Virtual reality (VR) has yet to take off in content marketing terms, according to a new report published by Yes Lifecycle Marketing, which showed that just eight per cent of brands are using VR in their ad campaigns. More than a third also revealed that they are either not planning to leverage VR or still have reservations about the computer-generated simulation tech.
At present, VR has also not caught the imagination of the general public, as a separate report by Forrester Research found that 42 per cent of digitally connected adults in the US don’t even know about VR headsets, while 46 per cent cannot envisage using the tech during their daily lives.
The fact that marketers are still lukewarm to VR suggests that the majority are doubling down on return on investment and being more pragmatic with their choices of tech and channels to optimise their campaigns effectively. This notion is backed up by the fact that 68 per cent of marketers are using well-worn methods such as social to drive purchase intention, and a further 56 per cent are using video.
Forrester Research analyst Samantha Merlivat said it is difficult to identify a brand that made full use of VR capabilities in 2016. “Planning your brand story around a three-minute video in terms of consumer experience is not something I would call compelling. Brands need to find a use that makes sense, whether it is entertainment, utility or social that goes beyond what they are doing at the moment.”
Ms Merlivat stated that creating content with a twist, such as a movie where VR users can see plot changes depending on where they go, might be the sort of radical approach required to get average consumers interested in the headsets. Two factors are holding the tech back currently: many high-end devices such as Oculus Rift are still relatively expensive, and smartphone experiences are compromising the VR experience.
However, Ms Merlivat believes that VR could eventually take off. She added: “There are brands who want to do VR because everyone is doing it. But in the long term, it will be widely adopted by consumers. And once it hits a certain scale, it will make things more interesting for everybody.”