Digital Marketing and VIrtual Reality: A Powerful Combination

The Combined Power of Digital Marketing Strategy and Virtual Reality Experiences

Nowadays, if you were to ask people if they knew what Nintendo was, you would highly likely get numerous “yes” answers. Even the most tech-hostile Luddite would know what it is—that’s how prevalent the company’s digital marketing strategy has been. Their success in the electronic entertainment field has made them a powerful force in the video gaming industry and a household name all over the world.

However, back in 1995, the unbeatable giant took a great gamble on the “Virtual Boy,” the world’s first-ever commercial virtual reality rig. Due to a number of problematic elements, such as a headache-inducing display, a monochromatic presentation, and a rushed production, the company experienced its first failure. What was once promoted as the gaming industry’s future ended being a dismal failure when it got canceled within its first year of distribution.

Merging of Digital Marketing and Virtual Reality Experiences

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Twenty years later, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are resuscitating every Neuromancer-based daydream that the 90s had started but failed to finish. As early as now, many big-name brands have shown interest in the fresh technology, one of them being the social media giant Facebook, which had bought Oculus for $2 billion back in 2014.

Right now, the wave in the digital world seems to be toward VR tech, and while it may still take some time before the technology becomes a common presence in homes all over the world, its effect on marketing is already strongly felt. All that said, what trends should the marketing world expect, and what potential do these innovative headsets promise in the next decade or so?

The Art of Motion

Two factors allow virtual reality to be an immersive technology that exceeds anything available today, except for reality, of course. The first factor is “blinding” feature of the headsets, which restricts the user’s view to only what’s directly in front of their line of sight. The second factor is the motion-based intake that VR banks depend on. In the said intake, users can freely look and move around a certain confined space and communicate with what’s around them by “holding” objects with handheld wands. With this, a basic drift has become possible, which had never before been possible in digital space.

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With regard to presenting ads to people, virtual reality makes the collection of motion data greatly possible, making it virtually easier for data-driven marketers to analyze the engagement level of their advertisements. As it is, it seems that Facebook has started using Oculus to collect their users’ data, in terms of their movement and behavior.

Creating a VR Experience

Although product placement doesn’t necessarily require a lot of evolvement, the creation of an entire venture for users does; meanwhile, user-generated content demands a strong user base that just isn’t in existence yet. Despite this being the case, some brands have still decided to give VR a chance.

For instance, Wells Fargo has started offering their customers a chance to try VR at choice branches in San Francisco. There were no unique ads to view or new products to be aware of or buy—it was just a platform where their customer base could try something that has gotten a lot of buzz lately. In a statement to the media, the company said, “The primary purpose is branding and getting Wells Fargo out there in a new and different and fun way.” Although the approach may be a bit crude, it’s exactly what this kind of usage allows.

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The top question on everyone’s minds is: “Does VR need to be an essential part of a company’s digital marketing scheme?” The answer to that is a definite no. And it wouldn’t be anytime soon either, but there still remains a lot of time for brands to think about how they want to take advantage of the technology.

But brands should take a lesson or two from the failure of Nintendo’s Virtual Boy. Although the technology itself is exciting, the actual implementation might be driving people away or making the process really troublesome. Should that happen, then your brands are not going to make it big, despite your intentions. A good advice these brands would be wise to follow is to make something they themselves would want to be engaged by. Who knows where virtual reality could take us next?

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