Immersive video (aka VR, 360) is unarguably the next best thing to seeing a product in person, and that’s too good for brands to pass up.
The medium isn’t exactly new, with early forms of VR dating back to the 1950s, but what is new is the extent to which consumers are willing to explore it.
One poll cited by eMarketer found that 64% of smartphone owners would like to use VR to “see items in real size and form” when they shop online, while 57% like the sound of internet tech support that features “all-angle view.”
VR for watching sports, mobile games with 360-degree views, even a virtual reality dating service were all of interest to the survey’s global respondents.
We’ve seen brands experiment with immersive video of various kinds before.
Mercedes-Benz USA launched an immersive video experience, this one taking viewers to the mountains of Colorado. The video, which features both the Mercedes-Benz 2017 GLS and Loki the Wolfdog, is part content marketing, part social influencer campaign (Loki is an Instagram star). It has also been integrated into MBUSA’s ongoing #MBPhotoPass campaign, which uses influencers to showcase the company’s vehicles in the wild.
A handful of other auto brands have begun to take immersive video seriously, MINI USA among them. Last fall the automaker released two 360-degree brand films that are available to consumers on YouTube as well as the MINI site, where viewers can request a free cardboard VR viewer.
What’s in it for consumers?
These examples aside, immersive video experiences are still relatively hard to come by.
Their novelty is appealing. Just 11% of online adults have tried VR to date, though 30 percent are eager to.
This creates an opportunity for brands to become consumers’ first VR or augmented reality experience.
With the ability of this technology to deliver intense and exciting content, brands stand to deepen their connection with the consumers they hope to convert into customers. Employing immersive video is about delivering added value. Companies invest in entertainment in the form of films and web series to encourage engagement and keep brands top of mind. With 360-degree video and augmented reality, they can get people talking and boost positive brand sentiment. If the experience is tied to product packaging, they’ll boost sales, too.
We expect to see more brands experiment with immersive video in all of its formats in the months to come – and not just for the sake of entertainment.
Look for companies to use 360-degree video to highlight their products, and take potential customers behind the scenes to destinations, , race tracks, and runway shows where they can experience product performance and craftsmanship up close.
Immersive video is unarguably the next best thing to seeing a product in person – and that’s too good for brands to pass up.
In other words, digital marketing is about to get real. In fact, we already execute this medium for our destination and hospitality clients! See our Facebook page for examples.