Emerging Roles of Virtual Reality in Advertising

virtual reality in advertising

When rumors about it began to spread, virtual reality (VR) seemed like one of those exaggerated scenes in Sci-Fi movies that we often treat as a load of hot air.

But turns out many of us were really wrong about it. Virtual reality is a reality now. If you’ve never figured it well enough, here’s a graspable explanation.

VR is basically an artificial environment that is computer generated and makes use of high-end graphics, aural sensations, and audio to simulate a real world. Users actually feel as they would in a real world, and the technology lets one interact and/or manipulate things around them.

Initially, VR was a preserve of film and video programs, but thanks to its dynamic capabilities, it’s now being adopted in several industries, marketing included.

As a marketer, there’s a lot for you to note about VR advertising and this begins with first, understanding what it really is.

Virtual Reality Advertising Defined

Put simply, this is a type of marketing where a business lets a prospect immerse themselves into a virtual world with the hope that the experience will nudge them to take a particular course of action.

In virtual reality lies an opportunity for a business to have its prospects interact with a product, service or cause in a way that is not only personal but also uniquely experiential. VR is one of the new ways a business can offer its prospects a special and memorable experience worth sharing with friends and family about.

International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that by the end of 2017, 30% of consumer-facing Forbes 2000 companies will have tried out virtual reality and augmented reality in their marketing campaigns.

How It Works

With virtual reality, there’s literally no limit to how creative you can get in trying to portray the kind of experience your product or service offers.  Different brands take different approaches to the use of virtual reality in marketing.

Usually, many companies use VR to give prospects and customers an immersive marketing experience. A great example is Game of Thrones’ Ascend the Wall.

Millions of people certainly watch this show, and this VR exhibit made it possible for anyone to now participate in it. With the help of a VR headset, fans of the show can virtually take part in the show’s various familiar scenes.

McDonald’s, on the other hand, took a remarkably unique approach. In Sweden, they made it possible for one to turn their Happy Meal Box into a VR headset (cardboard) named Happy Goggles. The headset comes with, among other things, a game named Slope Stars.

Types Of Businesses That Use Virtual Reality Advertising And Why

Even though the use of VR in marketing is yet to go mainstream on a wide scale, already, there are a number of businesses that have already taken it up.

Unfortunately, virtual reality marketing doesn’t fit every business. Those that do invest in it usually have a clear goal that they hope to achieve with VR. To date, brands that have used VR did so with the aim of helping their prospects get an immersive experience.

Also important to note is that the entire or a larger part of the customer base of such companies is usually receptive to new technology. Examples include hotels, technology companies such as Samsung, car manufacturers such as Volvo and Jaguar, e-commerce businesses, home-improvement businesses, and video game providers.

In the case of hotels, people are virtually transported to hotels and provided with a tour of the facility. Car manufacturers’, on the other hand, allow one to test drive their cars virtually. Home equipment stores help their customers understand how to carry out several home improvement projects to completion.

However, there have been a few brands that have gotten creative with. Apart from the earlier-mentioned McDonalds, Jaguar’s Feel Wimbledon also offers a cinematic experience of what it’s like to fly over and land in Wimbledon court and then enter the body of Andy Murray to score in the presence of a highly charged crowd.

The bottom line is, in using virtual reality in marketing, a brand has to ensure that its use is relevant so as it’s not perceived as a gimmick or inauthentic by customers.

3 Reasons Why It Works To Convert Leads.

Two things that really set virtual reality marketing apart is its capacity to create exceptional engagement and awareness and it’s from these two that it’s able to convert more leads into paying customers. This takes place in the following ways.

Impact & Awareness

A VR experience will, in most cases, cover a customer’s five senses, allowing them to be fully immersed in the experience. This means that almost all their focus will be on the VR content. This is quite hard to achieve with most of the other marketing techniques.

But seeing that all of their attention will be on the marketing message, this improves the chances of converting your leads into paying customers, not to mention that they will want to share the experience with their friends and family.


Part of every company’s marketing goal is to engage its prospects and this often leads marketers to a constant search for better ways to package a business’s product or services. Many normally end up limiting their marketing efforts within engaged video marketing.

Generally, engaged video marketing has always been known to have a positive ROI and VR marketing is the latest entrant that takes things to a whole new level. It makes the video experience more realistic, experiential, interactive and motivating, making a customer or prospect more likely to take the action you want them to.

Customer Experience

When one goes through a virtual reality experience, it often leaves them with a strong emotional impact enough to bolt them into taking different actions. This is exactly what advertising through virtual reality does.

Through VR advertising, consumers will develop a connection with the message or whatever other VR content they interacted with. The experience will stay in their memory and leave a lasting impression.

Now, giving your customers a chance to virtually experience your business’s products, service, operations, can help to build relationships and connections which will, in turn, open an opportunity to convert them into customers

Final Word

Marketing, as a field, has been very receptive to new technologies and VR marketing seems to be on its way to claiming space among the top marketing techniques. Evidently, marketers across the globe are beginning to take note of VR technology and its use in marketing.  And just as we’ve seen, there are a couple of brands currently maximizing its potential in various ways. So, if your business can identify a way to leverage its dynamic capabilities, then go ahead and make it part of your marketing campaigns.

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