- Over half (53%) of consumers say they would be more likely to buy from brands using virtual reality technology than ones that are not, according to a new study of 1,300 adults from Greenlight VR and reported by Adweek.
- 71% of consumers surveyed said they find virtual reality technology makes brands seem “forward thinking and modern.”
- 91% of people who hadn’t personally experienced VR had positive feelings about the technology after just watching an informational video about it. 65% of those people reported being interested in VR and 58% said it "amazed" them.
Virtual reality and augmented reality are among the most bleeding edge technologies that marketers can leverage. The recent success of Pokemon Go has marketers interested in augmented reality, but the more immersive virtual reality may offer tangible benefits for marketers in improving brand affinity and increased purchases. (For those wondering, the difference between the two is simply this: Augmented reality adds virtual elements to our existing reality, while virtual reality immerses the user in a virtual world.)
"We're seeing specific VR activities have unique emotional footprints, offering fascinating insights for those who are considering their VR strategies," Steve Marshall, svp of research and consulting for Greenlight VR, said in a statement about the research. "For example, among our sample, watching a live broadcast event in virtual reality generates significantly higher ratings of positive emotions such as 'happy' and 'energetic' when compared with playing a VR video game."
The challenge for any marketer looking to adopt cutting edge technology like virtual or augmented reality (VR/AR) is that these technologies are not truly proven as marketing tools. They require both a budget commitment and a time commitment to the learning curve that comes with new marketing technology.
But virtual reality definitely has the attention of the major technology companies: Google, Facebook and Samsung are all making investments in R&D. Recent research from CB Insights found that overall investment in VR/AR companies increased every quarter from Q2 of last year through Q1 of 2016, where investment topped the $1 billion mark.
While Greenlight VR’s research found that brands may find benefits by just being active in cutting edge tech, most industry players see VR tech as having the strongest immediate impact on B2B marketers. With VR technology, B2B marketers will be able to offer prospects immersive product demos with storytelling elements that go far beyond online or other marketing asset capabilities.
While only time will tell if VR realizes its potential (and how soon it does so), the technology is projected to quickly grow into the mainstream. Earlier this year, a Gartner report estimated that around 25 million virtual and augmented reality headsets will be sold to consumers by 2018.