When you imagine the future, what comes to mind? If your answer is virtual reality, for all intents and purposes, the future is now. Virtual reality (or VR) is no longer just a plot point in a science fiction movie, and its place in the digital marketing world is becoming larger by the minute. Although lately everyone’s been consumed with the idea of augmented reality as the newest digital media trend, virtual reality is one of our new favorite topics around the office. New Jersey advertising agency Digital Insider is happy to provide some insight in the growing digital marketing world of virtual reality, and the opportunities it presents to you and your business.
So what is Virtual Reality (VR)?
In its simplest form, virtual reality is a computer based technology (usually through the use of a headset or large scale digital monitor) that transports the user into a fully immersive and life-like experience through sight, touch, hearing and even smell. You want to go to Paris? Sure thing! VR technology can put you right next to the Eiffel Tower. You want to catch some waves while there’s six feet of snow outside? Not a problem – just turn on your VR headset and it can have you instantly on a surfboard riding the most popular pipelines in Hawaii. Virtual reality replicates a real-life environment to such a degree that it literally transports your senses into thinking you’re actually experiencing events in real-time.
But how does this relate to digital marketing?
Not only does it give you the opportunity to surround your prospects and targeted audience with the full experience of your business, campaign, or product, but it does it in a way that actually puts them in that moment – making the entire marketing experience more interactive, engaging, and memorable.
“What is real? How do you define real? If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.” —The Matrix
Now if you’re someone who believes that virtual reality only lives successfully in a video gamers paradise – think of this. In-game advertising already exists in multiple formats (a recent well-known example is President Obama’s ad placement within 18 different video games for his 2008 Presidential run); virtual reality is the next realistic step forward, not just in terms of gaming, but for all digital marketing campaigns. Imagine having your ad run in a virtual reality platform that is so real, prospective customers react to it the same way they would when they see it in real life – pretty cool, right?
VR has come a long way from Nintendo’s “Virtual Boy” back in 1995. Although currently at the high end of the expense spectrum, VR rigs such as Oculus Rift are out in the marketplace and succeeding where it counts – with better technology, realistic “gameplay”, and customer satisfaction. And when you take into effect that Oculus was purchased by social media giant Facebook back in 2014? You know there’s going to be long-term effects of that decision for years to come within the digital marketing marketplace.
It’s a well-known fact that digital marketing is slowly becoming more and more popular. Virtual reality will also play a hand in that. Think about it – instead of a direct mail or email campaign, you’ll be able to send a virtual reality message that will be completely personalized to a specific customer or prospect. Regular video campaigns have already been proved to create more engagement – can you imagine the possibilities featuring a reality that for all intents and purposes is “real”? And when it comes to content marketing, virtual reality opens the door to creating genuine feelings of the audience due to the real-life experience it provides the user, which in turn forms connections to whatever is featured in VR.
…Wouldn’t it be great if your product or brand was part of that experience?
In the end, there’s not much difference between the virtual reality that captured imaginations in episodes of Star Trek in comparison to what’s being offered today… except for the fact that it’s no longer just science fiction. So when you start to consider new digital marketing tactics and trends, don’t leave out the one that could put your audience right into the palm of your hand. Virtual reality might seem like fiction, but it’s very quickly going to be a reality you want to be a part of.