When virtual reality (VR) technology first came on the scene, it was expensive and usually limited to niche uses like gaming. Since then, VR has exploded on the scene across multiple industries and has multiple applications.
Are marketing and advertising next? According to experts in the industry—yes! Below, eight members of Forbes Agency Council share some of the things that they predict VR will bring to advertising and marketing.
1. Added Traffic At Events
We’ve seen VR bring real value when it comes to driving event traffic. At events, VR can quickly tell your brand’s story in an engaging, immersive way. For products that are too large to bring to a trade show, VR allows users to experience them firsthand. You can also use a VR experience of a given location to entice the user to go experience it in reality. – Sarah Mannone, Trekk
2. Tangible Brand Stories
The opportunity for VR is making the brand experience, traditionally communicated in words and visuals, tangible for the consumer. It reminds me of childhood cartoons when the character would step into the TV and become part of whatever he or she was watching. Advertising can build awareness and pique interest, but VR can make a story come alive and be deeply personal because it’s uniquely experienced. – Edward Hoffman, Padilla
3. Promotion Launches
Virtual reality is effective for on-site experiential marketing, which can typically promote a launch of a large new initiative (new car, movie, TV show or branding initiative). Users can personally interact with the promotion or brand via “mixed reality” or 4D virtual reality, becoming more ingrained in the initial experience and leading to strong media impressions. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, HAWTHORNE LLC
4. A Perfect Partnership With Augmented Reality
VR and AR tech combined will make the most impact in 2019. The futures of these technologies are tied together. While VR will continue to grow in the content marketing sector, both technologies need each other to have a full impact in the ad industry. AR has the virtual element without leaving the real world—consumers would need to have that experience for a successful VR/AR campaign. – Cagan Sean Yuksel, GRAFX CO.
5. Emotional Consumer Responses
VR will allow us to immerse our market in experiences like never before. This will allow us to communicate with consumers on an emotional level through the environments and circumstances we create. VR is the ultimate tool for visual and experiential brand communication, as we can place our target markets directly into the message we want to create in order to drive an emotional response. – Michael Smith, iTribe Social Inc.
6. Expanded Previews For Automotive And Travel Customers
Virtual reality technology is tailor-made for industries like auto and travel, where the sale is often based on an expected experience versus consumption. Expanding the trial or preview experience from the limits of a showroom or an actual flight can prove to be compelling and generate a new segment of customers outside of a geographic range. – Keri Witman, Cleriti
7. ‘Impossible’ Experiences
While the original fuel for VR (at least in the media) was heavy on the gaming side, VR has been seeing a ton of movement in “experiences.” It can make the “impossible” possible: skiing in Aspen, visiting the Andes or even walking on the moon. Or imagine if before taking a cruise you could experience it in VR first. I can see travel and entertainment having huge commercial opportunities for VR. – Bernard May, National Positions
8. Glimpses Of The Future
While VR is becoming more commonplace in advertising, we still see real value in the experiential space. VR allows brands to elevate an in-person experience, allowing consumers to engage with current and even futuristic products. For example, automotive manufacturers can share their concept cars via VR, allowing consumers to fully experience the vehicle without the need to develop a physical car. – Scott Kellner, GPJ Experience Marketing