Virtual Reality (VR) has grown in prominence over the past few years and redefined the way we experience the things that we can see. Technological developments have continued to advance the technology and impact has been felt on the digital marketing sector as well, where VR is considered to be one of the most exciting tools to enter the landscape. Although the integration of VR in digital marketing has not gone mainstream yet, several famous brands are experimenting with the technology to provide a more engaging and personalized experience for their customer base.

What is Virtual Reality?
The best example is the game Pokémon Go, we all know the massive attention it garnered in the gaming world last year. This was brilliant marketing because it was a fresh and unique way to play a game that appealed to adults as well as a younger audience who liked the idea of catching all their favorite Pokémons as opposed to finding them in the comforts of their couch. Many companies have already created special VR gaming toolkits, you can take a glimpse at it here.

VR is an artificial, computer-generated environment that uses aural sensations, audio and high-end graphics to allow users to interact, feel and manipulate the artificial world around them as if it was real. Most of the VR experiences are currently experienced using specialized headsets that completely immerse a person in the virtual world.

VR is poised to have a bigger impact on the digital marketing sphere. One of the main benefits of virtual reality marketing is that it lets people completely submerge themselves in an experience that can be engaging, funny, emotional or thought-provoking. This will enable brands to connect with people in a completely new way and bring them closer due to a shared experience. Using VR, you can do almost anything virtually using specialized headsets, glasses and smartphones to feel the intensity and movements. This opens up the possibility of trying new and exciting things that would not have been possible earlier from the comfort of one’s home. You can choose to experience jumping out of a plane and skydiving, or tour some of the world’s oldest and fascinating landmarks and many many more. Instead of watching your favorite nature documentary, you can be there when all the action is happening.

Most of the giant tech corporations are investing heavily in virtual reality by developing different products that can use and implement this technology. Right now, virtual reality is heavily reliant on headset-style products that enable users to immerse themselves in the virtual world. Additionally, due to research and development made by these companies, virtual reality is becoming more and more diverse as more applications for the technology are discovered.

Virtual Reality’s Growth
As many companies are looking to jump on this innovative new technology to create new games and products, its popularity has grown significantly and is expected to continue its growth in the coming years, particularly in terms of users. The long-term business models of VR will emphasize hardware, e-commerce and mobile data. One of the VR games that experienced global popularity was Pokemon GO. For a while, wherever you went, you could see people everywhere on their phones trying to catch the newest Pokemons. So what does the game have to do with marketing? How did the game’s virtual reality component impact the marketing world?

Local businesses learned to monetize using the game’s content. Essentially, businesses bought ad space that would attract customers to their businesses and market to players that were out trying to ‘hunt’ Pokemon. Users could find specific Pokemons at local businesses and as a result, many businesses experienced a lot of traffic and growth due to the game. Virtual Reality also paves that way for creating interactive, creative and engaging content and advertisements. Due to its seemingly limitless possibilities, VR holds the potential to alter content marketing as a whole. Several businesses have already leveraged the technology to provide better customer service for their customers. For example, furnishing stores can simply send VR headsets to customers to take them on a virtual tour of their store and choose and place items they like in a virtual recreation of their rooms. This marketing tactic has led to a considerable increase in their sales.

Virtual reality is growing rapidly in terms of technological development and its usability. Many companies are recognizing the potential of the technology and producing more VR based products. There has also been a significant increase in the investment for developing and progressing the technology further.

VR games and their popularity has been a major contributing factor for marketers in recognizing the technology’s potential in promoting a brand.

In the future, we can expect virtual reality to feature prominently in the world of marketing and we will see the start of companies using virtual experiences to promote high levels of engagement and interaction.