Virtual reality marketing will likely become a new staple for business, and you don’t want to miss out.

Virtual reality (or VR) isn’t reserved for high-tech labs or sci-fi movies anymore. In fact, it’s become quite prominent, and experts predict its popularity will explode in the next year or so.

Don’t just take my word for it: Research found that 22.4 million Americans use virtual reality at least once a month. It’s predicted that by the end of 2018, the number of U.S. virtual reality users will grow to 36.7 million, (over a 60% increase in just one year).

And this growth isn’t from high-end gaming devices, either. Almost 90% of VR use stems from smartphones (like Google’s Daydream View).

So what is VR (and why should you care)?

To sum it up, VR is a computer-based simulation of an interactive environment. It allows for an immersive, 4-D experience, rather than just staring at a screen and clicking.

For instance, this Volvo ad allows you to “test drive” their car from your living room:

As for actually experiencing it yourself, it can be as simple as buying Google cardboard goggles for less than ten dollars. You can also opt for something fancier, like Samsung’s ever-popular Gear headset for under $100.

As to why you should care, virtual reality is not only becoming mainstream, but it has also proven itself as an incredibly useful marketing tool.

Here are some ways VR is marketing on steroids (feel free to steal the takeaways):

It drives emotions in a big way

It’s no big secret that emotions are a powerful tool for advertising. Just think about how storytelling easily captivates audiences and gets them attached to brands (or, how car/beer ads always say nothing about the product itself).

And Nielsen found that VR drives emotions even more than traditional storytelling (or, dare I say it, even romantic comedies). They actually found that virtual reality users were more engaged than any other platform it was tested against.

Just take a look at British Columbia — they used VR to create an emotional experience where people could emotionally connect to their country through real-life exploration of its most beautiful spots. And it worked in a big way to drive tourism.

 

When we literally have smaller attention spans than goldfish, VR is a battle-tested tool that can actually snag them.

Creating experiences

We’re living an experience economy — where people value experiences and sharing them. So it’s no small wonder that VR is being used as a tool to sell through experience.

For instance, in a world where shopping malls are dying, IKEA has ramped up their sales by allowing shoppers to place furniture in their homes through augmented reality and interact in a IKEA kitchen through VR.

Even Marriot used this to allow people to experience VR in their hotel rooms to check out other destinations, and 51% of people said they wanted to utilize Marriot more.

Simply put, it’s like content marketing supercharged. It allows an experience that bridges the gap between apprehension and buying through an immersive and emotional tool.

The bottom line is that Facebook, Valve, Microsoft, Google, HTC, Samsung, Acer (and many other major companies) are pouring billions into VR and AR, and it’s been proven to be a powerful, captivating marketing tool. Will you be next?

Call to action:

Learn more about VR and marketing at LTProject.com. If you have any insights on how VR can be used for marketing, please reach out to me there or leave me a comment!