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simon walker
simon walker 13 August 2018

Virtual Reality Marketing: Is The Next Big Opportunity Already Here?

Virtual Reality (VR) isn’t just for The Matrix anymore!

If you’ve never experienced the world of virtual reality (VR), don’t worry - the next big opportunity is already here. It isn’t just for The Matrix anymore. You’re going to hear this term floating around more and more in the near future.

While consumers are becoming more and more sophisticated and are looking for engaging, interactive and personal experiences, marketers have to employ heightened interactivity and increasingly personalized communications to impress their audiences. Thus, virtual reality marketing has turned into one of the most powerful marketing tools available - 75% of top world brands have already integrated VR into their content strategies. Today, if you’ve decided to create a website and build an online business, virtual reality marketing is the best way to bring people closer to your products.

Below, we’ll outline the basics you need to know to jump on the virtual reality marketing bandwagon, how VR will impact the future of marketing and why you should care.

What Is Virtual Reality And How Does It Work?

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Virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality - these are the terms that will probably revolutionize today’s business world, so let’s break them down.

  • Virtual reality: This is the generalized term for any type of experience that essentially places the user “in” another world or dimension. It may be used in reference to entirely digital worlds, or worlds that incorporate a mix of real and virtual.
  • Augmented reality: This is a term for basically placing content “into” the real world by way of, for instance, using your camera on your phone. The most popular example of this is Pokémon Go.
  • Mixed reality: This is a combination of real content, and digital content that sometimes consists of, for instance, two types of video essentially layered over each other. In this example, the virtual and real things interact with each other.

Altogether, VR technologies allow greater emotional intensity and provide a new layer of user experience. Further, thanks to technological development and lower production costs, virtual reality marketing has become more available for advertisers. It will continue to create the disruption in business models becoming the next major platform shift after the web and mobile devices.

What Is Virtual Reality Marketing?

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VR is all about “immersion” - the upcoming buzzword for marketers all over the globe. Since so many companies are building new products around virtual reality, its popularity has skyrocketed and is predicted to have an explosive growth. VR brings immersion that allows an emotional intensity far greater than traditional media. Computer emulated reality experience is closely related to the idea of telepresence which “makes people feel as if they are actually present in a different place or time”. Virtual reality can be a medium for an engaging storytelling.

Several years ago, The New York Times began a virtual storytelling campaign in which they delivered Google Cardboard glasses to their subscribers in order to watch a VR film. This was brilliant digital marketing -  this experience provided viewers the emotional intensity that has reinforced brand loyalty and gave a chance of experiencing a story instead of just reading it.

Why Should You Care?

Virtual reality marketing enables brand owners to place their brand image closer to the eyes of consumers. VR provides values through new business models and offers users an immersive experience allows them to connect with a product in a new way.

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Here are some recent statistics that prove that you can’t afford to ignore VR technology:

As content becomes more tangible, engagement increases. Innovative brands are already leveraging this technology. For instance, The North Face offered their shoppers an opportunity to hike through Yosemite National Park. This type of immersive experience and strong emotions it triggered is perfect for such a specialized market. People were able to feel feel as if they were actually exploring, thus motivating them to actually have a reason to buy the shoes.

How to Implement VR In Your Content Strategy

Today’s VR-based campaigns prove that now more than ever, innovative marketing strategies involve offering some sort of unique experience. If you are ready to to follow other brave brands implement VR in your content strategy, here is what you need to keep in mind:

1. VR Is The Platform, Not The Message

VR opens the doors to more interactive, creative, and engaging content and adds. However, virtual reality itself should not be considered as your marketing message. The impact VR can make on an ad campaign is huge, and yet it still has to provide valuable branded experiences. While creating your virtual reality marketing strategy, you need keep in mind what your main message is if you want to attract increased customer interest.

2. Think About Your Existing Audience

One of the most important thing is to analyze how the audience consumes your content already. Figure out which channels they use to learn about your company, whether it is social media, YouTube, your website or app. Use Google Analytics and other audience analytic tools to get get deeper insights of your audience and its behavior. Once you know which is the primary medium for your customers, you can incorporate VR content accordingly.

3. Use Immersive Storytelling

Similar to social media, if you don’t live the channel, you’re bound to fail. Back in the days, film was the most immersive storytelling medium. However, people were just watching. Today, virtual reality provides a feeling of presence, which makes it a powerful tool of brand storytelling. Make sure that your virtual reality marketing strategy crafts a strong narrative for your user’s journey within your video. You can make user experience even more engaging by using interactivity and visual and audio cues to make the story more impactful.

 4. Showcase Your Products

Virtual reality marketing provides customers a chance to explore your products without stepping into your store. A great example of this is the IKEA Virtual Store that gives an opportunity to explore room departments at any time. This enabled customers browse and even buy products without leaving their couch.

To Wrap It Up

Virtual reality marketing is evolving and it’s more important than ever to keep your finger on the trends pulse. When VR takes off, brands and advertisers will be able to reach fully immersed customers on a platform unlike any other. Thus, early adopters will have the upper hand in experience and stand out from other competitors.

Nick Miller
Nick Miller

Technologies that provide a “presence effect” and immersion in the virtual space are the future that will change not only our daily communication and interaction with the digital environment, but marketing methods. And while these formats are just beginning to spread among the mass user, marketers need to check guide with examples of use and best practices of VR in marketing - https://bit.ly/2P3nUgE

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