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Are VR and AR Ushering in a New Era of Digital Marketing?

If you have even a passing interest in the latest developments in technology, then you know what AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) are, but have you thought about what they could mean to your digital marketing strategy?

VR is still at the curiosity stage, and while it’s been a little slow on the uptake due to cumbersome helmets and expensive gear, the concept has been steadily gaining ground. AR has been in use for a few years now because it runs without the need for any extra hardware. A great example of AR most people would be familiar with is the hit game Pokemon Go, with millions of players all over the globe using their phones to peer into the otherwise invisible pokemon world as they hunt down the creatures.

Successful digital marketing is all about capturing an audience’s attention. However, today’s internet user has become jaded to confronting popups and flashy banner ads and has learned to ignore them. AR and VR offer alternative digital marketing strategies that are new and different and deliver the potential to engage viewers in a meaningful way.

Why Use AR and VR in your Digital Marketing Campaigns?

Good marketers know that the best way to a sale is to create a marketing message that elicits an emotional response. VR can fully immerse the viewer in an artificial world through sight and sound, so they become fully engaged with the marketing message without distraction.

VR can be used in the health industry too. Image by defstock, 123RF.

The Marriott has been embracing the potential of VR with its Teleporter campaign. Users don a VR helmet and are instantly transported to their destination of choice and given a personal virtual tour of the location. First, they are dropped into a 360-degree recreation of a Marriott Hotel lobby, and from there, they are transported to a popular tourist destination such as Hawaii’s Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach in Maui. Life-size waves crash against the beach and they see the ocean spray as it envelopes their entire body as if they were physically present.

Image by Yury Dvorak, 123RF.

New York Times delivered a poignant campaign highlighting the challenges children face when they are displaced from their homes during wartime. While not strictly a marketing campaign, it did generate a lot of publicity, and it’s difficult not to get a sense of the emotional turmoil experienced by the children.

The Power of AR in Digital Marketing

Augmented reality has been around a few more years than VR, as it requires significantly less computing power, and most medium to high-end smartphones have more than enough CPU power to run AR applications.

Image by 罗 宏志, 123RF.

IKEA, the popular retailer of modular furniture, increased their online exposure using an AR app anybody can download onto their iPhones or compatible device. The progressive furniture store giant discovered that 14% of people were taking home furniture that wouldn’t fit in the space they had planned for it. Using an app that takes advantage of AR technology, prospective customers can browse IKEA’s catalog using the IKEA Place app. A quick scan of the area gives the app everything it needs to place the item virtually into the room. Uses no longer need to guess if a bed or lounge will fit, and they can mix and match colors to their heart’s content before they buy.

Soon, AR could be used more in retail.

Both AR and VR are relatively new mediums digital marketers can explore, but we are yet to see the true potential of what they can achieve from a marketing viewpoint. As the technology powering VR and AR experiences becomes more accessible and affordable, marketing will no longer need to interrupt the viewer to get their attention. Instead, the message will become an interactive, engaging, meaningful, and helpful experience your prospects will actively seek out. Next, why not check out how AI is influencing the future of photography?

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