How Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are Bringing Marketing to Life

Marketers are increasingly finding innovative ways to reach customers.

One of the newest marketing trends is the use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)–mostly in big-budget marketing. But swifter adoption could be on the horizon.

In fact, the VR market alone is expected to reach $101 billion by 2027. And, according to Statista, VR and AR spending across sectors was already in the billions in 2017.

With imagination and technology on our side, the future marketing potential is endless.

Today, brands are already using AR and VR for innovative marketing campaigns.

Let’s take a closer look at the definitions of VR and AR, and some interesting case studies.

What Is Virtual Reality (VR)?

Virtual reality is a computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors.

What Is Augmented Reality (AR)?

Augmented reality is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. One example of this is the Pokémon Go app, which allows you view the world through your smartphone camera and superimposes Pokémon characters on it.

How Are Brands Using VR and AR?

Let’s explore ways that both AR and VR are creeping into marketing agendas and paving the way for all marketers to add some new life into their marketing campaigns.

Snapchat Brings AR to Both Users and Advertisers

You may have heard about Snapchat’s dancing hot dog that debuted in 2017 and used a form of AR to delight users. According to Snapchat, the hot dog was viewed more than 2 billion times.

Here is an example of the dancing hot dog reposted from Snapchat to Instagram:

Snapchat has since announced that it would begin allowing others to create their own form of AR within Snapchat via its ad platform. They call it “3D World Lenses,” and it allows companies to bring characters and products to life inside the Snapchat camera.

IKEA Makes Home Design Easier Through AR

In 2017, IKEA announced the “IKEA Place” mobile app, which allows iOS users to virtually place furniture in their home before buying.

IKEA said in its release:

Built on Apple’s new ARKit technology, IKEA Place marks an important milestone in the IKEA digital transformation journey. IKEA is one of the first home furnishing brands in the world to bring this technology to people, shifting the way we purchase furniture in the future. The app automatically scales products – based on room dimensions – with 98% accuracy. The AR technology is so precise that you will be able to see the texture of the fabric, as well as how light and shadows are rendered on your furnishings.

Giraffe360 Enables VR in Real Estate

Giraffe360 is VR technology that’s designed with the real estate sector in mind.

With Giraffe360, real estate professionals can capture virtual tours of a property. The technology promises real estate professionals to achieve higher deal efficiency and decrease property showings down to 70 percent with virtual tours.

Marriott Hotel’s Virtual Travel Teleporter

Marriott came out with a really creative marketing campaign utilizing VR when they setup various teleporters in key locations, which with the help of Oculus Rifts VR technology, allowed hotel customers to travel and experience new locations virtually.

The campaign had a huge impact on customers and was reported for years as a key example of companies using VR in their marketing.

You can see the creation of the teleporters in this video below:

Vespa’s AR Scooter Ad

Many companies have combined AR technology with traditional print ads, but Vespa did something really creative when they allowed you to customize a 3D scooter right before your eyes. That’s not all though, as once you finished creating your scooter, you are able to drive it right off the page and around the room or area you happen to be sitting in.

As you can see, even in this early stage of AR and VR technology, many companies are starting to adopt this trend in their marketing efforts. And as is often the case, early adopters are sure to see bigger wins.

Although both VR and AR technologies have not come to realization in every day life as quickly as initially predicted, it is still inevitable that these technologies will become a part of every day lives in the near future.

Now is time to start thinking about how your company and your products fit in a VR and AR world.

Effective Ways Companies Are Using Chatbots

If you are involved in marketing today, then you have heard of chatbots, also known as conversational agents.

With Hubspot recently reporting that almost half of all consumers would rather connect to a company via live chat than any other means, 40% of those people saying they don’t care if it is a chatbot or human being, and with 35% of people wanting more companies to launch chatbots, it is clear that this new emerging technology is changing the way companies handle marketing and customer service.

That said, sometimes it can be hard to envision where and how you would incorporate using chatbots in your marketing plans.

Well here are a handful of companies that are using Chatbots effectively, to give you some ideas and inspiration of how you could be using them for your company.

Spotify 

Spotify is one of the most popular music apps around and sharing what someone is listening to and getting song recommendations is a big party of the Spotify experience. So it makes sense they would launch a Facebook Messenger Chatbot, which offers playlist recommendations based on factors such as mood, activity, and genres.

Here is what it looks like to get started on the Chatbot, which you can find here : m.me/Spotify

It might seem pretty straight forward, but Spotify has jumped on an emerging technology, taking their users sharing and recommendation activities, and introduced a function around their app that is bound to increase user satisfaction, app usage, and attract new users.

Sometimes simple and easy is all it takes to have success in marketing with emerging technologies like chatbots.

Mastercard

Mastercard took an interesting approach, by launching their Masterpass Chatbot technology, which allows other businesses to take payment through their chatbots. Like selling shovels at a gold rush, Mastercard took advantage of a need to receive payments and launched Masterpass onto multiple platforms, such as Facebook Messenger, Skype, Telegram, Slack and more.

A large number of companies have partnered with Mastercard using Masterpass Chatbot technology, such as FreshDirect, Blue Nile, Office Depot, Neiman Marcus, The Cheesecake Factory, and Subway, who had one of the largest Facebook Messenger launches in the Restaurant space, launching with more than 26,500 Subway restaurants.

By making a technology that allows so many other major companies to find more financial value in their own Chatbot experiences, Mastercard was able to expand its brand and participation in one of the fastest growing emerging technology markets.

Now these are some great examples of companies using Chatbots to improve their customers experience in a way that enhances their already existing offerings or services.

Here are some examples of companies who have really become creative with Chatbot technology, providing some unique benefits for their customers.

Casper

As one of the leading mattress companies in America, Casper knows sleep.. and they know that sometime people just cannot fall asleep.

Can’t sleep for any reason, then connect with Casper’s Insomniabot to be entertained (and possibly lulled to sleep) with some light hearted conversation until you finally doze off to sleep.

Casper’s previous VP Lindsay Kaplan described Insomniabot as having “watched all of “Stranger Things” and stayed up way too late that night. It’s kind of obsessed with pizza and is really on the fence about if it’s too late to eat or it should just wait to eat waffles in the morning.”

MedWhat

Just about everyone goes online at the first site of some illness, injury, or mysterious symptom they want to figure out.

Well MedWhat has taken it a step further by providing a robust medical artificial intelligence chatbot to help improve your every day health.

MedWhat says: “Our virtual assistant answers medical and health questions for consumers and doctors instantly. The answers are provided by an intelligent super-computer that learns about medicine everyday and over time about your health record and medical questions history.”

So not only does it answer your initial questions and try to determine what problem you might be having, it also continues to improve over time as it learns more about you and the medical industry as a whole.

Similar to Mastercard, MedWhat also has launched an API to allow other companies to partner with them to utilize their information and chatbot technology.

We mentioned a couple examples of Chatbots in use in this article, but there are thousands of examples out there with more every day.

Don’t wait.. start thinking about how your company can utilize this exciting new technology in your marketing plans!

*All images used from the mentioned company websites or personal screen captures.