mainstream it provides an all new era for marketers

Although it’s expensive to get started in VR, there’s a lot of money currently backing it. Big companies like Facebook, Playstation, HTC, Google, and Samsung all have plans for VR headsets. Despite the costs, publishers and advertisers are already buying in. In the US, The New York Times has a VR Editor, CNN has streamed political debates in VR and the rise in platforms supporting 360-degree video has also upped the appeal for virtual reality. YouTube launched it’s 360-degree video channel in 2015 and followed that by rolling out support for 360-degree live streams and spatial audio in 2016. Facebook also supports 360 video.

VR methods in combination with digital marketing strategies can help mold the future of marketing for your brand. For advertisers, the appeal of VR is clear. In an age of ad blocking, VR offers a fully viewable and entertaining experience— but only if it’s done right.

Here’s some ways to embrace VR in your marketing.

Focus on Storytelling

The big advantage that VR has over other forms of media is the immersiveness. When you are in a VR headset, you feel like you’re actually in another place. Use this to your advantage; tell a story, get people interested and let them lose themselves in your content. And make it interactive; engagement in marketing material is much easier to foster with VR as compared to other mediums since there is real interactivity. We retain much more of what we experience in VR than traditional mediums; use this to your advantage!

Education over promotion

For startups, the suggestion is often made to focus on education over promotion. The reason for this is that as a startup your product would often be significantly differentiated from the major players and at that point, target customers learning of the product would buy it regardless of the promotion. This advice isn’t limited to startups though; it is limited by product differentiation.

A VR experience gives your product a differentiation all on its own. When you get your customer into a VR headset and teach them about what they’re buying, the industry, a relevant skill, you become invaluable to the customer, differentiating yourself to a large degree. It is even possible to integrate a social element to the learning process. In this scenario, the customer remembers your message better, and the customer gets to have a lot of fun and learn something at the same time.

Showcase

Remember always, to protect your brand image. Only use VR to showcase the most interesting aspects of your product or service and do not do not cheapen your brand badly thought through VR marketing.  VR is not meant to replace real life; it is supposed to make traditional media more immersive and experiential. Use it as such to increase awareness of and engagement with your business.

Use it to collect data real-time

It is estimated that there are 171-million people worldwide actively using virtual reality in some way- a growth of 168 million since 2015.The VR market is set to grow at an extraordinary rate and therefore the potential for real-time data collection is bountiful and can help businesses make faster changes to marketing decisions.

For example, if a VR-driven marketing campaign produces unfavourable results, a brand can quickly create a digital option that is more suited for the general audience.

Improve your consumer experiences

Improving consumer engagement involves multiple factors and virtual reality is one of those factors. When implemented it can help consumers experience how a product or service works – something as simple as creating a 3D advertisement with the suggestion of using 3D glasses brings boring, flat advertisements to life. Indeed, for startups that are considering virtual reality marketing, 3D options may be a good place to start. It will help your audience learn what to expect in the future and decide if it is the way they want to be marketed to in the digital world or not.

Virtual reality is quickly pairing with digital marketing to become the future of marketing as a whole. Nearly every brand can implement virtual reality in some way to market products and services to consumers. Try to use examples from some of the most impactful virtual reality inclusions by brands as references for implementing real-life simulations into your campaigns.

October 11, 2018