Video is all the rage in marketing nowadays. If it’s not a short clip that literally makes you laugh out loud, it’s an interesting video that highlights specific features of the latest and greatest gadgets to grace the markets. In this rapidly evolving ecosystem, one thing is certain: People are tuning in and watching videos more so than ever before. Not content to simply read or stare at a screen with no motion, they’re opting to consume content that’s more engaging than text or static images. They’re finding that videos are a much more entertaining form of content that can actually capture their attention and keep it.
That right there is normal video marketing. And then, there’s VR video marketing, a next-level approach with the potential to increase brand awareness and engagement beyond your wildest dreams.
Virtual Reality Marketing
Virtual reality in marketing – whether it’s true virtual reality advertising or creative 360° videos – is growing at a rapid pace, along with the software and hardware that’s giving it life. For example, the market size of virtual reality hardware and software is projected to increase from $2.2 billion in 2017 to more than $19 billion by 2020. A similar forecast puts revenues from the global virtual reality market at $21.5 billion by that time. Likewise, even though there were only 0.6 million VR headsets in use in 2014, that number jumped to 28.1 million in 2019, and is expected to reach 32 million by 2020.
Going back to the virtual reality impact on marketing, VR is a ticket for higher video counts and longer watch times because of its ability to transport the user to a whole other world, one populated by anything the imagination can conjure. As soon as a headset is placed in position, anticipation begins and continues to build up until the first pixel is illuminated. When that happens, your users are hooked until the end; you’ve got them on the line and can convey your message with the highest likelihood of success.
Along similar lines, augmented reality in marketing also comes with the same benefits as VR, albeit achieved through a slightly different approach. In other words, whereas VR completely immerses the user in a digitized virtual world that can look like anything and everything, AR is an amalgamation of the real and imaginary that superimposes a digital overlay on real-world elements. In this way, AR and VR in marketing both have similar marketing effects that stem from the technology’s ability to take the user on a journey, even though they may still be firmly planted on their seat.
Best Examples of Virtual Reality Marketing
To see the true impact of virtual reality on video marketing, we’re going to turn to real-world examples of VR and 360° video trends, and the brands using them.
The New York Times
The New York Times took virtual reality marketing to the next level when they decided to ship out Google Cardboard glasses to their subscribers so they could enjoy the release of their eighth VR production: Seeking Pluto’s Frigid Heart. In doing so, not only did they increase engagement with an interesting movie anyone can enjoy, but by only sending out the glasses to their most loyal digital customers, they increased brand loyalty as well.
When Merrell was going to launch their line of Capra hiking boots, they opted to do so by pairing it with Trailscape, an Oculus Rift VR experience that included walking on different surfaces and obstacles like rock slides. This immersive experience originally premiered at Sundance, which functioned as a cool cross promotion that greatly increased brand remembrance.
School of Rock
To promote the release of his then-upcoming Broadway musical, School of Rock, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber released a 360° interactive music video for the song, “You’re In The Band.” With features from the cast of the production and inside jokes that included drawings of characters from Cats and The Phantom of the Opera on the blackboard, the video went above and beyond with engagement and view counts.
How to Market Virtual Reality for Your Brand
Like we just saw with the brands using 360° video or full-on VR video marketing, virtual reality is a valuable tool your brand can use to bolster its strategy and really make a splash. The key with VR video marketing is actually providing something of use for your audience. That is to say, don’t just produce a virtual reality video just to do it, do it with a purpose and a goal in mind.
For instance, The New York Times wanted to reward their loyal customers and introduce them to a new form of storytelling; Merrell wanted to show their users the types of situations their shoes would come in handy; and the people behind School of Rock wanted to bring attention to it with a new form of music video that functioned as a trailer and attracted a lot of attention.
Virtual reality is not a new technology, but its use in marketing is relatively new. Whereas a normal video reinforces your role as a spectator, virtual reality places you in the mix, right where the action is taking place. Whether it’s full immersion into an actual virtual reality, or the many benefits that 360° video engagement brings, VR is becoming a popular marketing tool brands across the board are turning to in an effort to capture their audience’s attention for the long haul and foster loyalty so they keep coming back.
About the Author
Matthew J. Fritschle is a content writer for Aumcore, a digital marketing agency based in NYC. He writes on a variety of topics that range from digital video advertising to the latest technology trends.