An upcoming marketing trend that has potential to take over when it hits the marketplace is the use of virtual reality. While virtual reality is on hold in the marketing world at the moment due to current lack of accessibility for the majority of consumers, 360° technology has just begun to make a presence in digital marketing. These 360° marketing videos can be viewed on both Facebook and Youtube, and have been adopted by brands including Chanel, Nike, Westfield, Carnival Cruise Line, and Coors Light.
Background on Virtual Reality
Virtual reality is described as a computer generated, 3D world that can be interacted with and experienced by the user. The main way to deliver virtual reality is through goggles or headsets that completely encompass the eye area in order to create the false world. This technology can then be used for watching videos or movies, playing games, and even social interaction like online chat.
The main four companies that have already invested in VR technology are Google, Samsung, Facebook, and PlayStation. Google has Google Daydream, Samsung calls theirs Gear VR, Facebook’s is the Oculus Rift, and PlayStation is simply PlayStation VR.
In order to get slightly ahead of the competition in the virtual reality arena, Google decided to release Cardboard. Cardboard was simply glasses in a cardboard box where one could put their phone in after downloading the app and have a virtual experience. While this was not a serious attempt in entering the virtual reality competition, Google was able to bring this new technology to the attention of the public. Now they have Daydream. Daydream is the actual virtual reality headset that works with Google’s phones, Pixel and Pixel XL, to deliver a true 3D experience.
Powered by Oculus technology, Samsung has launched the Gear VR for its debut into the virtual reality market. It is compatible with all the recent Samsung Galaxy phones, and the primary focus is to be used for games. Along with games, there will be access to video content including videos, movies, shows, and live streaming. Samsung also has the Gear 360 camera which allows for shooting 360° video.
The Oculus Rift is Facebook’s step into virtual reality through 360° videos and photos for social sharing. The idea is to be able to make the experiences shared by picture or video on Facebook more real to the friends and fans of those watching. 360° technology makes the viewer feel closer to those who may be far away. In addition to sharing video, Facebook has opened the possibility in the future for this technology to be used in their chat. Instead of typing and sending messages back and forth, users will be able to actually interact with the other person through the use of a character created by each person that represents them.
In a survey conducted by Magid Advisors, 42% of US consumers aged 8 to 64 said that they would be interested in trying virtual reality for themselves. The issue with using virtual reality in marketing at this time is the percentage of people who do not have virtual reality technology already. Incorporating VR into a marketing strategy right now would be premature considering the fact it is not yet widely used, but thinking about using it in the near future is certainly a discussion to have now before it is too late. It will not be long before the technology is made affordable for consumers, and then is flying off the shelves.
The 360° Experience
Click the links to watch and interact with the videos:
Carnival Cruise Line https://youtu.be/CDfsFuDuHds
Coors Light https://youtu.be/OWwnYOsN16w
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