How VR Is Changing the Way We Do Online Marketing
This is an article “How VR Is Changing the Way We Do Online Marketing” by Marc Primo
With remote work being the main work environment for most professionals in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual reality (VR) is making headway in the world of digital marketing. But are people ready for ads on their VR headgears, or do they serve as intrusions to an otherwise ‘out-of-this-world’ experience?
There’s no doubt that many believe how VR applications and programs are all intended as video games. The truth is they are not. In fact, an estimated 23 million jobs are expected to use VR or augmented reality (AR) technology by 2030.
In terms of digital marketing, 19% of US consumers already use VR, and the demand for headgears such as the Oculus Quest 2, Valve Index, and the Sony PlayStation VR continue to increase their sales with over 5.5 million units sold in the past year.
So, while we know now that there’s more to just wearing a VR headset than playing games, developers around the world are making progress in disrupting various markets and industries via highly immersive content and applications. Robust growth is further expected for the technology with experts from Digi-Capital marking its market value to over $30 billion in the next few years. So, there’s no question why more businesses today are holding their breaths for VR’s full potential.
For digital marketers everywhere, this is the right time to tap into the world of VR marketing and here’s why:
Making room for virtual marketing via AR
In the same vein how search engine optimization (SEO) updates change quickly, VR marketing development is equally fast so you have to constantly stay on top of it. While there are specifics on how VR can help particular industry sectors such as how auto engineers use VR to model cars or how doctors use the tech to push surgical advancements, there are general updates you can always review to strengthen your marketing efforts.
The recent developments in AR via Oculus Quest 2, wherein users can interact with their surroundings while using their headgears, is one such potential avenue for creative marketing. With the upcoming AR update, marketers can gamify applications and increase their site traffic by looking for lookalike audiences in VR users. Building customer value via AR will soon be the next big thing in digital marketing, and AR is one of the best ways to get that brand edge.
Offering more immersive experiences
Speaking of AR, do you remember how gamers went gaga over Pokémon Go a few years back? The same technology is now being used by such big-name brands as IKEA, which lets VR users preview the furniture they sell on their own homes. The tech is simple enough to use – simply wear your VR headgear and point its tracking cameras to an area in your living room to see how a couch fits your space. Giving users the chance to make smarter decisions before they pull out their wallets is an unparalleled immersive experience in marketing that you can further look into. And since VR headsets are also efficient in tracking user analytics, you can gather more insights on how you can improve your offer presentations via the VR space.
Adding to the mix
Considered to be one of the latest innovations in VR, Mixed Reality (MR) integrates the power of AR and VR in a way that users can have a simulated environmental experience with complementing digital elements.
Microsoft HoloLens is one of the leading pioneers of MR using communication and collaboration to promote ergonomics and enterprise-ready applications in the workplace. This innovation has been used in healthcare, education, and even digital marketing.
Hevolus is another company that has already transformed the customer retail experience and brought it to the VR space. By using its Augmented Store via MR, retail managers can engage with customers remotely while expanding their showrooms virtually.
Leveraging the power of VR
For digital marketers, three main types of VR can help increase numbers significantly fast.
First, there is the non-immersive kind of VR which has been around for years already and doesn’t cost as much as the others. This virtual experience lets users control a computer program via a character. While not as immersive, gamifying your marketing applications and programs remain appealing today as it was before and can offer some nostalgia for old-school gamers.
For more advanced marketers and developers, fully immersive VR gives users complete rein in the virtual world with the use of VR headgears and hand trackers that allow them to react interactively. This could be a fresh way to include ad intrusions into virtual games and let users interact with products via side quests or bonus rounds.
Lastly, there is what’s called semi-immersive reality. Here, users can move around either via a computer screen or while wearing headgear and see their virtual environments for a more realistic experience. This is a good alternative to market your products and services if you plan to focus on mobile advertising and make use of gyroscope functionality.
Being creative in the use of these three types of VR marketing can give your brand a huge advantage and brand presence in all digital platforms out there.
Exploring more possibilities
Even after the pandemic, there’s a big chance that businesses will continue their remote work environments and VR is an efficient way to amplify marketing strategies online. You can create virtual travel tours, apply AR and MR tech to showcase your products, and even hold virtual open houses if you are in real estate.
With the Oculus Quest 2 (which at present is the most affordable headgear around), increasing its storage space from 64GB to 128GB for only $299, expect more consumers to turn to VR for their ads.
Oculus owner Facebook has been pushing to include intrusive ads on the headgears since May of this year, but suffered a blow after Blaston developers retracted from being the guinea pig that will accommodate in-game ads following a huge gamer backlash. Regardless, there will always be more creative ways to push digital marketing into the VR space with more upcoming developments taking effect on VR headgears soon. For every digital marketer, this is the right time to invest in the virtual space.