Author: Bob Nov 21, 2023 9 min read
Virtual reality is taking the world by storm with so many new devices and applications it’s hard to follow them all. In 2022, the market share of VR grew to $79.36 billion and is expected to skyrocket to $435.36 billion by 2023, with a staggering CAGR of 27.5%.
With how turbulent the real world can be, it’s hard to blame people for wanting to escape into a virtual reality. However, this poses a new challenge and a new opportunity for marketers. Virtual reality is a massive untapped market ripe for the taking.
In this article, we will explore VR marketing with its benefits, strategies, and glowing examples.
The concept of marketing in virtual reality isn’t hard to grasp because it is exactly what it sounds like. Using VR for promoting your product can come in various forms. For example, instead of reading a text, you can watch and listen to a 3D avatar tell you about it and show it to you in real time.
Marketing in VR involves the use of VR headsets, 3D environments, and interactive content to captivate and immerse the audience in a brand’s message or products. Unlike traditional marketing channels, such as television or print, virtual reality marketing allows consumers to actively participate in the marketing campaign, providing a more memorable and personalized experience.
Together with augmented reality, they are branded immersive media. The idea is to transport users into a digital environment where they can interact with products, explore virtual showrooms, or take part in branded experiences.
Before we dive deeper into the hows and whys of marketing for VR, let’s look closer at the reality behind virtuality.
Only 19% of Americans have donned a virtual reality headset. The global number comes up to only 171 million, or roughly 2.1% of the global population. Compared to something as massive as the entirety of the Internet or social media, that is a drop in the bucket.
The problems with VR are numerous:
Nevertheless, the perspectives of VR in marketing seem to be positive because:
If you’re not using virtual reality for marketing right now, you are not losing tons of customers. However, as the technology behind immersive marketing becomes more prominent and readily available, this niche has the potential to overtake other forms of marketing.
Virtual reality digital marketing is a new and prospective direction that has many unexpected uses. Here are 3 examples of VR marketing done right.
‘The Displaced’ by the New York Times is a heart-wrenching multimedia experience. Using text, photography, and virtual reality, the journalists partnering with Vrse.works created an absolute gut punch of a story about three kids displaced by wars in their countries.
This novel approach took the “show, don’t tell” method to new heights. The story is deeply personal, which is further enhanced by the ability to watch it from the first person and interact with it.
In the wide eye, migraines are often considered to be equal to headaches. They’re not, and GSK showed this with their VR Exedrin Migraine Experience.
This educational experience shows how visual symptoms of migraine, such as auras and light sensitivity, can impair the livelihood of ordinary people, and that is without including mind-splitting pain.
On a more positive note, Volvo showed how VR and marketing can work together to create immersive and breathtaking experiences. The company created a VR experience that took users on a cozy weekend ride in its XC90.
The adventure featured picturesque mountain views along with a closer look at the model’s interior. With the help of the budget Google Cardboard, the application branded Volvo Reality reached over 20,000 users, many of them asking for more details on the vehicle.
Your virtual reality marketing research would not be complete without knowing the benefits VR brings to marketing. Let’s look at what benefits VR brings to marketing.
VR marketing excels in creating immersive and memorable experiences that leave a lasting impact on consumers. When users put on a VR headset, they are transported to a virtual environment where they can interact with products, explore virtual spaces, and participate in brand experiences. This level of immersion makes your marketing message more vivid and memorable, increasing the chances of your brand sticking in the minds of your audience.
Virtual reality marketing has the power to evoke strong emotions. Whether it’s the thrill of a virtual roller coaster ride or the serenity of a virtual tour through a picturesque landscape, VR can create deep emotional connections with consumers. This emotional engagement can lead to increased brand loyalty and customer retention.
VR marketing allows for a high degree of interactivity and personalization. Users can actively engage with products, making choices and experiencing scenarios in a personalized manner. This not only makes the marketing content more engaging but also provides valuable insights into consumer preferences and behavior, helping you tailor your marketing strategies more effectively.
For industries such as real estate, automotive, and retail, VR provides a powerful tool for product visualization. It allows customers to virtually “try before they buy.” They can explore properties, test drive cars, and even try on clothing or accessories in a virtual environment. This enhanced product visualization can lead to more confident purchasing decisions.
In a competitive marketplace, standing out is essential. VR marketing offers a unique and innovative way to engage with consumers. By adopting VR, you demonstrate your brand’s commitment to cutting-edge technology and forward-thinking marketing strategies, setting yourself apart from competitors who may still rely on traditional marketing methods.
VR marketing platforms have the ability to collect valuable data about user behavior and interactions within the virtual environment. This data can offer valuable insights into customer preferences, interests, and pain points. Armed with this information, businesses can refine their marketing strategies, create more personalized content, and make data-driven decisions that improve ROI.
VR transcends geographic boundaries, enabling you to reach a global audience. Whether it’s a virtual store accessible from anywhere in the world or a virtual tour of a travel destination, VR marketing can extend your reach far beyond the physical limitations of traditional marketing methods.
Storytelling is at the heart of effective marketing, and VR takes storytelling to a whole new level. Brands can create immersive narratives that captivate and emotionally engage consumers, enabling them to step inside the brand’s story and become active participants in it.
While virtual reality marketing holds immense promise and potential, it also comes with its share of challenges and pitfalls. Let’s look at the key challenges associated with virtual reality and marketing.
One of the most significant barriers to VR marketing adoption is the cost associated with creating VR content and the need for specialized hardware. VR headsets, especially high-end ones, can be expensive, and not all consumers have access to this technology.
To address this challenge, businesses can opt for more cost-effective VR solutions, such as mobile-based VR experiences, which are accessible to a broader audience with budget solutions like Google Cardboard. Additionally, collaborations with VR experience providers or platforms can reduce the cost of developing VR content.
Developing compelling and engaging VR content can be complex and time-consuming. Many businesses lack the in-house expertise to create immersive VR experiences.
Collaborating with experienced VR content creators or agencies can help businesses create high-quality VR content that resonates with their target audience. Additionally, utilizing user-generated content or providing tools for customers to create their VR experiences can be an effective approach.
VR experiences must run smoothly and be free from technical glitches to provide a seamless experience. Technical issues, such as lag or poor graphics, can frustrate users.
Rigorous testing and quality assurance are essential to identify and rectify technical issues. Utilizing powerful hardware and optimizing VR content for performance can help ensure a smoother user experience.
As of 2023, very few people own a virtual reality headset, limiting the potential audience for marketing VR campaigns.
While VR adoption continues to grow, businesses can still create content that can be experienced on non-VR platforms. This might include 360-degree videos or interactive web-based experiences that reach a wider audience. Moreover, encouraging virtual reality experiences in physical retail locations or through VR arcades can expose more people to the technology.
Collecting and using personal data in VR marketing can raise privacy concerns, potentially leading to consumer apprehension.
Be transparent about data usage and privacy policies. Obtaining user consent and safeguarding personal information should be a top priority. Compliance with data protection regulations is a must.
VR marketing may not be suitable for all industries or products. Some businesses may find it challenging to integrate VR into their marketing strategies.
Not every business needs to adopt VR marketing. Evaluating the relevance and feasibility of VR for the specific target audience and product is essential. For some companies, other emerging technologies like augmented reality may be a better fit.
VR technology is rapidly evolving, which can make it challenging for businesses to keep up with the latest trends and innovations.
Staying informed about developments in VR technology is vital. Businesses should continually reassess their VR strategies and be open to adapting to new trends and technologies.
Virtual reality marketing is slowly transforming the marketing space. Its immersive experiences, emotional engagement, and interactivity offer businesses unique ways to engage with their audience.
Incorporating virtual reality in digital marketing can be a game-changer, but be aware of and proactively address the challenges and pitfalls associated with it. Take the challenges into account and implement the suggested solutions to position yourself to make the most of the exciting opportunities offered by VR marketing.