- The eMarketer report, “Virtual Reality and Beyond: The Current State and Future Potential of Immersive Digital Marketing Experiences,” found that virtual reality (VR) has become a viable option for immersive marketing and that marketers should begin experimenting to stay on top of the trend.
- One measure of VR’s commercial viability tracked in the study was the amount of investment in VR companies, and found Q1 2014 had $76 million invested in 15 deals with that number rising to $131 million in 16 deals in Q2 2015, and a high of $626 million in 13 deals in Q4 2015.
- The numbers fluctuated, but the larger trend indicates VR investment is rising overall.
Investment from two of the largest tech companies in the world – Facebook and Google – are only encouraging the idea that VR is finally going to break though as an actual consumer device, giving marketers a new type of media to tell brand stories.
Facebook bought VR firm Oculus Rift in March 2014 for $2 billion, and Google invested $542 million in Magic Leap in October 2014. Google also spent R&D time and money on developing Google Glass, an augmented reality device, giving its team some insights into basic VR technology.
Ericsson ConsumerLab asked smartphone users what VR activities appealed to them last October and found the top answer at 64% was "see items in real size and form when I shop online," a result that have marketers excited about being able to give those respondents exactly what they are asking for.
Looking toward the short term impact of VR, a Gartner report estimated that by 2018 around 25 million virtual and augmented reality headsets will be sold to consumers. Industry players tracking VR for marketing were predicting last year that one of the areas where the technology might make an early splash is B2B marketing through telling a more complete and compelling story during the complex sale.