Incorporating Virtual Reality Into Content Marketing
Does your company post regularly on Facebook and Twitter? Do you keep up a blog, similar to this one? If so, you are likely familiar with content marketing — that is, providing valuable, relevant content aimed at a specific audience to drive customer action.
Content marketing shortens the distance between your product and your target audience. Beyond that, it builds a relationship with your customers, so that they’re more likely to stick with you after the first purchase. Instead of passively taking in information, customers want to be actively involved in seeking products that suit their needs. Through content marketing, you can show them how your product or service helps them achieve their goals.
VR is proven to engage people. In one study, VR garnered 27% higher emotional engagement and kept users engaged for 24% longer, compared to when people saw the same content in two-dimensional form. On a larger scale, the VR/AR market is expected to reach 9.2 billion by 2020.
With its projected growth and potential for increasing engagement, virtual reality can breathe fresh air into your company’s marketing strategy. How do you get started with it? Keep these strategies in mind for integrating virtual reality into your content marketing.
Ground your product in a real-life setting
Typically, the marketing funnel starts with brand awareness, and once people express interest in your brand, you can explain how your product fits into their lives. With virtual reality, you can introduce customers to your brand while showing your product in action — talk about two for the price of one.
John Lewis’s 360 shoppable Facebook ads place their products in a 360-degree virtual home. While browsing, you can click on a product to purchase it from the company site. These ads show the furniture in a natural home setting, and they shorten the gap between interest and action. You can check out this campaign here.
Walks of Italy allows prospective customers to take a 360-degree tour of Italy without leaving home. Unlike other 360 videos where the camera stays in one place, this tour lets you zip past the Colosseum on a Vespa. Didn’t think you could “try out” a trip to Italy before booking your flight? Think again.
Appeal to customers’ emotions
Virtual reality is especially effective for emotional appeals, since it makes people feel as if they are there in the experience. By immersing the audience in a virtual environment, VR leads them to feel invested in the characters and conflicts involved.
Feel Wimbledon from Jaguar UK takes an exhilarating skydive into Wimbledon. Andy Murray narrates the video, describing his mix of nerves and excitement leading up to the big match. By creating an in-the-moment narrative of Andy’s journey to Wimbledon, the video gives viewers a taste of the Wimbledon experience, leaving them wanting more.
Cancer Research UK created “The Life Garden,” a virtual field where each flower represents someone who has donated to the charity. The symbolic gesture tells current and potential donors that their contributions matter; in turn, donors will feel more invested in the organization’s mission. The flowers and the garden will continue to grow, and Cancer Research UK urges people to join that growth.
Take on a novel perspective
One of the advantages of VR is that you can explore places where you normally wouldn’t be able to go. GE’s “Healthcare + Oil & Gas” 360 video plunges underwater to showcase their deep-sea oil pipelines. With this experience, GE demonstrates the direct impact of their latest technologies — and you don’t even have to hold your breath.
Sotheby’s International Realty allows prospective home-buyers to explore properties all around the world. In their 360-degree tours, customers can browse different rooms and choose where they want to look. Even if moving to another country isn’t in the cards yet, these tours show how VR allows long-distance customers to connect with your brand.
Dive in with virtual reality
When it comes to content marketing, consider thinking multidimensionally through virtual reality. VR immerses customers in the product experience, so that they can understand not only what your product does, but also how it fits into their lives. Content marketing is all about motivating customer action through useful content. Virtual reality connects the dots between a customer’s needs and a product’s capabilities — now isn’t that useful?
Kristen Lee is a Content Marketing Intern at Green Buzz Agency. She reports on the latest trends in video marketing and virtual reality. If she was on a Vespa tour in Italy, she’d want to grab some pizza along the way.