To put this number into perspective, it was back in 2009 that 172 million smartphones were sold globally.
Advertisers who want to develop a presence on the leading technologies should pay attention to how people interact with VR, and begin developing strategies for this growing platform.
Nielsen Study: Who’s Interested in VR?
Recently, Nielsen conducted a study to learn about perceptions and intentions related to emerging VR platforms. Each respondent was served one of 100 different videos that ranged from news clips to brand videos to product reviews, and attitudes toward VR were assessed after exposure.
It was known that plenty of excitement exists around the technology, though ownership is still minimal and advertisers know little about the audience of early adopters.
At the moment, VR generates interest, but remains a bit of a mystery to its fans. According to the study, 36 percent of 18- to 54-year-olds are fans of VR, while only 27 percent feel knowledgeable about it—a situation typical with new technologies.
Nielsen segmented the study participants another way based on how they would adopt VR. The Pavers (PaVRs, 24 percent of 18- to 54-year-olds) were those likely to purchase VR within the next year as early adopters. The Converts (ConVRts, 20 percent of 18- to 54-year-olds) weren’t as likely to purchase VR, but would increase their interest as more information became available.
Of these two groups, the PaVRs are where advertisers would want to focus their efforts for quicker results. Those in this group tended to be younger, and have above-average incomes. Beyond that, they like to adopt new products and services and advocate for the brands they like. Best of all, they recognize quality and are willing to pay more to get it.
The ConVRts, on the other hand, require a little more time, though not as much as you might think. After just two minutes of exposure to informational content on the potential uses of VR, 50 percent of viewers demonstrated some increase in their likelihood of trying or even buying VR technology.
What VR Could Mean for Advertising
Think with Google paints a pretty amazing picture of virtual reality, along with some ideas of what it will mean for advertising.
What was once a feature of science fiction and only accessible to the technically elite will soon be available to everyone. Not only that, but it goes far beyond gaming and sightseeing—it’s about being present at events. Imagine having front row seats at concerts and inaugurations, and being able to relive memories like you were actually there again for birthdays, weddings and the birth of your children.
Google positions itself at the forefront of the movement with Google Cardboard, an affordable way to turn your smartphone into a VR viewer. Millions of these have already been shipped, and users are enjoying the VR capabilities of YouTube as well as games, “visiting” locations and “flying” through space.
Advertising in these worlds means a shift in thinking—from the frames of traditional video to the concept of building entire scenes and worlds. Put the viewer there, and your message will have far more impact.
Google goes on to suggest that brands interested in VR consider the following:
- Can you provide an experience not available elsewhere?
- Can you give a better feel for your product?
- Can you create a rich environment? (For example, how visually engaging is it?)
- Can you retain viewer attention past the first couple minutes?
- If VR can do these things for your brand, it may be worth the investment.
Ginny Marvin of Marketing Land spoke with CEOs of companies aiming to be ahead of the curve when it comes to VR. Expecting a rapid adoption of VR and augmented reality (AR), these CEOs think advertisers will begin picking up on what works and others will follow suit.
Can VR/AR advertising overcome some of the messes of digital and mobile advertising, such as poor user experiences and fraud? This might be a chance to reset digital advertising, and provide such a level of engagement that users don’t even realize they’re seeing ads.
Mihir Shah, co-founder and CEO of the mobile VR ad network Immersv had this to say: “The mobile ad experience bifurcates between boring and broken. The great thing about VR is you can content market in short bursts and see great view-through.”
As surreal as much of this sounds, it’s swiftly becoming a reality. Advertisers who want to bring users into their worlds and make the most of virtual reality should get started now to be an early adopter.