Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have been hot topics for the last few years. Beyond the realm of entertainment, we are starting to see how these technologies can be integrated into the everyday lives of consumers and different ways they can be used to benefit businesses.
While it is still in the early stages, AR and VR marketing are starting to attract attention. Brands are finding innovative ways to use these technologies with their existing marketing efforts, and both AR and VR are proving to be popular features among consumers.
With Augmented and Virtual Reality showing some early success, we can expect these technologies to become more common in the world of marketing. According to predictions from eMarketer, AR ad revenue is expected surpass $2 billion by the year 2022. For companies that are interested in using AR and VR to promote their brand, the following are some of the trends in AR and VR marketing.
Why AR and VR content is more engaging and interactive?
Dynamic content has proven to be very popular when advertising on Facebook and other social media platforms. Both AR and VR offer the opportunity to tell stories and connect with consumers. By creating interactive experiences with VR and AR driven marketing campaigns, companies can attract more consumers to their brand.
Furthermore, the interactive nature of the content is going to make for an experience that is much more engaging than things like print and video advertising. Unlike these older marketing technologies, it is not just the brand sending a message to the consumer. With AR and VR, the user plays an active role in the process.
How do AR and VR in marketing attracts and converts more users?
Part of what makes AR and VR successful marketing tools is that they can both attract customers to the experience and convert them while they are engaged with the content. The consumer learns of a VR or AR tool that offers some type of service and then they decide to try it to see how it works. While they are using the VR or AR tool, the experience can then guide them to a purchase.
One good example of this that is already in use is the MTailor app which is an important app in the VR category. This app offers a virtual clothes fitting service that promises to help people find clothes that fit them better. When the customer downloads and uses the app, it can then direct them to a range of purchasing options that not only helps the app sell products, but also meets the needs of the user.
How to tie physical to the virtual world using AR and VR?
AR and VR can boost the value of other marketing materials by using these technologies to expand upon the message. One option is to use AR with print materials like brochures or posters. When the customer views the print material through an AR app on their phone, it can offer expanded information or features that allow them to interact with virtual objects. This approach can be used to encourage more interactions and increase the amount of time people spend viewing the print material.
The automaker Audi has already employed a strategy like this to promote the 2016 Audi TT. Using conductive print and a built-in Bluetooth chip, Audi created an AR brochure that offered consumers the chance to unlock an interactive experience that would allow them to explore the newly designed virtual cockpit of the 2016 Audi TT.
Power of customisation through AR and VR?
One of the great things about AR and VR technology is that it provides the customer with an opportunity to explore different offerings and customize products to their liking. If they are shopping for a car, they could change colors, check out different features, and ‘maneuver’ the car through a virtual test drive. For consumers that are shopping for a house, realtors can design virtual tours that not only allow the user to walk through the property, but which also allows them to try different paint colors on the walls or add furniture to see how the house will look when they live there.
In 2017, Lowe’s started adding the Holoroom to a select number of stores. This is a VR experience created using the HTC Vive VR headset. When using the Lowe’s Holoroom, customers can test different types of tools and equipment before they buy, and they even have VR tutorials that teach customers the DIY skills they need to use many of the products sold at Lowe’s locations. This is a great example of a company using VR based marketing to increase sales by creating an experience that offers significant value to the consumer.
Does AR offer an early advantage?
Android and iOS already have AR technology features built into the platform, and there are tools that make it easier to develop AR experiences for the devices. Since most consumers already own a smartphone, this gives AR a bit of an advantage at the current time. Right now, VR equipment is not something that most customers or businesses own, and it requires a significant investment to get started. That said, the technology is expected to become more common and prices should come down in the future. Once the equipment is more accessible, it should be a much more common tool for marketing.
A good example of a company taking advantage of AR’s accessibility is the IKEA place app. This app allows users to review items from IKEA’s catalog and place 3D representations of those items in a room while viewing it through a smartphone camera. According to the app, it was downloaded 8.5 million times during its first year of release.