In our world of advanced technology, it seems anything is possible. When it comes to virtual reality (VR), we are looking at a new and intriguing marketing tool that is just now only in its infancy.
What is virtual reality?
Virtual reality is an environment that is artificially generated by a 3D computer program and a specialized headset. When presented to the user, it simulates reality.
What is the current state of VR?
Right now digital marketing using VR is not mainstream. Many brands are in the experimental stages trying to learn how they can provide personalized and exciting experiences for their users.
Here are some ways brands are testing VR:
- Many marketers are experimenting with VR ads to achieve such great immersion that users will not remove their headsets until the end of the ad. In an age where ad blocking is popular, advertisers will really have to make their ads enticing.
- VR sets are expensive and aren’t as sophisticated as they are going to become in the future, so it really hasn’t attracted a large audience yet.
- There is no sure way to know, even if VR does become hugely popular, that it will stay that way. People can be fickle. This creates a bit of dilemma, as VR marketing creation is expensive.
- Big companies are investing in VR. Facebook, Playstation, HTC, Google, Samsung, Lowe’s and the New York Times all have plans to for VR headsets. In addition, YouTube’s 360-degree video channel is up and running. (The Google Cardboard only costs $20, while the HTC Vice costs $800.) Because these large companies are investing in VR, they do have a certain power to shape where technology and media are going.
- By 2020, the economic impact of virtual and augmented reality is predicted to reach $29.5 billion.
- By 2020, the number of VR headsets sold is predicted to reach 82 million-- a 1507% increase from 2017 predicted totals.
The technology is pretty awesome
Right now the two main VR ad platforms are VirtualSky and Immersv. VirtualSky allows advertisers to create ads for more than 4000 VR apps and games. Immersv ad units respond to the gaze: Look at them long enough and you’ll be taken to a virtual movie theater where you can see video ads for other VR games and experiences. Users also have the option to go to the VR platform’s app store to download the advertised app right away, all without ever taking off their headset.
Some VR sets can track eye movements and advertisers can track them to find out exactly what parts of the screen the user is looking at and which parts he’s chosen to interact with.
Those companies who have invested in VR believe it has a real future. For marketers to be successful with this new venue and to reach a completely immersed audience, they have to create ads that are interesting enough for users to interact with. Although there are currently no VR ad blockers, there could be in the future. The worse thing an advertiser can do is to tick off a potential consumer. Showing a boring ad that is interrupting their VR experience could be very damaging for a brand.
Given all of the above, we are investigating the future of VR advertising. It could create a whole new venue for really creative personal injury advertising and it’s exciting to think about. If you have an interest in this form of advertising, start thinking of ways you can effectively use it. We’d love to hear about it.
Group Matrix Blog – May 14, 2018 – by Sharon Bowles