The barrier between the real world and the internet is slowly disappearing, partially because augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) have become easier to implement. In turn, that has resulted in the rise of AR and VR in digital marketing, where they can be used to great effect. In the following article, you will learn about AR and VR and how it is being used by marketers to connect with customers and drive engagement.
Basic Definitions of AR and VR
While AR and VR might appear magical to some extent, their basic definitions are actually quite simple. Take AR, which is already part of most people’s daily lives in the form of photo filters and games like Pokémon GO. Those are AR? Absolutely. Here are some key points of AR:
- It combines a user’s view of the real world with virtual elements
- The technology operates and is interactive in real-time
- Mostly works through visual and audio
It is more complicated than that, but basic AR has been in use for quite some time, even if you did not recognize it. Now that the tech has advanced and become more accessible, so have its uses, which now include digital marketing.
VR is a bit different in the sense that it does not rely on the real world. Instead, it is the use of technology to generate completely simulated environments with the goal of creating an immersive and interactive experience. While fully immersive VR involving all of the senses is not possible yet, that is where it is heading.
Using AR and VR in Digital Marketing
The use of AR and VR in digital marketing opens new doors, allowing brands to interact with customers in unique ways. Moreover, these types of experiences retain attention and drive engagement more than traditional digital marketing. Above all else, it can be used to eliminate the gap between the concept being presented and the experience. Essentially, users can see it for themselves.
“Staying up-to-date on the latest technology is critical to staying competitive in business today. The technological landscape is always shifting,” states Rudy Mawer, CEO of Mawer Capital, “introducing cutting-edge technology like AR and VR into your marketing will evoke excitement from customers, providing a unique experience.”
While those are generalizations between both AR and VR in digital marketing, it holds true. Whether it is augmenting reality or creating an entirely new environment, they both offer opportunities to grasp hold of customers and provide unique and engaging experiences.
There are limitations, such as the equipment required for VR or the extent of the immersion offered, but those limitations will only shrink as time goes on.
AR Lets People Try Before They Buy
There are many ways brands allow customers to try products before they buy, from fitting rooms to free samples and test drives. However, prior to AR and VR, there was no real online equivalent. All of that changed with the implementation of AR.
AR can be used to give customers the chance to see how something would look before they spend their hard-earned money. Moreover, it can be used for almost anything, including:
- Clothing and accessories
The addition of AR and VR in digital marketing campaigns means customers do not have to guess about what they will be getting or how it will look. While it might not eliminate the need to see something in person at a brick-and-mortar shop, it certainly decreases the need to go beyond the digital to buy a product.
How will that shirt look with your outfit? Will a piece of furniture match everything else in a room? Does a copier take up too much space to fit into an office? Using AR, answers are a click away.
AR and VR Allow Interactive Experiences and Tours
There are many ways to use AR and VR in digital marketing to add value. One example is how TOMS Shoes incorporated VR into its marketing strategy by offering users the chance to follow its team to donate shoes via a VR film. Viewers became a part of the company’s mission, providing children in need with new shoes at a school in Peru.
VR has also been used to give people tours of a location or allow them to step into a store or digital showroom to get an in-depth look at an object or place without leaving their homes. Museums, car dealerships, and on-demand fashion shows are all on the list, and the best part is that it does not matter how far away you live.
AR can be just as effective when it comes to experiences and tours. The main difference? You have to be there. It might sound dreadful to some, but AR can change the in-store experience into something special. One example is Burberry’s Olympia bag AR experience, which brought a statue to life with the simple scan of a QR code.
Beyond the entertainment value of having a statue walking around the store on phone screens, it allowed customers to take photos and videos of it happening, which they then posted online, improving brand awareness with user-generated content.
Benefits of AR and VR in Digital Marketing
Brand awareness is one major benefit, especially with how much AR lends itself to user-generated content. However, there are various other benefits, which do not just include a much higher rate of engagement. Here are some of the ways these new opportunities benefit digital marketing campaigns:
- Improves the customer experience
- Increases conversion rates
- Builds a stronger emotional connection
- Reaches a younger audience
- Leads to more sales
AR and VR in digital marketing also lend themselves to enhanced storytelling, which in turn increases engagement even further. Are there limitations? Yes. But with the technology becoming more accessible by the day, expect to see many digital marketers turning to AR and VR technology to stand out from the crowd.