At RedFox Creative we tend to focus heavily on virtual reality because, well let’s face it, it’s the future. Regardless of whether the technology becomes mainstream and every person in the world owns a headset, virtual reality technology is evolving and it is here to stay. As with most new technologies the first major adopters will be large companies who have the funds to experiment with the technology to see if it can be leveraged into the enterprise space as a whole. Specifically, companies looking to monetize the technology in regards to advertising and reaching people through new experiences. We are seeing this now with virtual reality as giant companies like Google have begun creating virtual reality advertisements and platforms for smaller companies to benefit from the tech themselves. In this blog we will touch on the predicted growth of virtual reality; specifically in the enterprise space. Also how we believe that in the near future many companies will be creating virtual ads themselves, a lot of them, to reach people in this new frontier of digital media.
Virtual Reality: A Predictable Growth…..?
There is no denying that over the past five years everyone has been hearing more and more about VR. The landscape of VR as we knew it was changed in 2014 when Facebook purchased Oculus VR signifying the first true enterprise belief in the technology. Soon to follow was the release of the advanced and widely successful HTC Vive headset in 2016 that brought true gaming into the VR space. Since VR hit the video game industry its popularity has grown immensely, hundreds of games being developed and released for VR headsets while popular YouTube stars as Markiplier demo VR games on his channel. It makes sense that the video game industry was the earliest adopter in VR technology, as most new technology is, but recently other industries have been eyeing the tech to benefit them in some way as well. Not surprisingly the medical industry has been very outspoken and full of positive critics. Experts describe how advanced VR simulations can aid in training doctors how to do complex surgeries in a space where real time metrics can be established to monitor the doctor’s performance.
Given these signs it is very easy to predict the future growth trends of the VR industry. Analysts have predicted that the VR market could be worth more than $30 billion by the year 2020 if the tech continues to expand in the enterprise space, and that 28 million people could be paying for VR hardware and content by 2018. With these statistics in mind it can be assumed that the success of VR will only increase from here. In order for the technology to migrate from being a dedicated video game platform it will take a handful of innovative startups to experiment with and leverage VR for different enterprise applications. As more and more content is streamed over the internet, and with 360° video slowly becoming a new standard, companies are going to start looking at VR for advertising. However, the beauty of VR advertising as opposed to other traditional forms falls simply on the ability to create experiences for people. It will be these unique virtual experiences that people will become hungry for and will ultimately lead people to make purchasing decisions direct from their own virtual world.
Advertisements in VR: They will happen and it’s actually a good thing.
Not too far into the future you will be heading over to your couch to put on your VR headset to watch the weekly broadcast of America’s Got Talent (this is purely an example, but would be cool if it happened). Watching this show in VR gives an exclusive front row seat to the action as if you were actually there. The main sponsor of the show just so happens to be Pepsi, who every so often displays a three dimensional cube in the corner that twists and spins showcasing different versions of the Pepsi product. The first commercial break approaches and the scene in front of you changes as you are whisked away to the middle of the Sahara Desert surrounded by elephants, gazelle, and countless Zebra’s. Your task is to lead the herd of animals through the desert to find the nearest watering hole by the time the one minute countdown clock hits zero. You race through the desert following the outlined paths as the sun above gets brighter and brighter. With 30 seconds remaining you approach what appears to be the watering hole….with no water. Instead, there is a bottle of Pepsi sitting in the middle of the dry pond. You pick up the bottle only to see that a pack of lions has descended upon you and the animal herd. The king lion approaches you and stands about two feet from your body. A set of instructions appears signaling you to open the Pepsi and pour it in the lion’s mouth. As you do the watering hole refills and the animals around you begin to cheer as the countdown clock reaches zero. An image then appears of the Pepsi logo that says “Share life with a Pepsi”.
Although that scene was completely made up it is very possible for an ad to be developed like this in the near future using the power of VR. VR is all about immersion, and there is no better way to make someone buy into a product more than by having them experience it first hand…..to an extent. The fact that companies are beginning to think about advertising in VR is feat as a recent report found that only 8% of brands intended to use virtual reality for advertising. It will take mass consumer adoption before all companies begin to use the technology to advertise, but as the technology expands into new markets and industries they will be left with no choice other than to advertise using VR is a key tool. With the age of mass digital content exploding as fast as we blink it won’t be long before virtual reality catches up with reality. For the startups looking at Google’s experimentation with virtual reality advertising as a threat it would be better to view it as an opportunity. Let them work all of the bugs out and create a platform for everyone else to grow upon, because even Google will need ideas on how to reach people in this new frontier of digital experience.
Nick Myers is a Partner at RedFox Creative. For more information to to leave a comment, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!