In part one of this two-part blog, we talked about the ways that virtual reality is changing the web, and how marketers are using VR to create awesome campaigns. In part two, we’re going to explore why virtual reality beats 2D imagery for exciting and engaging audiences.
“It’s all going one way, heading towards virtual reality. It’s not just taking up your peripheral vision in stereoscopic 3D, it’s 360-degree vision in stereoscopic 3D. There’s not a single business in the world that couldn’t benefit from it. It’s a more immersive way to tell a story, it’s a more immersive way to see a product.” – Mike Woods, Executive Creative Director of Framestore.
Virtual reality has a number of key benefits over standard, two-dimensional visual marketing. Once inside the headset, users are completely immersed in the content. They are experiencing fewer distractions, and unlike social media, they cannot scroll down!
Audiences become basically a captive audience whilst engaged in your VR experience; paying more attention to the message. Equally, the emotional impact of a VR experience has been well-documented. An article by Michael Madary and Thomas K Metzinger point to evidence of “a lasting psychological impact after subjects return to the physical world”.
Location-based marketing in VR isn’t limited to travel, or even the property industry (which is seeing perhaps the best results from virtual tours). Retail is also killing it – with fashion brands using VR to transport users to Fashion Week runway shows (Dior, Topshop), and even browse bricks and mortar stores at home. As Uri Minkoff, the CEO of Rebecca Minkoff has said:
“[With an at-home headset], you can be anywhere — New York or Dubai — and step into a Rebecca Minkoff or a Barneys or another branded shop and get the store experience with the headset,”
Bearing all of this in mind, ultimately the balance and decision should be determined by the end game requirements of the marketing team. For an audience to feel an experience, yes, you need to be immersed, but to use something to enhance sales ROI, the user needs to be able to interact and other options may prove better for them; neither is right or wrong.
Of course, the key benefit to the use of virtual reality in marketing is its novelty value. Now is perhaps the best time to start engaging your brand audience with virtual reality experiences. Early adopters, as with any new technology, will reap the full benefits of its use, garnering strong favourable media exposure and igniting the imagination and memory of consumers. Whilst the novelty value will, no doubt, be less as adoption grows, it will settle into a state where it is the norm, and when that day comes – everybody will be doing it.