How To Best Use VR In Marketing
The importance of incorporating the power of virtual reality (VR) into modern marketing strategies is paramount. As of the past year, the economic impact of this sector of information technology is projected to reach as high as nearly $30 billion.
By the conclusion of 2017, the number of units shipped in the hardware and software categories of VR from big-name brands, including but not limited to HTC, Sony, and Oculus, totaled nearly $2.4 million up from the prior high of $1.7 million the previous year. Total units sold over the course of 2020 were as high as 82 million units, up over 1,500% from the three years that preceded.
VR is witnessing mass adoption. Therefore, adding it to a business’s marketing channels is something of significant consideration for 2022.
What Is VR?
Virtual reality, often referred to as simply VR, is a type of interactive software designed to fully immerse users in digital three-dimensional environments. This is typically achieved by way of a head-mounted display (HMD) that implements special lenses for the simulation of a real experience. In an ideal world, VR allows users to simulate experiences with 360 degrees of freedom.
A multitude of industries has been finding uses for this technology in order to transport individuals to places they either could only imagine or simply do not have the means to travel to. Film studios, for instance, are providing experiences for audiences to experience a movie as if they are the main character. Furthermore, conventional companies are now utilizing VR to promote and demonstrate the functionality of their products to key customers.
It is critical to note that VR differs substantially from its alternative form, known as Augmented Reality or AR.
Key Marketing Examples
Although some brands have been able to create experiences completely from scratch, the fast-food chain known as Wendy’s has discovered, in recent years, the way in which it could potentially engage with gamers in the virtual world of Fortnite. Despite the fact that such an example is not technically an experience due to the lack of requirement for an HMD, the brand was still able to leverage a virtual world to market products and tell a meaningful story.
In its first-ever Twitch stream, an avatar dressed as the company mascot appeared in the online battle royale title. At one point in the storyline, players were asked to transport beef and hunt cattle to freezers at restaurants nearby. Upon completing this objective, players were rewarded with coins. They then hired a dedicated marketing agency to have the avatar breaking into restaurants and smashing freezers. Similar to a traditional ad, the goal of this particular campaign, outside of engaging audiences, was to remind Twitch followers that Wendy’s works to serve the best tasting, fresh beef to customers.
Mentions of the brand on social media over the course of the stream skyrocketed by as high as 119%. Furthermore, the stream was viewed by a total of 250,000 people. Finally, the campaign succeeded in allowing fans to interact with the stream and post about the brand in the comment thread. This allowed the company values, live stream, and brand to be incredibly memorable to the gaming community.
2. Key Technology
This company, a designer and manufacturer of food processing systems, sets up a VR demo that allowed attendees of the food packaging trade show known as Pack Expo food to experience a hands-on look at how the digital food sorting platform for VERYX works. Such an experience served as part of a comprehensive campaign from business to business to grow awareness of brands across targeted food manufacturer audiences. Consequently, VR provided participants with a unique observation of the process that occurs directly inside of the machine.
Despite the fact that the 360-degree video that’s watchable on YouTube fails to fully replicate the experience, it succeeds in demonstrating the different ways business-to-business industries can leverage VR to immerse people in sophisticated technology.
Pros and Cons of VR for Marketing
- Like any other tool in existence, VR has a number of applications and strengths in addition to others that it’s simply unsuitable for. Therefore, prior to choosing it for a marketing campaign, it’s recommended to view the full picture containing the various pros and cons.
- VR is still quite flashy such that it leaves an everlasting impression. So many individuals are excited to try new gadgets and will generally accept these experiences with great expectations. As a result, it’s very easy to dazzle them with a service/product and imprint it in memory.
- Moreover, the only tools you’ll truly need to deliver such an experience are an HMD and an application. This allows in-person access to company facilities and events. The app can also be made available on the web for existing users to download and try out in private. Aside from showing off something as a product/service, it can be used as an immensely powerful sales tool. This allows clients to quickly learn something, examine it, and order it. Therefore, VR is a practical and fulfilling experience that greatly reduces the number of requests that would be typically addressed to sales representatives.
The vast majority of VR applications are designed to be used by a single-use. This is due to the fact that the creation of shared experiences is far costlier and more time-consuming to accomplish. Such challenges can be overcome by developing multi-user applications that can be accessed over the internet.
Software development in VR is still a very new niche, so the majority of companies don’t house workers that understand the technology. As a result, they must hire specialists to build an application or partner with capable studios for the duration of a project’s lifespan.
The Future of Marketing
VR has an extremely bright future in marketing due to the steadily growing adoption of HMDs and sales forecasts to increase by nearly 30 million per year. Companies from a vast multitude of industries are establishing their own metaverses based on this immersive technology. Demand for the experiences is only projected to increase over time.