Add description for your Article froVirtual reality (VR) and other technologies like augmented reality (AR) and extended reality (XR) have gone mainstream in the past decade, and many institutions have awoken to the benefits of using VR. For example, classroom teaching and workplace training can now be carried out in VR, providing new opportunities for immersive learning.
As impressive as VR has proven to be for education, digital marketing professionals are now using VR to help brands improve engagement with buyers. Andrew Rusnak is the founder of Charlotte Content Marketing, a digital agency providing local marketing in Charlotte NC. He says, “VR for digital marketing means more ways to showcase products and services rather than simply talk about them.” He continues, “I think we’re on the precipice of seeing a big shift in advertising and marketing. What VR provides is a way to sell experiences without leaving home, and this is something a video or online ads can’t match.”
Let’s Back Up – What is Virtual Reality (VR)?
Before going any further, let’s clarify what VR is and what it isn’t. Although the technology is lightyears ahead of where it was just a few decades ago, it still needs work. Virtual reality in its current state still relies on computing power to determine realism. This means that beefy computers and processors are required to create immersive experiences. That being said, current VR can simulate environments well, but some of the most realistic are static environments with little interaction.
Current Uses for VR in Digital Marketing
Currently, VR is used in marketing to provide buyers with an opportunity to experience a feeling, setting, or role. This is done by placing someone using a VR headset in a specific situation. Once inside a VR experience, the user can live out different scenarios according to the limitations of the experience’s programming and hardware.
Some brands are creating customized experiences that inject their products and branding. This is also being done through advertising inside third-party VR games and experiences. Such partnerships could provide opportunities for sponsorship deals and in-app transactions in the future.
Benefits of VR for Consumers
Below are some of the current and anticipated benefits of VR for consumers:
Immersive Brand Experience
Being able to be immersed in a world created by a brand specifically to control the setting means that fans of specific brands can have unique experiences with their favorite companies, mascots, products, and branding assets like logos and colors.
VR content can also be personalized by the brand and/or by the user. This gives customers the chance to experience VR in a way that’s comfortable and engaging for them.
Speaking of engagement, VR is one of the most engaging marketing technologies out there. Because of the interactive nature of VR, new engagement opportunities and longer engagement times are possible.
Enhanced Emotional Connection
The emotional connection that is so central to marketing is difficult to create in the digital realm. Ads and marketing campaigns can only go so far, but VR offers the chance to build actual emotional connections with buyers.
Improved Customer Experience
Overall, the customer experience is improved through VR. This is the type of technology that provides customer experiences that aren’t even possible in the real world, and this can keep customers coming back for more.
Benefits for Marketers
Digital marketing professionals also receive a number of benefits from using VR, including:
Because VR tech is new and innovative, it helps to cement a brand’s place as ahead-of-the-curve. This can go a long way in building trust and authority among clients since clients know their customers will be provided with innovation and excitement.
Enhanced Brand Awareness
Marketers can also rely on VR to build brand awareness. This benefit is especially helpful in a crowded field or competitive industry. For digital marketing professionals, any tool that allows an agency to set a client apart from the competition is a good thing.
Increased Conversion Rates
Conversion rates may also be positively affected by the use of VR. What matters, however, is how VR is used and how metrics are captured. Completing purchases inside of virtual space has yet to catch on in a major way, but in the future, it will likely become much easier to accomplish.
Better Customer Insights
Digital marketing professionals also have the ability to gain greater consumer insights through VR. Aside from the normal demographic information and standard metrics, data gleaned from the use of VR can explore customer habits and interactions. This can also be beneficial when doing A/B testing with focus groups.
Adopting early, digital marketers who embrace VR may gain a competitive advantage. As VR becomes more accessible and useful, clients will demand it. Marketers who already have a background in VR will be ready to take on new challenges while competitors will be only starting out in the field.
Challenges to the Use of VR in Digital Marketing
Although VR is powerful, it is not without its limitations. I covered the technical challenges of VR implementation above, but another aspect of this is the availability of comfortable headsets. Current-generation VR headsets are still bulky, and many are required to be tethered to a computer in order to function.
Additionally, there are ethical concerns over data tracking in a VR space. Marketers also have less control over user-generated content when people get together in VR, and this can be an issue for reputation protection. If someone has a negative experience in VR due to the actions of another individual sharing the space, the brand may get the blame.
Looking Ahead to the Future
While no one knows for sure where VR is heading, current hardware and software developments show promise. In the years to come, the use of VR in everyday life is likely to become mainstream. It may never catch on in the way it’s depicted in sci-fi movies and TV shows, but with greater acceptance and adoption in the workplace, at school, and in medical settings, VR is poised to be a very powerful tool for digital marketers in the near future.