Innovations in technology continue to impact our roles as marketers, and one of the most intriguing new experiences to enter the landscape in the past few years is virtual reality (VR). If you’ve never experienced VR, you’ll most certainly have the opportunity in the near future. Today, 75% of the biggest brands in the world have integrated VR into their marketing strategy. Given its potential to be a powerful marketing tool, it’s no wonder brands are jumping on board with virtual reality
VR refers to “an artificial, computer-generated environment that uses high-end graphics, as well as audio and aural sensations, to make users feel as if they are in a real world where they can interact with – and sometimes manipulate – what’s around them. Almost all VR experiences are generated through the use of specialized headsets that fully immerse the user in a virtual world.”
Although not yet mainstream, some brands are experimenting with the use of VR in their marketing to create personalized and more engaging experiences for their customers.
According to Hubspot,
- By 2020, the economic impact of virtual and augmented reality is predicted to reach $29.5 billion.
- By the end of 2017, the combined total of VR software and hardware from Sony, Oculus, HTC, and others to reached 5.1 million units. That’s over a 75% increase from 2016.
- By 2020, the number of VR headsets sold is predicted to reach 82 million — a 1507% increase from 2017 predicted totals.
What does this mean for you? If not already, VR is on the horizon for you as a marketer.
Why? VR is incredibly powerful because it allows the user to get up close and personal with certain products – like test drive a car, or experience a resort. From an advertising perspective, VR can be used to improve buyer awareness, speed the purchasing process, and offer a personalized experience.
In addition, think of the advertising opportunities. Virtual reality users are a captive audience. They are fully immersed in the experience, and they aren’t going to remove their headset until the experience is done. Not even if an ad shows up. For marketers – this is incredible. With ads done well, the opportunity to improve the VR experience with advertising is unique.
Mainstream consumer adoption of the technology is key to VR becoming widely used as a marketing tool. But even before that time, now is the time for marketers to begin brainstorming innovative ways their brands can incorporate this technology into their marketing mix.
According to Forbes, “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 or intriguing. Most important, however, is that it’s engaging. In this digital environment, technology like VR can help brands connect with people in a way that brings them closer together because of a shared experience.”
“To hit the jackpot with VR and make it work for your marketing campaign,” says Sergey Grybniak, via Business.com, “you have to be among the early adopters of the technology. VR has the potential to become mainstream, and when it does, your chances of delivering a one-of-a-kind, impactful and immersive experience that leaves a lasting impression on your customers will diminish. And so will your chances to market your product in a way that does not leave prospects and customers indifferent to your brand.”