Since the beginning of modern marketing, brands have understood that forming a connection with end users is the core to a successful marketing strategy – creating something that stirs emotion or provides an experience often has the most lasting impression.
With marketers increasingly turning to digital and mobile tactics, the ability to connect with end users in an immersive way has diminished. However, the promise of virtual reality (VR) as an immersive experience is on the verge of a breakout for publishers, broadcasters and marketers. In fact, some of the largest players in media space are diving into this technology before most consumers even have their own VR headset. While the majority of Americans haven’t yet embraced the idea of exploring virtual worlds, the media is focusing time and effort on how to incorporate VR in their future content delivery strategy – and it’s wise for marketers to do the same.
Why? As media publishers and marketers look for the next way to get in front of their customers and connect with them on a deeper level, what better place to meet and command their attention than inside a fully-immersive platform accessible from anywhere? Virtual reality is the answer.
From sporting events to magazine content, VR tech is poised to fundamentally alter the the way consumers experience media, and here’s why publishers and marketers are jumping on board before mass adoption hits:
News outlets such as the Associated Press and The New York Times are producing VR content tied to compelling, emotionally-driven stories. The lens of virtual reality brings consumers closer to the heart-wrenching or heart-warming action, providing a media experience that verges on cinematographic.
Brand marketers can explore how to become part of these stories, as sponsors or as immersive parts of the story itself. Emotional stories are what drive the highest viewer engagement, commanding social media shares, traffic and commentary that takes on a viral effect and keeps people coming back for more.
Furthering Digital Content
With 84 percent of American adults using the Internet and 68 percent owning a smartphone, digital content is being consumed at a fierce rate. Consumers demand access to digital content and publishers need to fulfill the consumer’s need for immediate gratification. As more people expect digital content at their fingertips, they will also be looking for what’s next…which is where VR comes into play.
VR takes digital content to the next level and will be first embraced by digital natives who grew up with smartphone technology and social media. Through VR, these consumers can view content in the first-person, becoming part of the action and – in some cases – become involved in a “choose your own adventure” type of situation.
Imagine if you could “walk” into a story and choose through whose perspective and which angle you view the content? VR makes this a reality and broadcasters are particularly interested in this aspect of VR, researching how to apply it to the multi-billion dollar sports industry.
Sports fan are called fanatic for a reason – they are a loyal, passionate base of viewers who consistently tune in to watch their favorite teams on TV and online. What if these fans could experience the game on the field, watching it through the eyes of the quarterback when on offense, and from the seats at 50 yard line when on defense? Pioneering VR technology allows fans to experience games in ways not possible with traditional television.
Rather than experiencing a sporting or other broadcast event from a few pre-determined angles, VR opens up the potential for viewers to customize their content – and the same goes for advertisers. Brand experiences can be embedded within the VR world, providing viewers a choice in what they want to see from advertisers. Thirsty? A vendor in the stands comes by at intervals, offering a specific brand of beverage and serving up brand impressions.
VR plays into the demand for both real-time and immersive content – two things that digital natives have accepted as media standards today. Live, one-dimensional events are giving way to three-dimensional, first-person experiences and VR is leading the charge. Savvy publishers and marketers can either jump on the ship to ride the rising VR tide, or run the risk of sinking to the bottom of the never-ending sea of standard digital content.
Disclosure: We have not been compensated for the article, but we are sharing our Amazon Affiliate links to Zeiss’ award-winning VR headset.