According to data from Statista Research, the virtual reality software/hardware market for consumers is expected to be worth more than 14 billion U.S. dollars by 2021 (statista.com/statistics/528779/virtual-reality-market-size-worldwide). When you realize this statistic is for consumer usage alone and doesn’t include business, government, or military usage, you begin to realize just how truly staggering the future of immersive reality is for those smart enough to innovate.
Everything from AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality), and MR (mixed reality) will transform how companies connect with consumers in the future. Unfortunately, far too many brands are burying their heads in the proverbial sand, hoping that immersive reality won’t impact the future of their consumer outreach efforts. If your brand is smart enough to see the writing on the virtual reality wall and wants to prepare for the future of digital marketing, it is imperative to start facing the facts of immersive media. To help you better understand how consumer connections will change in the future, following are 10 tantalizing truths brands need to understand about developing an immersive media strategy.
1) Immersive media is increasingly being used for educational purposes. From students in the classroom to doctors in the operating room, immersive reality is exploding in popularity. If your brand is interested in educating consumers on the benefits of your products/services, developing an immersive media strategy will be critical in competing with forward-thinking brands in your market sector.
2) Immersive reality is also being used by companies in the hospitality and tourism sector to increase revenues. Companies understanding the potential of immersive experiences to increase revenues will be best prepared to capitalize on profit-generating outreach opportunities. Creating an immersive media strategy now means your brand is poised to take advantage of opportunities as new virtual and augmented reality technologies become available.
3) Immersive media isn’t just about experiences you can see. Increasingly, brands are innovating in the immersive audio space (youtube.com/watch?v=9UQ8e98Br3Y). From surround sound within a virtual reality environment to voice-enabled technologies, sound is one of the next frontiers in immersive experiences. Understanding the importance of immersive audio is crucial for brands wanting to maximize the potential of their IM strategy.
4) Immersive media is also making its way into sectors like architecture and construction. Businesses within markets like real estate, home renovation, and décor had best be prepared for the technological shift coming their way. As mixed reality, augmented reality, and virtual reality become more mainstream, expect to see increasing demand from B2C and B2B consumers for immersive media marketing. Developing an immersive media brand development strategy now means you’ll be able to build a reputation as a thought leader while competitors are struggling to come to terms with their new marketing reality.
5) Product design will also be influenced by the increasing use of immersive reality. When end users can experience a product or service from within a virtual atmosphere, there is an increasing need to improve multiple design facets of a product/service. It will no longer be good enough to design in a 2D or 3D atmosphere; product designers will need to create in a way that takes immersive tactile influences into account.
6) Advertising is one of the most exciting opportunities for immersive media. Companies understanding the potential of creating innovative virtual/augmented/mixed reality experiences for their target consumers will be at the forefront of immersive advertising. Everything from the way products are advertised on social media to how they’re portrayed on television will adapt as immersive technology becomes mainstream.
7) Mobile gaming is another immersive marketing opportunity smart brands will capitalize upon. With smartphones becoming more advanced each year, mobile gaming is prime marketing ground for savvy companies wanting to turbocharge their customer acquisition rates. Whether its through the development of a brand-specific immersive mobile game or through advertising on a popular immersive game, there will be a rush of activity as companies wake up to the reality of increased brand positioning via immersive mobile gaming.
8) Expect to see growing interest at the intersection of social media marketing and immersive media. Companies like VR Scout are already innovating in this area with technologies like augmented avatars and virtual reality environments (vrscout.com/news/avatars-and-environments-social-vr). As technology shifts to AR/VR/MR environments, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram will need to innovate to keep up with the times. Starting to develop a digital strategy for your brand that includes immersive reality will mean you’re prepared when social media outreach collides with augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality.
9) The field of data research is also being impacted by immersive media advances. Companies are now able to research interactions in an augmented/virtual environment and discover everything from consumer reactions to product short-falls. Understanding how data research will be influenced by the move to immersive reality is key for companies wanting to develop a sizable lead over competitors.
10) In case you think all immersive media interactions will take place in a virtual world, be prepared for mixed reality interactions out in the real world too. Innovation is already happening with augmented reality bus stop advertising and in-store display advertising. Brands should be prepared for everything from their digital signage to their billboards to be influenced by immersive reality technological shifts.
As the above examples clearly indicate, immersive media will transform the future of brand marketing. Regardless of which niche your business is in, how you interact with your target customers will change. Developing an immersive media strategy now is essential if you don’t want to be left behind as technology transforms how customers interact with your brand. What are your thoughts? Will your business be doubling-down on an immersive reality marketing strategy?