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The use of data to deliver personalized brand experiences has been one of the most significant developments to change marketing in recent years. Leveraged by Facebook advertising agencies, Instagram specialists, and the like, consumers are now accustomed to seeing ads that are fine-tuned to speak to their interests and their needs.
Along with Big Data and AI playing a major role in advertising, we are starting to see brands experimenting with technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality (VR and AR, respectively) as a way to engage with consumers.
The advantages of AR and VR are that they provide content makers with the ability to create more immersive experiences. However, there are some issues when it comes to using these technologies for advertising. This post will highlight some of the ways AR and VR can be used for marketing.
With virtual reality, developers create simulated 3D worlds that people can inhabit. It has obvious applications that make it great for entertainment, but it can also be used to share a message, spread an idea, or even for the purposes of teaching.
Imagine being able to test drive the latest model cars without having to go to the dealership. For the user, it would feel be very similar to sitting in the cabin of the real car and operating the real controls. You could also model virtual tours to sell vacation packages and 360 video to allow users to explore locations without having to leave the home.
There are many benefits of these VR applications. These include the fact that the immersive experience is more engaging to the consumer and that it can also help to create a stronger emotional connection between the consumer and the product.
While there are clear benefits to using VR, there are also some challenges. One of the biggest is actually getting the advertising content in front of consumers. Virtual reality might be more engaging and immersive than other types of content, but most people enter VR experiences looking for entertainment. These users are not thinking about buying new products or shopping for things they may need.
This is why data is going to have to play a role in reaching these consumers. Marketers are going to have to find ways to target users with the VR experiences that not only gain their interest, but ones that connect with their needs and interests.
Furthermore, marketers and VR content creators should look for ways to incorporate ads into the VR experiences people look for. Some companies are already testing some ways to integrate ads in with VR. Google’s VR cube is one idea for putting ads in virtual environments. Along with that, you also have the Virtual Room from Unity.
With augmented reality, developers take the existing environment of the user and add virtual objects. These objects can be viewed through the screen of a smartphone and they fit in with the environment on the screen. Depending on the application, the user can also interact with and manipulate these objects in different ways.
This can be beneficial to marketers because it will allow them to give consumers the ability to virtually test and experience products before they buy them.
One good example of this is the IKEA Place app. With this app, users can take pieces of furniture from the IKEA catalog and view them in a room using the screen of a smartphone. The app analyzes the space to come up with accurate dimensions and then builds a 3D scale model that can be viewed in the room.
Beyond trying and previewing products, AR has the potential to let users get more information about the products they see out in the real world. One idea could be to let users see the reviews for a restaurant when they view the location through their phone. Once wearables become more common, applications could even be designed tell you about a pair of shoes you see someone wearing.
There have already been some success stories for marketers that have used AR and VR to connect with and engage consumers, but this is just the beginning. As the technologies that support AR and VR continue to develop and consumers grow more accustomed to interacting with them, we can expect to see more uses of AR and VR for marketing. For today’s marketers, this is going to require some thought concerning how AR and VR can fit in with their current advertising strategies.
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