While we are predicting the marketing trends for 2018 and beyond, the analysts and prognostics tend up to lump together the virtual reality and the augmented reality. Both of the technologies are linked, both have the history stretches which backs decades, both of them are the midst of a renaissance driven by the rising processing power of mobile devices and both are the promising connections with audiences on new sensory levels. At Singapore in the year 2017, the attendees built their custom dream cars in an elaborated augmented reality exhibit by carmaker Audi. Days earlier, halfway across the world, the techies at the consumer electronics show waited up for two hours to try the latest virtual reality applications. According to the reports of Happy VR, the global fast-food brand McDonald’s jumped on the VR bandwagon by introducing the happy meal box in Sweden which can be repurposed as the Google Cardboard VR headset. The effective AR software not only requires the sophisticated sense of design but also deep insights into the user's experience. As we know that exciting AR applications are already in use.
AR/VR Transforms Marketing Sector
AR & VR technology have already been used in the products of marketing. However, most of the marketing departments are eagerly waiting for these technologies to improve and the advertising cost to decrease, VR especially. It is extremely important to closely monitor the advancements in these areas for avoiding being left at competitive disadvantages when these technologies become a viable option. The AR/VR technologies will be booming industry, but the content for these platforms will be an emerging market in its own right. In order to leverage VR/AR to its full potential, the marketers must partner with the agencies with specialized experience in the space. To truly deliver the value with the help of AR, the marketers must resist the urge to create mediocre apps. Instead, they must work closely with data scientists and other technologists to truly understand how customers interact with AR and then incorporate that into their AR designs. VR marketing is already being used by some of the major industries like travel and tourism industry and related marketing industries also. While AR & VR may be the most integral part to daily experience in the future, but for now, it is best to take a wait and see the strategy carefully.
Most of the experts say that 2016 was a mixed bag for AR/VR. The hurdles for Facebook Oculus Rift, HTC’s Viva and other key players have resulted in annual revenue of $3.9 billion which is seen as below the $4.4 billion projection. However, all thanks to the success of Pokemon Go, AR brought in $1.9 million of that total- a higher % of the market share than originally projected. By growing pain aside, the industry experts are still expecting healthy VR/AR growth between now and 2020. The statistical data have shown that VR gaming sales will account for a significant portion of this growth which is rising from $660 million in the year 2018 to a hefty of $22.9 billion by the year 2020. The unexpected success of Pokemon Go has companies like Google and Facebook setting their sights of AR. In short, the marketers can expect to see the growing numbers of brands which can provide the platform and the content for their AR/VR marketing initiatives.
But the projections of the industry insider aside is how are the customers responding to VR/AR? According to the Greenlight Insight study, about 62% of the consumers feel more engaged with the brand that provides VR experience and 71% of them think that the brands which use a VR are forward thinking. In the age where Gartner predicts customer experience now trumps product as the top brand differentiator which finding goes a long way. In fact around more than 50% of the organizations have planned to implant the significant business model changes for improving the customer’ experience by the year 2018. It comes as no surprise that the marketers are tapping into the VR/AR to close the experience gap. The forward-thinking marketers have just begun adopting the VR/AR for achieving the following marketing objectives:
The VR/AR marketing is cutting across the industries, but the Harvard business review expects that the retail marketers will be a key adopter of this tactic and that they will transform our shopping experience in the process.
The use of augmented and virtual reality on mobile devices provides a niche and engaging way to the marketers for reaching their target audience. The future of augmented reality in marketing remains uncertain as it requires a head-mounted display by making it much harder to reach potential customers without accessible hardware which is progressive as the VR software. The biggest challenges the marketers are facing is with the possibility of introducing VR. Google Cardboard, a popup VR headset was the highest shipped VR headset which focuses more on immersive 360-degree videos than full virtual reality. In addition to the technical issues an all-day battery life, the marketer are facing several hurdles while implementing VR/AR campaigns to drive ROI.
To truly deliver the value of AR the marketers must experience the positive attitude towards the applications itself, but not on the brand or product. However, by integrating AR/VR into the customer journey framework this marketing tactic has the ability to positively impact purchasing decisions. Just as websites must be responsive, the VR/AR must also work for mobile. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that “the phone is probably going to be the mainstream consumer platform where a lot of these AR features become mainstream”. It is crucial to have an up to date marketing strategy which integrates the multi-channel engagement cycle, for helping conversions and for building positive brand awareness. AR/VR, both of these technologies has been able to use the technology in a way which gives the user a unique experience.
Below are some of the crucial advantages of AR/VR technology that affects the marketing industry in many ways:
One recently launched AR app reports an amazing average dwell time of 75 highly engaged seconds as opposed to the 2.5 passive engagements elected by radio and TV ads. Walmart and Target have already introduced the AR apps for helping the customers with in-store navigation and also to introduce new, better quality product lines which include ex: much-touted Casper mattresses.
Augmented reality allows brands and business for sending information to their customers in real time. The new research confirms that AR is creating a captivating, immersive experience for customers which improve the sales. Converse, Lego, Nike, and IKEA, are also using the smartphones apps for delivering the AR experiences to their customers.
The research has confirmed that the consumers are most likely to buy the items in brick and mortar establishments when they can use the devices like an AR mirror for helping them to make purchase decisions. More importantly, when AR apps are integrated into the familiar retail setting, the consumers respond more positively to products through with the purchase.
Despite a year filled with both losses and wins, there are more marketers than ever are embracing the VR/AR technology for delivering a next level customer experience. In order to leverage this tech, the marketers must lead the charge to develop the high-quality VR/AR content and new customer journey. In these key areas of marketing, the reality has not fully caught up to the hype yet so there is a huge potential market & scope for these technologies.