The past 18 months have been huge for virtual reality. In 2016 almost 100 million virtual reality units were shipped and VR as an industry hit the $1 billion mark. Virtual reality may still be in its infant years, but it’s in the process of taking off in a big way.
Google Cardboard is, by some distance, the most popular form of VR with 96% of VR shipping coming in the Google Cardboard form. With a massive price hike separating Google Carboard and the top of the range VR units, Facebook are currently developing a product that sits somewhere in between.
The biggest brands in the world are starting to utilise virtual reality effectively, with Coca-Cola and McDonalds producing notable and impressive campaigns, meanwhile sports teams are using it to sign players.
NBA side Golden State Warriors used virtual reality to sign one of the best Basketballers in the world Kevin Durant to their Franchise, by showing him what it would be like to play on their court, in front of their fans and with their players. It was a huge deal and in British terms it would be like Manchester United using VR to sign Lionel Messi from Barcelona!
With Virtual Reality still very young, there’s no better time for companies to create VR campaigns as they are likely to stand out at this stage, due to the relative novelty element. It also allows companies to play around, so they will already be experts with the technology when it inevitably booms in the coming years.
Perhaps the simplest way of explaining how Virtual Reality can help businesses in a marketing sense is the fact it gives people the ability to try and/or test a product without having to put in any extra effort. The best way to sell something is letting people use it, however with the rise in online shopping this has proven to be an obstacle for businesses and their customers. Virtual reality gives companies an opportunity to give customers a chance to show off how great their product us in a bid to get them to invest in the real thing.
There are also other ways in which companies can utilise Virtual Reality as an effective marketing tool, including 360 videos, games and apps. These games can be used as a way for customers to earn points for in store purchases, or just as way to popularise your brand. Apps can be used in an engaging and interactive way to promote your product.
The opportunities are largely limitless when it comes to Virtual Reality, with a lot depending on how imaginative and out of the box you want to be as a brand. At this stage of its development there’s perhaps never going to be a better opportunity to utilise it as a digital marketing tool. So, what are you waiting for? It’s a whole new world…