What are VR and AR, and what’s the difference?
VR is short for virtual reality, a computer-generated simulation in which a person interacts with a surreal, life-like, three-dimensional environment using electronic accessories such as goggles with a screen or gloves with sensors.
AR, short for augmented reality, is an interactive experience where your real-world surroundings have digital elements. Think Pokémon Go: a real-life environment with added digital components for playing, learning, etc. That Instagram filter you used yesterday to make it look like you were wearing makeup? Yep, AR, and life-altering AR at that.
The difference? VR changes your world completely, like transporting you to a fantasy video game or drinking rose on a beach, when in reality, you’re on your couch in your favorite pair of Nike joggers.
With AR, you’d still be on your couch in your living room, but maybe you’d have some new virtual home decor to test out. You’d get to see how that brand new 65” Samsung would fit with your current decor, or even test out a new media console.
What do VR and AR bring to the table when it comes to marketing?
I don’t know about you, but even just reading the definitions get our wheels turning from a business and software development standpoint. VR + AR software development concepts introduce ENDLESS opportunities to bridge the gap between experience and action.
Virtual Reality (VR) marketing offers a digital experience to promote products and services.
Two common misconceptions with VR currently is that it’s only for techies and gamers and that it must be expensive. Neither is accurate. Like many other experiences nowadays, all that’s required is a smartphone.
For marketing, this is like allowing your consumer to LIVE in your advertisement.
So, instead of watching someone else crack open a Coke on TV, it’s like you’re experiencing it firsthand. Picture this:
You look down, and you see your own hand holding the bright red Coke can. The can is so realistic you can almost feel how cold it is just by looking at the condensation running down the sides. In your ears, you hear the crisp noise of the “pop” and the light “whoosh” of the carbonation exiting the can. You want to take a sip so bad, but something in you tells you to enjoy the moment instead.
Within moments you find yourself grabbing your keys to head to the grocery store so you can purchase your own can of Coke.
How much more likely is that outcome in comparison to if a consumer saw an advertisement on their TV? As marketers, we have to take into account all that dead space between a viewer and their screen. The further they are from the interaction, the further they are from the action.
In addition to promoting existing products, VR marketing can:
- Show off products in development
- Allow viewers to come to you, as VR brand experiences are heavily sought after
- Distinguish your brand as VR continues to gain popularity
AR brings “Try it before you buy it” to a new level
Just like the furniture example we briefly mentioned earlier, an AR shopping experience is like online shopping on steroids. AR allows for testing out home products, clothing, accessories, makeup, and more, without leaving your home.
Digital pioneer, Facebook, has thrown its hat in the ring with various AR applications. Their first effort towards an AR-related advertisement allowed prospects to try on virtual sunglasses.
And, what’s the biggest pain of clothing shopping? The dreaded fitting room. Say goodbye to lugging around and trying on 50 lbs of clothing.
With the touch of a button or tap of a finger, AR lets you test out products from Sephora, L’Oreal, Perfect Corp, Topshop, and Timberland without having to get off the couch.
In addition to trying out products, AR marketing can:
- Bring your products into your consumers’ environments, which psychologically brings them far closer to getting purchased
- Upgrade your customers’ sales experience, increasing business and sales
- Tailor shopping experiences to suit individual shopper needs
- Take your branding materials to the next level with scannable materials that connect users to additional features, information, and connections with your brand
The future of VR and AR
According to the Augmented Reality & Mixed Reality Market forecast, the augmented reality & mixed reality market was valued at USD 2.98 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 27.44 billion by 2025.
As mentioned, VR and AR are being utilized in marketing now, and are only going to become more popular with time. Getting on board ASAP is the smartest thing you can do for your company because you can stand apart before competition grows.
What can your business do to prepare for this software?
Whether you’re an expert or a novice, we encourage you to start or continue the conversation with your marketing and dev teams. Position yourself as your consumer, think strategically about both your market and services/products and how the customer experience would benefit from an interactive experience.
Our advice would be to start small, nail it, then grow more and more. An example would be testing out a product in development with AR so that you can gain valuable feedback. This would allow you to learn while you grow. It also ensures your time and efforts on the backend are being experienced positively on the frontend.
- Start learning + exploring accessible AI tools + resources + software with Google AI For Free
- Create with augmented reality software with Facebook AI Tools
- Tap into Machine Learning software at Spell
- Create videos from a URL with Lumen5
While AR and VR often come across as overwhelming, we hope that we made an intimidating topic more approachable, as well as your VR and AR goals more achievable.
When it comes to mixed reality marketing, slow down. Learn the basics. Start small. Test it. KILL IT. Incorporate feedback and scale the process. Go a little bigger. Repeat until you’re crushing your competition by being ahead of the VR/AR game.
Our team at Gravity Junction, Atlanta’s top digital marketing agency, is here to bring you all of our AR/VR tips at the speed of light! As a group of stage-5 nerds, we love gabbing about software development.
We hope you read this with your favorite mug and coffee in hand! And, if you want your day ruined, go check out this computer-generated fictional celebrity while we’re on this techy topic. Abrupt ending? Hey, that’s showbiz, baby.