VR could be a success, but it needs a convincing concept; storytelling content and coherence with other marketing materials – such is the conclusion of the German report “Virtual Reality: Content Marketing in a New Dimension?” VR is a new medium resulting from submerging in the virtual world. Is the market ready to offer VR to customers? Let’s take a look at the research results.
The respondents emphasize that VR content must offer real value to its target group – fooling around is definitely not enough.
93% of the respondents think that the success of VR depends not so much on technology, but first of all on strong, engaging stories, also anchored in other content marketing channels.
Visible non-real image enabling us to interact with the content (a computer simulated environment) has been named Virtual Reality. When using VR devices, the user wears a special helmet with an inbuilt display unit or goggles, which are powered by a computer, a video game console or a smartphone. With specialized software and sensors, virtual experience becomes reality. The virtual message is typically enhanced by 3D surround sound. VR can represent elements of the real world (computer simulations) or artificial world (science-fiction computer games).
When does VR prove itself? Experts continue to ponder on new possible uses of the technology. As of today, the most frequently mentioned situations, also in the German report are:
- virtual presentation of prototypes (before introducing them to the market),
- brand experience,
- product experience (virtual test car),
- virtual services (illustration with instruction manual),
- offer personalization or customization for final product recipients,
- personnel management support (e.g. applications).
New Media Potential
Dr Andreas Siefke of Content Marketing Forum and Prof. Dr Clemens Koob asked, among others, about the potential of VR for Content Marketing; 4 in 10 people believe the future potential of VR is very high!
The respondents stated that VR could strongly impact customer experience, while its greatest value is in providing information about the product.
Without question, VR can enliven all products, it’s good for getting closer to the brand as well as for supporting and improving customer offer.
According to the respondents, the potential carried by VR is:
- higher interactivity,
- users follow their experience,
- product and brand emotional markedness,
- providing information in a new way,
- standing out from competition,
- addressing new target groups.
People surveyed by Andreas Siefke and Clemens Koob point to four major obstacles in using the new medium:
- high production costs,
- lack of know-how in the company,
- requiring creation,
- “goggles problem” (unavailable or too large).
One third of the companies (33%) claim to be using VR content already, another 7% has a detailed plan of implementation. Six in ten companies are not ready yet.
What will be the meaning of virtual reality in content marketing in 2020? The report clearly shows that VR content is soon about to anchor in content marketing. But according to 83% of the respondents, VR is going to be just a useful addition, and not the central element, of content marketing activities.
For 70%, VR will be nothing more than a lighthouse – just a signal showing the way. And ⅓ or the respondents believe VR is going to be a communication tool used on a regular basis. Seven in ten business reps believe, that VR content is promising, but many questions still remain without the answer.
The conclusion from the report is that even though VR is a visually interesting experience, the rapidly vanishing effects are not enough. What matters is the content and a substantive story – and these, as always, must be fitted to the target group. And that’s the biggest challenge for experts!