The age of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) is here, and they are expected to take advertising to the next level.

Some believe that both VR and AR global market size will reach $209B by 2022.

For advertisers, both VR and AR offer tons of possibilities, and storytelling is a major one. As we are headed to the future filled with immersive technologies, how will virtual and augmented reality change storytelling?

From today’s media landscape we can learn two essential facts:

  • Users want to be engaged.
  • They want to participate in media messages actively. We hear more and more industry thought leaders talk about how Millennials, for example, cannot be considered passive recipients by brands.

Both VR and AR satisfy customers’ hunger for control and active participation, offering a very visual experience that beats TV or video advertising. By interacting with VR and AR, users become the heroes of a story.

Let’s look at 360-degree videos, which have become quite a VR trend, especially in the travel sector.

This year’s study from OmniVirt revealed that 360-degree ads’ performance tops the performance of traditional ads, with 86% of users choosing to interact with the former. FreshStep’s and Febreeze’s VR video is a great example. It took us some time to find all the cats in the room. How fast can you do it? 🙂

As Digi-Capital noted in one of their reports:

“Truly immersive experiences are magical, lifting the spirit and compelling users to want more.”

VR content occupies the entire field of vision, letting users dive into the moment. The more senses are involved, the better users receive brand messages since they can better see, hear, feel and resonate with what brands are trying to convey.

While virtual reality completely encapsulates users, augmented reality adds a virtual layer between users and the real world.

AR and VR will help brands in many verticals create interactive product displays, getting customers more excited about products. Think of them as tools that make products an integral part of customers’ personal life stories: one moment the lipstick you’re looking at is just a picture on the web, the other – you have it on your lips.

It’s no wonder that the head of strategic planning at Google Zoo, Abigail Posner, calls today’s storytelling “story living,” saying that it completely “shatters” storytelling.

VR ads

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So, the next time you create VR or AR stories, think about a user’s presence – a sensation of being in a given moment. After all, the feeling of presence is what makes AR, and especially VR environments, unique. Think about how you can help create a sense of responsibility by answering questions users might ask: Why am I here? What should I do?

Although skeptics argue that the cost of the technology and the challenge of getting that technology into relevant, attentive audience are going to prevent VR and AR from going mainstream, we expect virtual and augmented reality to gain momentum and become a key ingredient of advertising efforts in the next few years.

In the meantime, marketers need to examine the differences between the value propositions of the two environments to align their KPIs accordingly.

It’s time to get ready to grow your app or online business by creating relevant advertising strategies for the future and leveraging the yet not fully tapped potential of these cutting-edge technologies to the most. For now, you can contact us to see how we can help unlock your business’ potential.