In the minds of marketers all over the world, digital advertising seems confined to two spaces: desktop and mobile. However, these same marketers realize that more and more consumers are becoming numb to seeing banner ads, annoyed by pop ups and disinterested by video. The same can be said about many of the current advertising mediums that exist. Marketers have long been searching for the next frontier of advertising and may have found it in the form of virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR).
Last year, Facebook made waves in the advertising world after purchasing VR startup, Oculus, for a cool $2 billion. After the news was official, the floodgates opened and big-hitters such as Google, Apple and Coca-Cola quickly made exploratory investments into VR advertising. These companies realized that VR presented the next level of engaging content by making their messaging fully immersive.
Coca-Cola provided a great example of how branded content can be taken to the next level by implementing VR technology, when they utilized it during the World Cup, with the Coke World Cup Experience.
VR technology provides several real-world advantages for marketers:
Fully engage the target consumer, without having to worry about competing messages
John McCrea, CMO of Media Spike, saw first-hand the potential that lay in VR advertising after doing a demo campaign for “Despicable Me 2” on the Oculus platform.
“Integration of brands into this new medium will create some of the most compelling and effective digital advertising ever, because it will be immersive and experiential,” McCrea wrote on his website after detailing the campaign’s capabilities.
Below are images from the demo that illustrate how brand content can take form in the virtual world, ranging from flat, banner-like ads on “billboards” to video spots shown on the virtual town’s “movie theater” and even an example of a higher-end ad such as the branded blimp.
Message reach can be accurately tracked
Instead of wondering whether consumers are paying any attention to that display ad or if your video ads are greeting distracted viewers, VR allows marketers a sense of relief by knowing that in order for a user to avoid ads, they would physically have to remove the headset and disrupt their whole AR experience.
Next-level consumer data analytics
In virtual world, marketers can track exactly what a user is looking at, where a user is looking and for how long the consumer is looking. Being able to have access to detailed eye tracking data will help in the advancement of virtual advertising and potentially bring valuable insight to other digital advertising platforms
The fully immersive nature of VR advertising adds a whole new dimension to digital marketing. Not only will the technology help brands stand out but it will also help advertising shed the “nuisance” tag it sometimes receives by allowing content to feel naturally engaging and emotional. As more and more consumers grow disoriented from normal digital advertising tactics, it would be of no surprise to see brands implement VR software to take their content to the next level.