You may find it a little strange that I’m talking about VR marketing when only a tiny fraction of the world’s population actually owns a Virtual Reality (VR) device.
Indeed, the jury is still out on whether VR is going to be a commercial hit or not.
In fact, depending on who you talk to, you could be forgiven for thinking that VR is simply the latest fad following a long line of techno-flops that, at one point in time, offered so much potential.
Here at Dialect though, we believe VR is going to be a massive hit.
It may not happen straight away, it may take a few years for the mass markets to adopt VR technology, but we believe VR (and AR) represent the future of computing, communication, advertising, and just about anything else you can think of.
In my personal opinion, VR technology has the potential to be the most disruptive technology since the personal computer, or even the internet itself.
As a marketer, I am extremely excited by the potential of VR marketing, and in this article I will cover the reasons why you should be too.
Examples of what to expect from VR Marketing and Immersive Advertising
The world is falling out of love with advertising.
The use of ad blocking software is skyrocketing, click through rates are plummeting, and according to many, it simply isn’t as effective as it once used to be.
But what if that could be changed?
What if, rather than trying to shut advertising out of their lives, people demanded more. What if, rather than a 0.1% click through rate, businesses were able to achieve CTRs of 10%+.
This may sound like the stuff of fantasy, but VR marketing has the potential to make this happen.
If you’ll let me indulge for a few moments, I’ll give you some examples.
Imagine a major car manufacturer has just released a new line of cars.
Their marketing budget is likely to include a large amount of advertising, everything from billboards to digital display ads.
These ads will normally include a high res image and snappy sales message.
Now, imagine that the world has gone VR, everything from computing to communications is now done in an immersive virtual environment.
Visualise a notification popping up in your headset, this particular car manufacturer is offering you the opportunity to test drive their new vehicle.
The minute you select the button that says ‘Enter Experience’, you are transported into a car showroom where a computer generated salesman is handing you the keys to a brand new car.
You enter the car and can see the fresh, untouched leather interior.
You start the engine and hear the sound of it firing up. You see the car’s dashboard light up in front of you giving you all the usual information you’d expect from a real world driving experience.
You then drive out of the showroom and select which environment you wish to drive in, beautiful winding mountain roads to your left, long flat stretches of desert road to your right.
You go left and test drive the new car through a beautiful mountain setting, thoroughly enjoying the immersive experience you’ve been provided with.
Now, what would you prefer? Large billboard ad with a sales message? Or a beautiful drive through the mountains?
I know which one I’d choose.
I can assure you, the potential of VR marketing won’t just be restricted to the automobile industry.
To give you another example, imagine for a moment that you get a notification from a leading fashion label asking you to take a look at their new spring collection.
You select ‘Enter Experience’ but instead of being delivered some nice images in a square display ad, you’re transported to a catwalk show.
You sit and watch the various supermodels parade this new line of clothing in front of an excited audience, taking in the vibrant colours of the garments, how they look, and how they move.
You’re also simply thrilled at the fact that you’re sat in the front row at a prestigious fashion event, a seat usually reserved for celebrities and VIPs.
In this environment though, you’re the VIP.
Again, by providing an immersive experience brands will be able to deliver an advertising experience that people will enjoy and derive value from.
Imagine what you’d be able to do with an engaged audience like that.
This is all very exciting, but when will it happen?
Although VR technology has been around for decades, it has only recently begun gaining widespread interest and the hardware required to deliver a strong consumer experience.
That said, a number of large organisations have devices lined up for mass market release later in 2016 such as Sony, whilst large organisations, including Apple, have expressed an interest in VR as a technology.
So VR is here, however, it’s going to take time to reach critical mass in terms of consumer adoption. The majority of marketers won’t give VR a second thought until a decent portion of their target markets are using these devices which could be several years away.
And of course, as I mentioned earlier, there is also the possibility that VR will be a flop and fail to capture the imagination of a demanding public. That is precisely what has happened with prior attempts at releasing VR products and it could be the case again.
However, this time seems different, and at Dialect we predict big things for VR tech over the next few years.
The big VR winners will be the early adopters
When Apple first released the iOS app store, the big winners were the developers who rolled out the first set of apps.
Everyone wanted apps on their new phones but there were only a small number available.
The first apps on the app store were downloaded millions of times by iPhone users who were desperate for new experiences on their phones.
I predict the same will happen with VR.
The first companies to take advantage of VR marketing and immersive advertising will gain huge exposure as a public hungry for VR experiences will arrive en masse to experience the immersive ads.
We’re getting involved now
Here at Dialect we believe that VR represents an enormous opportunity for brands to engage their audiences in a way they’ve never been able to before.
That’s why we’ve been working with organisations such as NVIDIA to explore ways in which we can engage their audience using VR.
We’ll be watching the emergence of VR very closely and as the public adopts this technology we’ll be rolling out more and more VR experiences.
If you’d like to be an early adopter and work with us on a VR project, please get in touch. We’d love to have a chat.
What are your thoughts? Do you think VR will be a commercial hit or do you think it’ll fizzle out like other attempts to release it in the past?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.