In this day and age, competitive markets dictate fast-paced changes in technology and marketing. Companies do their best to outsmart and outsell their competition, and this means keeping up with the latest tech trends.
Virtual reality is a hot new concept in consumer electronics, and Forrester estimates that by 2020 the number of people who own a VR headset will surpass 52 million in the US alone. Does this mean that the future of marketing lies in providing customers with virtual reality experiences or is this just a gimmick that will soon run its course?
The Name of the Game
VR has always been a big dream for all avid gamers and video games companies. That’s why it’s only natural that this technology will be mainly used for creating elaborate and immersive video games. The idea of being able to enter an entirely different reality and fully interact with it does sound exciting and compelling, but many experts doubt that VR will be able to bring about a substantial change when it comes to movies.
It’s more likely that it will have the same destiny as 3D which started off with a bang but failed to deliver the expected results later on. Disappointing sales figures of VR headsets indicate that customers haven’t been exactly swept off their feet by those contraptions. However, when we’re talking about marketing, leading companies will surely try to utilize this new tool to try and mesmerize customers with their brands.
It’s true that we can only imagine how this ambitious trend will affect movies and marketing in the future, but the fact that Facebook bought Oculus Rift for $2b means that they see great potential in VR technology. On the other hand, Apple, a company renowned for its use of groundbreaking and innovative designs and gadgets hasn’t yet built its VR headset.
Maybe Tim Cook’s interview in September 2016 in which he said that “there’s virtual reality and there’s augmented reality – both of these are incredibly interesting, but my view is that augmented reality is the larger of the two, probably by far” can shed some light on why this company failed to jump on the VR bandwagon, at least for the time being. The lack of content, as well as high hardware costs, are among the biggest obstacles this, undoubtedly attractive, technology is facing at the moment.
There are also other problems regarding the different quality of headsets. It’s important to be aware that not all viewers have a high-end device at home, so it’s crucial to create content that can be transmitted via different VR platforms. That way a wider audience will be able to watch it.
VR Hasn’t Killed the Video Star
Despite all the hype and buzz that has been surrounding VR, it’s clear that this technology has numerous imperfections. As we have already mentioned, limited content is something that currently discourages using this technology to a greater extent. Still, if it’s properly executed, VR marketing can be a game changer.
Several famous companies managed to make VR work in marketing. One of them is the New York Times which combined video storytelling, traditional print, and virtual reality by giving away over 1 million cardboard viewers to their Sunday subscribers together with a documentary called The Displaced. The aim of such a move was to draw viewers deep into everyday lives of child refugees and to enable them to experience the horrors of war firsthand.
There are numerous other productive uses of this technology in marketing. For example, real estate professionals can benefit from creating a virtual walkthrough of homes, apartments, and commercial properties so that potential customers can “feel” the space.
This doesn’t mean that traditional video marketing agencies are behind the times. Quite the opposite, good old reliable video technology is still has a lot to offer. Take Alexander Thomas Media for example. Their video animation and deep experience in video marketing are just what digital marketers will need if the want to stay competitive in 2017.
In a Nutshell
Virtual reality is still in a way unchartered territory. Both positive and negative experiences can be observed, and although some big players dabbled in VR technology, such marketing campaigns can be pretty risky.
Namely, the price of a VR project can be in the vicinity of $20,000 if we’re talking about some basic graphics and an average quality, while the use of sophisticated technology for creating a top-notch VR experience can cost as much as $130,000.
That’s one of the reasons why video marketing is significantly more cost-effective, hitting the bull’s-eye the while.