Are marketing professionals ready for VR and AR?

It’s a widely held view that the next major revolution in the way organisations market their products and services, is a move to more virtual and augmented reality campaigns and projects.

Creating audio visual content that appeals to target audiences is already a priority for any forward looking company. Particularly if it is shareable and engaging on digital platforms, securing views on Facebook and YouTube.

If you combine this with consumer demand for more personalised content, you logically come to VR, and even more so, AR platforms.

The basics of VR and AR for marketing

These concepts have been around for some time, but it’s only recently that the hardware and software has become available to bring them to “life” as a feasible commercial concept. They have passed from gaming to something that could genuinely change the way we promote products and services.

Virtual reality still requires relatively expensive equipment. However, at trade shows, conferences and on promotional stands, it offers brands the chance to immerse users in a completely fabricated world, where anything is possible.

So, from a pop up stand in a shopping centre, you can take the public to a beach, ski slope or even the moon to position and promote your offering. Holidays and real estate can be “experienced” from anywhere in the world.

On the other hand, agumented reality simply requires users to have one piece of equipment – primarily their own mobile devices.

There are, of course, developing applications for Google Glass that are exciting many digital marketing professionals. However, the way AR interplays with existing wearable and mobile technology is the most cost-effective and feasible R&D pathway.

Benefits of AR for marketing campaigns

AR can be used anywhere, under abundantly different circumstances and can reach a much wider audience quickly. It also has the merit of combining both real and virtual stimulation, carrying with it a certain degree of trust and perspective. You are not selling a “dream” – you are applying your product or service to real-world situations and advantages.

Audio visual content via an AR mobile app is semi-immersive, but it is tied to users physically scanning something, providing a higher degree of control over the experience.

With the use of this technology, a poster or billboard campaign becomes a 3D advertising platform and a way of tempting consumers to hunt for more information. A changing room mirror also becomes a place to sell matching accessories or the same outfit in a different colour.

International furniture giant Ikea is currently using an app for iOS users to show how furniture will look in the buyer’s home, before they make their purchase.

Apart from the novelty value (which should never be under estimated in the era of technology-hungry Millennials) this is likely to increase sales. It provides a new level of confidence and improved decision making that can’t fail to win over the hearts (and spending) of customers.

On a similar note, John Lewis tested 360 “shoppable” video ads on Facebook as part of its Christmas campaign. It’s likely this will be the start of more active social media content, though its ROI is as yet unknown.

The way forward for AR and VR in marketing

The next 12 months will no doubt bring more campaigns and trials, to provide “proof of concept” and show how VR and AR can engage consumers. The only truly 100% reliable reality is that sticking to tried and trusted digital marketing methods could mean you are on the way to being left behind.

To discuss how bespoke web applications and mobile apps can keep your company ahead, contact Net Efficiency today.