Engagement Gets Experiential: AR, VR and Digital Marketing’s Future
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are two emerging technologies that are poised to transform digital marketing in the coming years. As these immersive technologies become more prevalent, they will change the way brands engage with consumers and revolutionize digital marketing strategies.
In this article, we will examine 10 key ways that AR and VR will impact future digital marketing efforts. From experiential marketing to personalized ads, these disruptive techs are opening new possibilities for marketers while also bringing new challenges. Read on to learn more about how AR and VR will shape the future of digital marketing.
Enhanced Brand Experiences
AR and VR offer brands new ways to provide consumers with immersive, engaging experiences. Rather than passive marketing messages, these technologies allow consumers to interact with brands in exciting new ways. For example, with VR consumers can be transported into a branded virtual environment. AR overlays digital elements onto the real world that users can interact with. This opens up many creative options for brands to provide consumers with memorable encounters that reinforce brand image and identity.
By creating interactive AR and VR experiences, brands can form deeper connections with consumers. These technologies help move engagement beyond passive observation to active participation. Instead of just seeing a marketing message, consumers get to partake in branded adventures. This makes the brand itself more memorable and meaningful.
The integration of AR and VR with location-based and mapping technologies provides expanded opportunities for proximity marketing. Brands can now reach consumers with contextual ads and experiences based on their physical location. For instance, a coffee shop could drop an AR coupon for a free drink that pops up when users walk past. Meanwhile, VR experiences could be activated when consumers visit certain locations like stores, malls or events. This location-based potential allows for more tailored and relevant consumer engagements.
Location-based AR/VR marketing allows brands to connect with consumers at crucial real-world moments, such as when entering a store. By delivering hyper-targeted experiences at specific places, brands can influence shopper behavior and decision-making during the purchase journey. The contextual relevance drives impact.
AR and VR present new avenues for creating bespoke, hyper-personalized ad content tailored to individual consumers based on their interests, behaviors and characteristics. With AR, personalized objects, animations and text can be overlaid into the real environment based on what will most resonate with the viewer. Meanwhile, eye-tracking combined with VR environments allows brands to modify and customize content to suit each user in real-time. This could mean more relevant and impactful ad experiences.
Hyper-personalized AR and VR marketing provides value to consumers by addressing their individual needs and preferences. By tailoring content to each viewer, brands can break through the noise and effectively engage target audiences. It represents a shift from one-size-fits-all messaging to laser-focused 1:1 marketing.
Enhanced Conversion Optimization
With their immersive capabilities, AR and VR provide opportunities to optimize conversions in new ways. For ecommerce brands, AR allows consumers to visualize products in their own physical spaces before buying. This “try before you buy” experience typically boosts conversion rates. Similarly, VR provides simulations that reduce buying risk and increase confidence for consumers. Both technologies provide experiential scenarios that make abstract products more concrete for consumers, thus driving more conversions.
By enabling consumers to experience and interact with products through AR and VR, brands can influence not just consideration, but actual conversions. Being able to virtually try on clothing or visualize furniture in a room makes the benefits of products more tangible. This motivates action and purchase. The experiential bridge to conversions is unique to these technologies.
Novel Social Media Engagement
The social, shareable nature of AR and VR opens new avenues for brands to produce engaging social content. For example, AR lenses and filters that overlay branded content are gaining popularity with users on social platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. Additionally, 360-degree VR videos allow viewers to actively engage with content by controlling their own experience. Enabling social interaction and participation through these technologies can help raise brand awareness and visibility through social channels.
AR and VR deliver marketing messages in fresh, interactive formats optimized for social sharing. Consumers become more invested in social content they can actively participate in, rather than just passively view. By designing AR/VR content for social channels, brands can gain more organic visibility and reach viral scales.
Enhanced Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is projected to keep growing, with AR and VR opening up fresh opportunities in this space. Brands can collaborate with influencers to produce unique AR and VR content for their followers. From sponsored lenses to branded VR videos, these technologies provide new ways for influencers to authentically integrate and highlight brands through original content. This content then offers value to their engaged follower bases.
Immersive AR and VR present influencers with novel creative ways to engage their audiences while integrating brand sponsorships. The interactive, participatory nature of these technologies aligns well with influencer content. And associated data can provide brands valuable proof of performance and ROI from influencer partnerships.
Advanced Consumer Insights
AR and VR present new avenues for gaining detailed consumer insights through interactive content experiences. User behavior can be closely tracked, including details like where users look and focus within AR/VR content. User-testing through AR and VR simulations also provides valuable understanding of how consumers engage with brands. These digital environments yield data and observation opportunities that provide deeper knowledge of target audiences.
The data gathering and analytics capabilities enabled by AR and VR are unmatched in terms of providing brands with valuable consumer behavior insights. Brands can gain an information edge from AR/VR marketing analytics to refine strategies and optimize user experiences.
More Effective Ad Targeting
The data collection and analytics opportunities provided by AR and VR allow for more effective ad targeting based on detailed consumer insights. Brands can use AR and VR user data like gaze focus, interaction time and physical responses to optimize and refine their targeting. Relevant consumer groups who show the most interest and engagement with AR/VR content can be identified for precise ad targeting. This enables brands to avoid wasted ad spend and ensure messages reach the most receptive audiences.
AR and VR grant access to new data dimensions that, when leveraged properly through analytics, improve ad relevance and reduce waste. Brands can define and find their ideal micro-markets within broader audiences using interaction cues picked up from these technologies.
New Advertising Formats
AR and VR open up completely new advertising formats for brands to explore, moving beyond just digital display ads. Interactive brand experiences can now be delivered through immersive AR and VR consumer applications and games. Brands may also experiment with disruptive formats like AR hologram ads placed directly into real-world environments. As AR and VR grow more advanced, brands will gain access to fresh and innovative channels and options for delivering ads.
The versatility of AR and VR allows for ad formats that disrupt and engage viewers. Brands can finally break out of the confines of screens and place interactive brand content into real-world consumer environments and activities. The boundaries and limits of advertising change with these new technologies.
The Rise of Virtual Influencers
Virtual influencers – fictional computer-generated characters with large social media followings – are an emerging phenomenon poised to grow with AR and VR technologies. Brands can sponsor compelling virtual influencers that integrate their products into AR/VR domains. And through AR, these virtual influencers can even be overlaid into real-world spaces, allowing them to interact with real people. This presents a new type of brand sponsorship opportunity.
For brands, virtual influencers present opportunities for fresh partnerships and narratives unrestricted by reality. These fictional brand ambassadors are controlled by the brand itself yet often feel more authentic to consumers. Backed by AR/VR tech, their future looks promising.
Reimagining Physical Stores
For brick-and-mortar retailers, AR and VR present opportunities to reimagine physical store experiences. AR allows consumers to visualize products in-store through digital overlays, and even “try on” clothing and accessories virtually. Meanwhile, VR can provide immersive brand experiences and simulations in-store. Both enhance the retail experience to be more interactive, personalized and engaging, keeping physical stores competitive in the digital era.
In an ecommerce world, AR and VR give traditional retailers new ways to provide value and convenience that online-only competitors cannot. Leveraging these technologies allows physical stores to blend the advantages of digital with in-real-life shopping.
As these examples illustrate, AR and VR open new dimensions for brands to reach and engage with consumers through immersive digital experiences. While still early stage, these technologies will become increasingly important channels in an omni-channel marketing strategy. Brands that embrace AR and VR now can gain valuable expertise, consumer insights and competitive advantage in leveraging these emerging media for impactful brand experiences. It is an exciting time, as marketers have the chance to redefine digital marketing models with the possibilities of extended reality.