Virtual reality
Dec 19, 2016 — TrackFive

VR Marketing: Looking Toward A Virtual 2017

With the holidays quickly approaching and 2016 coming to an end, we’ve seen all sorts of interesting tech trends and new products shaping everything from energy to SEO. When it comes to marketing, I can’t help but think about how we’re constantly being guided toward immersive experiences – whether through a brand or the content itself. New platforms like Blendle and even things like Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) are making it so users avoid the fluff and get right to the content they’re looking for.

At the same time, mobile video is still poised to make huge strides forward as one of the fastest-growing ad formats in 2017. It all feels as though it’s leading to one thing: Virtual Reality Marketing.

Okay, it sounds a little out there, but just hear me out with this one – the technology is finally hitting the market, and platform support is here, so inevitably that means an outpouring of marketing opportunities and considerations as we step into the void of VR.

Adopting a Virtual World

As with most things in the world of technology, whether it’ll be adopted by consumers all comes down to pricing and platform support. Seeing as VR is available on a massive scale for the first time during the holiday buying season, it’s not unlikely that users will only become more comfortable with this technology from here on out.

2017 is likely to bring cheaper options for things like VR headsets and its sister technology, the 360-degree camera – because what’s the point of total digital immersion if you’re still in 2d?

Platforms like Facebook and YouTube are already well on board with 360-degree video, providing a pretty stimulating experience even for those viewing via standard computer monitors or smartphones.

VR Marketing: Video Ads and More

Once we reach a point when YouTube’s VR section is alive and thriving, a 2D advertisement is going to look magnitudes less appealing than its immersive counterpart, so the industry is preparing early. All digital psychedelic adventures aside, startups like VirtualSky are looking to trailblaze the concept of creating 360-degree video for advertisers, allowing viewers to interact with an ad rather than simply seeing how quickly the ‘skip’ button can be clicked.

Cheaper options like Google Cardboard and their push for entry-level peripherals may guide daily VR marketing and usage to your average social media user. As immersive as it is, virtual reality is inherently isolating – everything’s occluded beyond your immediate visual feed within the headset. Naturally, the next step is to pair our disjointed, digitally-mediated social experiences on Facebook with a complete sensory placeholder!

Okay, maybe that was a facetiously low-blow for a technology that could provide some genuinely enriching experiences for people who wouldn’t otherwise choose to be social, or those without the physical ability to do so for that matter. Still, it’s appropriate to be wary when reality comes with download options. Whatever the future holds for VR marketing, it’s a given that 2017 will usher in the golden age of video advertising via social platforms.

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