Is Virtual Reality The Future of Digital Marketing?

Written by Adam: Senior Content and Social Executive.
· 4 minute read


Virtual reality (VR) isn’t just for Keanu Reeves anymore…

Sorry Keanu… but we are finding ourselves on the cusp of a widespread adoption of the revolutionary technology. Granted we’re not on the VR levels of The Matrix just yet, but as the technology continues to change and evolve, it opens up new opportunities for everyone.

When Pong, one of the earliest video games was released back in 1972, no one could’ve predicted that just a few decades later companies would now be spending thousands, if not millions of pounds on video game based advertising.

Products and services dedicated to the use of VR have already been developed and our encroaching ever more in our day to day lives – who can forget Pokémon Go right? I never did catch that special Christmas hat Pikachu…

Stand-alone attractions such as the “Void” virtual theme park, or home entertainment platforms like the HTC Vive and PlayStation VR are presenting new and unique ways for advertisers to innovate their marketing campaigns.

We’re going to explore a few possible ways Virtual Reality could be the not-too-distant future of digital marketing…


Virtually Connecting And Educating

In general people have become more desensitised to most forms of marketing and advertising, getting hundreds of sales calls and prompts to download and subscribe on a daily basis. Desensitisation is a big problem faced by all marketing companies big and small.        

Imagine if people got to experience marketing messages that they didn’t just see or hear, but they could actually touch, feel and live through as if they were real. When experiencing something that feels as though it’s physically there, the person perceives it as real and it becomes much easier to engage them and maintain their interest.

The potential to create highly immersive educational content using VR, opens up many opportunities between marketers and customers. It can allow the showcasing of a new marketing strategy from a single office to dozens of participants across the world, who feel as though they’re all in the same room.

High definition simulations can offer in depth presentations – by constructing an experience in which a customer is able to see how a product or service actually works. Companies can educate their target audience without any limitations.     

Clients and customers wouldn’t need to go to a convention or expo, they could learn everything about the service or strategy at their convenience, see it in action in real-time without going anywhere.    


Interactive Product Demonstrations

Purveyors of video content and games aren’t the only ones that can make use of the technology. VR tech can allow marketing companies to create experiences that not only allow people to see their product, but also to show off its features and uses within a captivating personalised demo.   

This is especially applicable to companies offering experiential products, like car manufacturers, theme-parks and ski resorts. Potential buyers and clients could get the opportunity to take an unreleased car for a test drive, ride a new roller coaster that’s still being built, or try out some snow covered slopes – all from the comfort of an office meeting room or at home.

VR can help drive higher emotional engagement than any other form of content – plus there’s a clear advantage to these companies using the tech in terms of safety. Driving a new experimental concept car in a simulation, rather than the open road, eliminates any potential risk to these types of marketing demonstrations.

Well, unless you’re Ronnie O’Sullivan trying to play VR pool…



Personal Experiences

Numerous companies have started to utilise advertising experiences on virtual reality platforms. Making full use of technology like the Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, PlayStation VR and more – they are creating a new more personal, immersive and exhilarating dimension to traditional print and video storytelling.

Inclusive events like theatre productions, concerts and comedy shows can be captured using 3D recording equipment – allowing a person to experience them from the best seat in the venue, and the performers to entertain a much wider audience.

Placing advertisements or products in this unique, immersive, 3D environment can help a customer make more informed choices so they’ll be happier with their purchase decision.   

A virtual advert or commercial can be crafted from scratch, and a customer wouldn’t just be able to watch it – they could star in it.


Becoming Reality

With all this potential, it’s no wonder the VR market is exploding and poised for considerable global growth in 2018. The market’s worldwide revenue reached over $7 billion last year, and is expected to grow 10 times by 2021. It’s safe to say VR is on the rise.

Everyone from service providers to content developers are taking advantage of the evolving technology – the user base is already getting bigger, and more companies are now producing VR-based products than ever before.

With it quickly becoming the new go-to channel for delivering innovative marketing messages – maybe virtual reality isn’t the future, perhaps it’s already the present.  

Senior Content and Social Executive