Discover How AR/VR Can Augment Your Marketing.
Virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) have long hovered at the edges of mainstream adoption, but it appears the pandemic pushed the technologies beyond niche markets. To stay current with consumer expectations, companies are using virtual and augmented reality in their marketing already or exploring what VR/AR marketing makes the most sense for their business. Here’s a primer on the state of VR/AR for advertising so your marketing technology keeps up with consumer expectations—today and in the future.
Top five things to know about virtual and augmented reality for marketing
- The difference between virtual and augmented reality. VR completely immerses you in an explorable 3D world using a VR headset and wireless handheld controllers or gloves. AR uses 3D and virtual technology to enhance visuals on devices, such as cell phones, tablets, and laptops. At the moment, AR for marketing is more widely adopted and has more use cases.
- Uses of augmented reality for marketing. AR for marketing has the edge for now because most people already have the required technology in their hands. Industries using AR to engage would-be customers and improve the customer experience include:
- E-commerce and retail
- Home furnishings
Furniture companies such as Houzz, Ikea, and others now offer AR apps that let you place digital renditions of couches, sofas, and bookcases in rooms so you can see if the style matches your decor. Car shoppers can explore models in AR showrooms to narrow down their choices before going to dealers in person. Consumers can also easily “try on” clothing, makeup, and shoes through AR apps.
- Uses of virtual reality for marketing. VR marketing is experiential and makes the above marketing strategies even more immersive with a headset. Here are a few examples to give you the complete 3D picture of what’s already gone virtual:
- Car test drives
- Showroom tours
- Travel location tours
- Movie & television show location tours
Companies are also creating virtual reality experiences and games that create positive brand experiences and responses without a product-first approach. Samsung teamed up with NASA, for example, to create a virtual moonwalk complete with a weighted suit.
- In-game VR/AR marketing calls for a light touch. Facebook recently announced plans to test ads in Blaston, a shooter game by Resolution Games developed for the Oculus Quest VR headset (owned by Facebook). After an outcry from players, Resolution Games said they wouldn’t allow the ads in Blaston, but are considering them in free games.
Intrusive ads are aggravating to consumers on any platform, including VR and AR games and apps. However, it’s possible to find a balance that works. The famed AR-app Pokémon Go, for example, revolutionized hyper-local marketing with sponsored stops while offering an opt-out option for users.
- Customers should be at the wheel of VR/AR marketing experiences. Customers want to interact with brands on their terms. Your VR and AR strategy should answer early questions on the customer journey (“Is this color right for me?” “Will this chair fit with our decor?”) or create a fun experience through gaming or immersive stories. A customer-led approach is the best way to elevate your brand, build loyalty, and drive results.