It’s the new buzzword around town: virtual reality (VR). This piece of revolutionary technology is finally at our fingertips, allowing users to not just read brand messages, but to experience them. Although this technology has been around for decades, it is only recently that smartphones have made VR technology accessible. VR is a powerful mechanism which shares its messages and stories in deeper, longer lasting ways than traditional text, still images and video. Statista has predicted that by 2018, there will be 171 million active VR users, and this figure is only growing. The big question is, is it possible for you to leverage VR to connect with consumers?
What is VR?
VR is simply the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment where users are immersed and able to interact with 3D worlds. Our digital world has gone from reading text, to seeing images, to watching regular and 360-degree videos, to VR, where you are immersed in a virtual world which you feel a part of.
Who is using VR?
Described as ‘Google Street View on steroids’, VR is becoming exceptionally valuable to the tourism industry. Customers are able to walk around the coolest destinations before even buying a plane ticket! In fact, Thomas Cook launched a ‘try before you buy’ strategy where they offered a 360-degree navigable experience to their customers, and in return yielded a 40% ROI in VR gear as well as a 190% increase in bookings for New York. However other major brands such as Marriott, Patron, Volvo, Topshop, New York Times, McDonalds and Etihad Airways have all played their part in bringing VR into their marketing to bring inspiration, engagement and impact to their campaigns.
You can also use VR - You only need a smartphone and a cardboard or nylon viewer to experience an interactive 3-D virtual world. Check out these ones from our website below:
What can You learn from VR?
Although it may not seem realistic to jump on board the VR hype now, your chance to get involved may be sooner than you think. Sarah Hill, CEO for StoryUP and a pioneer for VR storytelling said “The world is no longer flat. The internet is fast becoming a place you step inside. Just as you had to make your site responsive for mobile, so too will you have to make it responsive for VR”. A report from Goldman Sachs also claimed that there are qualities in VR “that can take this from niche use case to a device as ubiquitous as the smartphone”.
Just as brands are now sharing more photos and videos than text, there where will come a time where VR is considered normal, sharable content. However if your brand is among the first to use VR, you can be sure that it will impress a lot of your customers; Greenlight Insights found that 62% of consumers say they would feel more engaged with a brand that sponsors a VR experience, and 71% of consumers think a brand is forward thinking if it uses virtual reality.
So what do you think could be in the future of VR marketing? Perhaps a virtual gallery for photographers, a virtual clothing store using hand controllers to add items to your virtual basket, or a virtual house showroom for real estate agents?
Take a look at our virtual reality glasses.