If you first think of Virtual Reality, you may recall glass visors, quivering holograms, or bluish-lightened screens from sci-fi movies. Sometimes, Virtual Reality is confused with Augmented Reality, another innovative use of new technologies.
Daily Reality may be less romantic and even slightly less cool-looking, but it’s impressive and useful whatsoever. New technologies can lead to new experiences, and this is what’s happening.
In this article, we will understand what’s the difference between Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) and why the first one, if paired with AI, is an outstanding marketing tool.
Virtual Reality And Real Marketing. How VR Enhances Marketing Strategies
Let’s begin saying that Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality exist and can be essential elements in brands’ digital marketing strategies.
Immersive experiences are a hot topic nowadays, and they are used in many different ways. People want to be involved in stories, and Virtual Reality is one of the most powerful ways we have to do it.
First of all, what is the difference between Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)?. It has all to do with the perception of the users.
What is Virtual Reality and how it works?
In Virtual Reality, technologies allow you to feel as you are completely immersed in another space. You can interact with another reality without feeling the difference between the real and digital one. Sensory inputs are there to bolster this sensation. Audio, video, or even haptic ones, trick your brain and make you feel as if you’re actually on the dangerous edge of an overhanging cliff. You feel as if you’re there.
What is Augmented Reality and how it works?
In Augmented Reality, it’s the opposite because AR makes you feel as something unreal is there with you. For example, you could use an AR-based app to see a virtual representation of the couch you’d like to buy right into your living room, to see how it looks.
It’s the most appealing technology for marketers because it has many different applications in the retail world. AI-based software helps to make those experiences more memorable and realistic for the user and collect useful insights for the marketers. This strategy takes advantage of techniques such as image recognition, video manipulation, voice recognition, and conversational interaction.
The reason behind AR and VR’s popularity it’s the feeling of being part of something completely immersive. Every sense is engaged, and the amazement allows us to live a full experience, also because it’s quite uncommon already.
How can digital marketing take advantage of augmented and virtual Reality? For example, marketers can use it to create Virtual Content Marketing strategies. Or, let you feel as you were in another place, maybe, full of things to buy.
Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Artificial Intelligence, are distinct technologies.
However, marketers can use AI to enable recommendation and analysis that than brands can put in front of their customers with AR or VR.
Let’s see some examples of good uses of AI with VR or AR.
An emotional connection. Emotions are a vital marketing lever able to drive customers’ preferences and in-store choices. VR can help by changing the environment and making it more immersive. Customers will feel like a part of the experience, and this will make them remember more easily your brand. After this kind of experience, your prospects will remember your brand more easily. By integrating this with AI software, it’s possible to collect and analyze a lot of pieces of insight, to study customers’ behavior in depth.
Personalization. As we said personalization is a “must-do” to make your brand prosper, and a widespread way customers know AR in stores. You could use it to guarantee a custom experience in many different ways. For example, a clothing brand can use AR and VR to suggest different dress and colors matching people shape, combining different colors and size.
Geo-tagging. You can use AI and VR to show to your customer your ads in an innovative way. For example, you could select a geographical area of interest and allow people with AR-empowered cell phones or wearable VR systems to interact with it.
Living a fantastic experience thanks to custom simulation. Everybody likes to travel. Not everyone has enough time or money to do it regularly, or even they could be insecure about the place they’d like to see. Or, on the other hand, it could feel safer to train some kinds of professionals – pilots, surgeons… – in a digital environment, to improve their skills without risking their own life. Whatever the reason could be, AI and VR can find a solution. AI can simulate random situations and learn from user’s reactions and behavior. It can be safer and less expensive than real-life training.
Environmental mapping. Sometimes people have to measure spaces to fit some architectural elements, like furniture or even something more significant – let’s think about event organizers. Thanks to AI, it’s possible to map them in real-time and include them in a virtual world. You could use it to have a preview of furniture in someone’s house or even to plan a significant event in a public location.
VR Is Already Between Us. How Brands Use VR, AR And AI
The theory is interesting, but how does it apply to digital marketing strategies? Let’s see together some examples in which some critical brands created a good plan with the help of AR and AI.
Ikea. The Swedish furniture brand created Ikea Place. The technology allows customers to see a projection of how products will look like in their houses, before buying them.
Sephora. Sephora created Sephora Virtual Artist. Thanks to this app that merges AI and AR, customers can try different products on a virtual image of themselves, without having to put them on. In this way, they can try before buying and have an engaging experience. The software scans the image of the client’s face and then overlays on it different shades of lipstick, foundation, and eyeshadow.
Snap it and buy it if you’re walking on the street and see something you’d really like, take a picture. Or, better, snap it. Snapchat developed an AI and AR-based feature that will redirect you on the Amazon page of that specific product, thanks to image recognition.
If you prefer VR-based strategies instead, here we are a couple of ideas.
Volvo. Volvo decided to offer a test drive of their new XC90 SUV made via VR. This experience created hype and anticipation over the release of the model and engaged customers in a unique way.
McDonald. The hamburger company decided to turn the Happy Meal boxes into what they call “Happy Goggles.” It’s a cardboard VR headset in which people can insert their iPhones to view and play a ski-themed VR game.
AR and VR made a lot of progress during the last few years, and they’re destined to be a crucial marketing lever in the next few years. It’s fascinating, it’s engaging, and it’s valuable. Have you ever used it already?
- AR and VR are two great elements to improve your marketing and create content marketing strategies
- Both are useful, even if in different ways, depending of which experience you want your customers to live
- You can use to improve engagement, personalization and make buying easier
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