Virtual reality is finally coming into the mainstream in 2018. Many believe this is the best form of user interface, ever. Billions of dollars are being poured into research, development and production of VR content to satisfy the needs of the new VR clientele. In the initial years of VR 2.0, i.e. beginning of Oculus, people still considered the technology will be used only for gamers to immerse themselves in the virtual world. But as the simulated world got better with technology, its application has become massive. Starting from education to military to healthcare, VR is revolutionising the way we interact with the virtual world. Things that were thought to be impossible are closer to reality.
With the mass market production of virtual reality headsets and the advent of the standalone VR headsets, it is only a matter of time before the VR production houses float their billion-dollar IPOs. Marketers always follow the big money. As the audience for the simulated world grows, they smell an opportunity to take their customer engagement to the next level.
One of the biggest advantages of VR is that it is the perfect platform for an immersive storytelling. Imagine this, clever advertisers can make a person have an emotional reaction just by hearing a radio jingle or watching it on TV.
Imagine what they can do with a 360-degree immersive storytelling ability? The whole concept of virtual reality is about fooling your brain into believing something that is not real. When that is already achieved in the platform, can you imagine what clever marketers can do?
According to initial estimates, VR ads have a massive ad success rate when compared to mobile and desktop advertising.
The VR market size has grown from less than 200,000 in 2014 to 171 million estimated users in 2018 and the figure is expected to continue its astronomical growth rate in the coming years. This rate of growth is phenomenal for a technology adoption.
Apart from its immersive storytelling ability, marketers can also present realistic looking product demos for their customers. They can take the ‘try before you buy’ to a whole new level.
The initial results of marketing campaigns trialled in VR have set the whole industry abuzz. Thomas Cook put out a VR ad offering a virtual flyover of the Manhattan skyline and saw a massive 190% increase in its NYC excursions.
According to Goldman Sachs, VR marketing is pegged to be a $35 billion industry by 2025. The early movers will have an advantage as it will take some time to get the hang of how to use this medium for effective marketing.
Hotels are using the VR tools to give their visitors a better idea of how their rooms look like. Savvy real estate agents are shooting their rental properties using 360-degree cameras and pitching them to clients. This way, people can see three houses in one afternoon instead of one. This allows Realtors to push more customers through their funnels at a cheaper rate and still improve their sales numbers.