Looking to use virtual reality in your marketing efforts? Virtual reality is an advanced form of video that brings you into another world.
Like we discovered in our previous post on Voice Search, technology today feels increasingly unlike how we know it.
Today, we often don’t have to deal with technology manually. For example, we can activate it by voice. As a result, you can kid yourself it’s not really technology. At least, not like you know it, with its loading circles and ‘Not Responding’ messages.
Just like our internet searching behaviours, video marketing is advancing too.
These days, it sometimes doesn’t quite cut it to watch a series of assembled clips.
You’ve seen that before, and you know it’s been carefully moulded to a specific formula. It’s made to get your attention in the first few seconds and most importantly, follow through.
So what’s the alternative? The answer is almost a paradox.
Virtual reality in marketing
Virtual reality takes you back to basics. It simulates a ‘real’ environment where you can control where you look and travel to. In addition, it’s not crafted with a clear beginning, middle and end.
However, virtual reality is still very advanced technology that not everyone can get their hands on.
Not only marketing uses virtual reality, as medical training and dementia treatment has also benefited.
Virtual reality is immersive storytelling that intends to simulate stripped-back reality. Yet, it is also rich with creativity and originality.
We should also turn to the numbers. The size of the global Virtual Reality market is expected to reach $22.9 billion by the end of 2020. Furthermore, 90% of people in the US and UK aware of Virtual Reality.
Why do people like virtual reality?
People want virtual reality because they know they can cut through the barrier between where they are and where they want to be.
For example, being really ‘at’ a far-away location. 360 videos allow you to move the perspective as if you’re actually turning around.
Alternatively, customers may want a particular product in their virtual ‘hands’. Or the next most convincing thing to it.
Examples of virtual reality videos include:
- ‘Try before you buy’ experiences.
- Virtual tours.
- Stories in which you are a character.
Regardless how you use it, VR will help a brand to reach more consumers. This is because it gives the viewer almost no choice but to view the experience as ‘reality’.
After this, they’re more likely to want to buy it in real, real life.
It’s also still relatively new territory. This means that if your brand uses VR in their marketing strategy, and uses it well, you’ll be seen as a trailblazer. This will up your brand recall.
Here are some notable examples of how big brands have used virtual reality in marketing.
Virtual reality to sell a product
IKEA – A kitchen in virtual reality
IKEA released a virtual reality experience that uses room-scale motion tracking. The experience simulates moving around one of their kitchens, and doing pretty much anything you like.
IKEA says that in the experience you can: “Open drawers and oven doors. Recycle the vegetable skins in the waste sorting station. Browse the new IKEA Catalogue, discover the pencils, pick up a frying pan and place it on the stove…”
They’ve definitely thought of everything. You’re even able to throw their famous meatballs around. Not exactly what you’d be doing every day in a brand new IKEA kitchen.
Nevertheless, it adds extra amusement for people who’ve already raved about those meatballs!
With this feature, IKEA combines informative content with a bit of humour. As a result, this good combination keeps viewers engaged.
Furthermore, the experience doesn’t stray far from what it’s trying to sell. This could be seen as good or bad – maybe they could have been more adventurous?
Volvo – XC90 SUV Test Drive
Think about the time it would save if you were able to test drive a car from your sofa.
It’s like reading the menu before you get to the restaurant, but actually being able to taste the food… without losing your appetite.
In fact, not losing your ‘appetite’ for the product is important. This is because you wouldn’t want to go and buy the real thing.
Volvo’s 2019 Test Drive app for their then-new XC90 Luxury SUV offers a multi-layered experience. This is not just of the car’s interior, but its surroundings and the road itself.
Shot in Vancouver, this virtual reality combines 360-degree live-action video with the computer-generated car interior.
It’s an upgraded version of a racing game that goes one step further by linking back to a real product. It tells viewers they could experience it for real.
Using virtual reality for good
The Displaced – 360 VR Video
Although 5 years old, this video is still just as effective and relevant. The Displaced immerses viewers in the war-torn homes of displaced children.
This experience is much more impactful than a series of pictures. This is because it simulates the harrowing experience of that being your home, too.
Videos like these encourage viewers to help fight the issues they illuminate.
However, virtual reality can play an even more active role in helping others. This is by using the freedoms of the technology itself.
BBC News – How virtual reality is helping people with dementia
An Oxfordshire carehome trialled Virtual Reality Therapy, which helps people with dementia regain their memories. Virtual reality helps by creating reminiscent and tailored experiences for its users.
For example, one user was a man who enjoyed the birth of rock and roll in England. He was presented with a dancehall experience, complete with the music of the time.
People tailor the technology to the user’s needs. It’s also designed to be comfortable, rather than confusing or distressing.
Beyond these uses, high-consequence training is increasingly using virtual reality. This includes healthcare and the military.
45% of people in these kinds of industries consider virtual reality training as highly important.
Virtual reality is definitely here to stay. This is evident in the number of areas it impacts, and the ways it can be effective.
It also means that your marketing should be going, hand-in-hand, with it.
Read more of our video marketing insights and tips on our blog here.