Post by Nicholas Wilkinson, Performance Content Specialist
The iconic scene in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report gave us a glimpse into the future of virtual reality (VR) with a bombardment of ads appearing out of thin air, calling your name and asking about those jeans you bought. As VR has the potential to integrate into our lives like smartphones have, marketers must evolve their approach to effectively connect with users on this emerging digital frontier.
CURRENT INDUSTRY TRENDS
Marketers are beginning to develop immersive branded experiences as VR industry leaders (i.e. HTC, Google, PlayStation, Samsung and Facebook) rapidly enhance the accessibility and usability of this technology. Google’s Daydream offers companies the opportunity to create an app within its platform that already hosts a range of games, entertainment and experiences of famous global landmarks. Facebook, owner of Oculus Rift, is seeking to connect with brands that are interested in specialized virtual content and product placement.
IMPACT ON PERFORMANCE CONTENT
The incredibly immersive experience of virtual reality offers significant opportunity in regards to performance content. VR will take engaging content created for users to the next level to create unforgettable brand experiences that will be constantly improved by complex tracking tools.
Forrester has cautioned marketers to, “steer clear of using VR as an ad pushing channel, but rather, focus on a more immersive, social and shareable experience”. To spark your imagination, we have collected our favorite examples of brands taking virtual users for a ride:
- Vroom has developed a ground-breaking VR car dealership that has propelled them to hit $1 billion in car sales this year
- Realestate.com.au has developed an app on Google Daydream to save you from those tiring house-hunting weekends with VR home inspections
- Qantas has been exceptional in optimizing the VR process through:
- Informing customers with a virtual experience of their premium flights
- Entertaining customers with a simulated climb of the Sydney Harbour Bridge
- Plus driving conversions through the option to ‘Book Now’ to make it all come to life.
ESSENTIAL STEPS TOWARDS VR
Gaining an advantage in the emerging field of VR before it becomes a key element of your competitors’ strategy requires careful planning and strategy.
You must think beyond the publicity stunts to build a sustainable performance content strategy in VR.
- Provide your marketing team with exposure to a VR experience to ignite strategic ideas to enhance your content
- Review existing content and most valuable micro-moments to identify opportunities where tools such as 360-video and VR could enhance it even further
- Optimize mobile content with the option to experience the content in VR
- Identify popular virtual reality games and reach out for sponsorship opportunities to place your brand in the centre of this emerging space
- Take inspiration from innovation leaders in your industry that have already adopted VR and create an app on Google’s DayDream that captures a specific product, tour or story-based entertainment to attract consumers’ attention
- Keep in mind the primary purpose you are trying to communicate through your content and ensure that the use of this technology enhances and reinforces this purpose.
Even if consumers are unable to take part in the VR experience, Greenlight has found 71% of consumers think a brand is forward thinking if it uses VR and 53% said they would be more likely to buy from a brand using VR vs. one who did not.
THE VIRTUAL ROAD AHEAD
The impact of VR on the marketing industry will continue as brands strive to deepen connections with consumers. We will see more 360 video and increased capabilities in tracking consumer’s attention and emotional response to marketing through eye tracking and voice search. This will provide high quality tangible feedback on marketing effectiveness and future advancements. Companies that do not have the resources for a full-scale immersive experience are able to use VR through product placement, pre-roll and post-roll ads within popular VR content. Additionally, VR in gaming will continue to expand through branding, partnership and collaboration. Red Bull has led the way with a VR simulation of their famous Red Bull Air Race.
In terms of analytics and tracking, Vertebrae, a leading VR marketing solutions provider, helps brands focus on data around exposure, engagement time and interaction. This kind of advanced tracking can provide measurable outcomes to quantify and improve VR marketing effectiveness.
If not already, it is imperative that brands leverage VR to engage with their customers on deeper levels. Marketing is going to be central to the development of the VR environment, as it will provide the opportunity for developers to offer free VR content with support from advertising revenues. As both fields continue to develop together, VR will take center stage in the purchase funnel. To find out how your brand can stay ahead within the VR market place, contact Performics today.