When Mark Zuckerberg took the stage during Samsung’s Unpacked at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, he walked past a convention hall filled with attendees “plugged-in” to Samsung’s Gear Virtual Reality (VR) headsets.
This one scene spoke volumes about the future of VR technology.
With virtual reality adoption and consumer accessibility increasing, 2016 may be the breakout year for “the next platform” of technology as explained by Zuckerberg. With seemingly endless experiences and possibilities at the consumers’ fingertips, how will marketers and publishers take advantage?
“More Virtual” Virtual Tours
While 360-degree experiences such as online virtual tours for resorts and Google’s street view are already being widely adopted, they offer nowhere near the capabilities of virtual reality. Imagine being able to take a “walking tour” of a hotel before booking your room or testing the view before buying seats at an event. Once companies start to adapt and create these features, we won’t know how we ever lived without them.
Virtual Shopping Environments
If you thought conversion rate optimization (CRO) was difficult on traditional e-commerce sites, imagine having to adapt to providing “brick and mortar” experiences through VR.
Companies, though, are already at an advantage due to the rich data available surrounding consumer behavior in these types of environments. However, it likely will not translate seamlessly to the virtual marketplace.
Education and Product Demos
Imagine the possibilities of demoing a product or experience for clients or prospects in a virtual world.
Users will be able to take in the experience in their own way, focusing more closely on the elements that matter most to them, even in group environments. This will open the doors for marketers to display products, experiences and promotions in ways never before possible.
Virtual Display Advertising and Banners
Fact: Gaudy billboards do not belong in luxury resort lobbies. Virtual reality will allow the sale of superimposed ad space inside videos or live streams on their walls, floors or as a pre-roll to a virtual tour.
Some policing of ads will have to be implemented, though. Otherwise, every virtual experience might be littered with more advertising than an MMA fighter’s trunks.
When it comes to the future of virtual reality marketing, the possibilities are endless. Google Cardboard is a completely free offering for those looking to at least get started in the medium and already has a dedicated category of apps and games in the Play Store.
And with Samsung giving away a free Gear VR to every consumer that pre-ordered a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge, in addition to upcoming offerings from mobile technology companies such as LG and HTC, “the next platform” is here.