From gaming to real estate, brands are shifting their attention from traditional marketing to virtual reality (VR) as a new way to connect with potential customers, transform storytelling and increase innovation. However, its effectiveness depends on brands understanding what works and what doesn’t work in VR. Here are five things every brand should be on the lookout for when introducing VR into their marketing strategy:
Quality content can make or break the experience
VR is still a novelty to many consumers, but as more people get to experience it, the need for quality content will only increase. They will grow to expect more from brands and they’ll be looking for a VR experience to wow them. That’s why having quality content is one of the keys for brands to succeed in using VR.
In other words, find a reputable and experienced VR company to work with your brand. Although VR is relatively new, technology is constantly advancing. Brands need a company that keeps up with these changes and helps them to make VR accessible to their clients, all the while making the consumer feel like they’ve experienced something they had never experienced before.
People engage with your brand for longer periods of time in VR
According to a report by YuMe and Nielsen, the emotional attachment to a brand increased by 26 percent in virtual reality as opposed to a 2-D environment. That same report found that participants viewed branded content 34 percent longer in VR.
Being that it is an interactive experience, VR gives consumers the freedom to explore a new world. They want to engage and be a part of it. For consumers, there’s more of a mystery element in a VR environment, rather than wondering what a video or article is about. In this day and age, when consumer attention spans are only a few seconds long, having one of them engage with a brand for minutes at a time is truly valuable territory for brands.
Distribution can be an issue, but social media can save the day
Social media is vital in the distribution of VR. Platforms such as Facebook and YouTube already have 360-degree video and Twitter will acquire it soon. VR will change the way customers and brands use social media. Brands should zoom out social a little more and include it as a tactic in their marketing plan.
It is easier to do VR through social, but it would be more effective to put it in the hands of consumers. That is why having a VR app is important. Roughly 77 percent of Americans now own a smartphone, according to a Pew Research report. Through the use of smartphones, VR apps will grant access for consumers to escape the real world for a little while. Putting VR branded content on a platform where consumers can easily access it will only expand its reach.
Metrics are still evolving
Measuring the effectiveness of VR is not a simple task. Advertisers and brands want to make sure that their content is being seen and that it’s moving consumers to action. It’s clear that as VR advances, the need for metrics is imperative.
In VR environments, impressions can be so much more, says Vincent Cacace, founder and CEO at Vertebrae.io, a native advertising platform for VR, in an interview with AdExchanger.
He continues by saying, “The basics will feel quite familiar to industry veterans, such as whether a consumer looked at an ad and for how long. But then it gets more complicated. With VR, it is helpful to know how long a user was in the scene where an ad was showing. The distance between the ad and user also comes into play since size, scale and distance matter in what is a VR version of the viewability issue.”
VR needs a PR strategy
Like any platform such as social media, VR needs to have a well thought out public relations strategy.
Forbes suggests that brands ask themselves two questions: What story is the brand trying to tell? How does this application help deliver the message in a personalized, compelling manner?
PR strategy and storytelling go hand in hand. With VR, brands will be able to build relationships with their customers instead of forcing customers to view their content. It grants independence to the consumer, the power to explore their virtual environment and see what they want to see. VR creates meaningful interactions rather than just the passive experience that many 2-D ads provide.
VR marketing can help brands reach consumers in a whole new way. Any brand can make use of VR, but it all depends on creating quality content that leads to brand loyalty and engagement. In virtual reality, the possibilities are endless and brand marketers should definitely be taking advantage of that.
Cathy Hackl (@CathyHackl) is an Emmy-nominated communicator turned virtual reality and augmented reality speaker and futuristic content creator. She’s also the founder of Latinos in VR/AR and one of the women leading the virtual revolution.
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