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Virtual Reality and Its Effect on the Marketing Industry

Virtual reality is still in its early stages, but what does this mean to us as marketers? Virtual reality gives marketers the ability (and challenge) to think outside the box to provide consumers with not only a product but instead an experience, coming from all angles, literally. With a 360 degree viewing capability, this technology could change the B2B and B2C purchasing experience tremendously.

Customers will no longer be bystanders to the content being thrown at them, and will have the thrill of virtually interacting with their favorite brands on a very personal level.

YouTube is becoming accessible via virtual reality providing marketing professionals the opportunity to hook potential customers through their advertising efforts before the viewer’s desired video starts. This opens a universe full of possibilities, especially videos that don’t allow you to skip the ad prior to starting.

Virtual reality can take a viewer places they never would of dreamed whether it be on a field trip to a far away place, or New York Fashion Week.

These are just a few among many other industries breaking into the virtual reality world.

  • Sports
  • Fashion
  • News
  • Education
  • Automotive

Once a VR headset is engaged viewers are taken out of their surroundings and immersed into a 360-degree visual. Spatial audio allows sound to be heard from every angle making a VR experience even more realistic to real world audio.

Virtual reality, in a sense, is like a 3-D movie on steroids. So how can advertisers make their commercials captivating and memorable before the content that the viewer is actually waiting to see?

Only time will tell, and plenty of kinks will have to be worked out before this becomes an everyday form of marketing.

PSA: while the idea of virtual reality is new and exciting, it’s not for everyone.

Before diving into the use of virtual reality here are some things you may want to consider:

  • You should not use VR if it does not allow your viewer to have an experience that they couldn’t get through any other platform of your marketing campaign
  • Viewers should be placed in your virtual reality world for very specific reasons to take them to a new place and or get them behind the scenes of something relevant to your company
  • Virtual reality could be beneficial to consumers who prefer to shop online to get a better grasp of sizing, and or a closer look of your product v. just seeing it in 1-D on a computer, phone, or tablet screen
  • Event marketing has the ability to thrive with VR as long as where the VR experience is being recorded gives a viewer plenty of visuals to take in, maybe on a remote destination, inside of a video game, or at a music festival

But as an advertiser be cautious of who you target your VR ads to. According to Ad Age, “42% of U.S. online adults have never heard about VR headsets and that an additional 46% say they don’t see a use for VR in their lives.”

Right now according to Yes Lifestyle Marketing, only 8% of marketers are currently utilizing VR marketing. While 8% doesn’t seem like a lot, VR use is projected to reach 154 million people in 2020.

Nowadays the number of daily active users is quite low, but that is expected to change in years to come. Once VR becomes mobile it will become a lot more accessible, but how frequently will it be used?

As of right now only time will tell where new and exciting world of VR will take advertising, so far right now all we can do is strap on a headset and enjoy the ride

Blayzer would love to know about your exposure to VR! What are some of your most and least favorite VR experiences?