Content marketing is all the rage. Marketers are using it to sell everything from brand names to tangible products. Customers are demanding that businesses bring them value beyond their purchases. They want brand value.
These customers are using the Internet to follow their favourite brands, both before and after making a purchase. They don’t want to see product advertisements, but rather content that engages them and helps solve their problems.
“Brand value” comes from providing information that gives consumers something to, well, consume. If you happen to have a blog, you’re already content marketing. Though so is everyone else. It’s what’s pushing marketers to come up with new content marketing techniques. For instance, influencer marketing is a valuable offshoot worth checking out. However, today we’re focusing on another content marketing development, virtual reality.
Google’s push into 3D virtual reality is starting to shake up the content marketing world. Providing content that customers can deeply engage with? Yes, please! Getting your foot in the virtual reality door is very important moving forward.
3D virtual reality vs video
The current hot trend in content marketing is video. It’s really no surprise, considering video traffic will account for 80 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2020.
So what does this have to do with 3D virtual reality marketing? Well, everything actually. The interest in video tells us that people are demanding ever-increasing engagement. The desire for increased engagement through video is where VR can swoop in and steal the show.
Virtual reality is essentially shooting video in a special way. Yes, it takes special cameras, but the storytelling element remains. Marketers are already working with production studios to create content marketing videos, so the transition is minimal.
Beyond anecdotal evidence, the data tells the same story. Consumers have made it known that they want virtual reality. 62 percent of consumers would feel more engaged with brands that utilise the VR experience. 71 percent view brands favourable if they use VR.
In a nutshell, virtual reality takes our current video marketing and ups its depth. We already have the tools, we just need to capitalise on them.
Virtual reality is something ripped straight out of a sci-fi film. Most people still have a hard time wrapping their head around the concept. Businesses need to understand that while VR is mind blowing, it’s not all that expensive. The problem is, most people have only heard of the expensive side of 3D virtual reality technology. That’s fairly understandable. Cutting edge tech like the Oculus Rift gets all the press because it’s so mind blowing.
Though to really utilise VR for content marketing, businesses need to understand all of their options. Cheap VR solutions do exist. Just ask Google. Google Cardboard offers the VR experience for under £20. The up-and-coming virtual reality device has sold over 5 million units since its launch in 2014, with sales increasing every year. Just drop in any modern smartphone, fire up a compatible app, and you’re in the virtual reality world.
The extreme accessibility is what marketers need to capitalise on. Any company can create an app that runs on Google Cardboard. An immersive experience like never before is becoming possible. With a few easy steps, you can deliver unthinkably engaging content directly to someone’s living room.
Immersive brand experiences
So far we’ve touched on how virtual reality is a (very much wanted) extension of video, and how accessible it’s becoming. We know that we can deliver cost-effective, high-quality, engaging content that consumers want. That’s great. But how do we utilise it?
Creating 3D virtual reality content that can get your company’s brand in front of consumers is the ultimate end goal. Anything from product demonstrations to store walkthroughs is possible with 3D virtual reality technology.
Let’s break down some hypothetical scenarios to highlight what VR can do for content marketing.
The test drive
Companies that sell products that rely on an experience will love virtual reality content marketing. Imagine that you’re selling cars. What better way to market the driving experience than using a virtual driver’s seat.
Well, Volvo did just that with their Volvo XC90 virtual test drive app; which debuted on the Google Cardboard. People can download the Volvo app to their smartphone and experience a country drive with a full VR cockpit.
My new kitchen
IKEA took a similar approach to Volvo with its Virtual Reality Kitchen Experience. Users can, you guessed it, walk through an entirely IKEA kitchen in VR. The idea gives consumers the best way to experience a fully IKEA kitchen without buying an entire kitchen set.
It seems mundane, but this is amazing content marketing. You can live the brand without having to invest in the brand. Further iterations could let consumers design their own IKEA homes, customising everything to their heart’s desire. It’s pretty much the ultimate in entertaining, problem solving, content.
Anything else you can think of
That’s the great part about 3D virtual reality. It’s so versatile that almost any content can have a VR slant. Product demonstrations? No problem. Attending an event from across the country? That’s easy too. Almost any content your brand wants to push can translate to the virtual reality platform.
Google, with one simple cardboard design, has turned content marketing on its head. Instead of blogs and video content, Google is moving us towards “hands-on” demonstrations. No longer are marketers stuck explaining their brand to people. The future of 3D virtual reality content marketing is about letting the consumer live the brand.
Google and other 3D virtual reality companies are quickly changing content marketing as we know it. There’s just nothing quite as engaging as experiencing something in VR. It’s the next best thing to actually living out what you’re seeing. The cheap, accessible nature of virtual reality, combined with its versatility and immersive nature, is propelling the technology to the very forefront of the content marketing world.
If you would like help with any aspect of your content marketing needs, please get in touch with us here.