Virtual Reality and the Average User
Featured Image: Benjamin Torode via Getty Images
Virtual reality (VR) exploded last year and is only expected to continue growing in 2017. It brings with it opportunities for new and exciting ways of engaging your consumers. But, is it right for everyone?
There’s only one way to answer that question: ask someone who’s tried a VR Headset. By listening to a real customer, we found out there are several factors you must consider before you make the leap into the VR world.
Introduce the right audience.
VR is exciting, but it may not fit your target consumers. After speaking with a 60-year-old male, Bruce, he made it clear that he found the technology “disappointing.”
“I hope to return [the glasses]. Maybe if we had a Samsung phone and Samsung goggles, maybe we would’ve had a different experience… This one didn’t seem to meet the expectations,” Bruce shared.
Bruce, as a 60-year-old Baby Boomer, may not be your target audience. You may be targeting an audience that may be more invested in acquiring the latest technology. Or, maybe your audience is more interested in exploring the VR world. Either way, defining your audience for your VR content is absolutely critical.
Consider the current state of VR technology.
While VR is one of the most interesting things on the market today, it is still young. Meaning, VR technology may not be completely ready for your desired usage.
Bruce found the equipment difficult to use. “We couldn’t get the applications to work. The only thing we could really get to work was birds flying [a Cardboard feature], but even that was like a testing program.”
Ways to resolve this problem could include making sure your content is as easy to consume as possible. It is impossible to eliminate all potential technological issues. But, by making sure your content is easy to navigate and view, you can lessen the chances of your viewers becoming too aggravated with the functionality of the equipment.
Make the content clear to consumers.
Different customers have different expectations to what they’ll be getting out of VR content. Apps are being modified with VR options. Documentaries are being formatted with 3D VR viewing in mind. But what are your customers getting from your content?
Some customers, like Bruce, didn’t know what to expect from the VR goggles. “When they explained how you could use [the goggles], they said that Netflix could give you a 3D experience, but that didn’t pan out,” he said.
Your content needs to be created with purpose. If the content could easily have been shared without VR technology, your audience may find the content less engaging. At the Consumer Electronics Show, Claudia Cahill explained, “[Virtual reality] has to be a part of the story and part of the reason why users are going to engage with it” (AdWeek).
Virtual reality content should be interactive. Take a live, non-VR example of consumer interaction – Sleep No More. Sleep No More is an interactive theatre experience housed in New York City. The theatre troupe puts on play productions, like any other theatre company would. But, the interesting part is that visitors wander through the “theatre” on their own. Theoretically, one could see the production completely out of order. The actors interact with the viewers as they watch the spectacle.
This same principle can be applied to VR. Sharing content in an interactive way is the heart of VR’s creation. If your content is interactive in nature, VR may be the ideal medium for you.
So, are you ready to invest in virtual reality?
Virtual reality is a huge investment. Chasing after the latest trends may not be the most effective way to reach your audience. That’s why you have to approach it carefully. Try experimenting with formats like live video or 360 video, which are engaging with wide audiences and could be a stepping stone into VR in the future. The most important thing to take away from this is that if you use VR, use it with purpose.
Katie Murray is a Marketing Intern for Green Buzz Agency. She reports on the latest trends in Video Production and Video Marketing. She hopes to experience the board game Clue in virtual reality one day.