Virtual reality (VR) continues to grow in popularity and use cases. 44% of mid-size organizations are using VR in some capacity, and the industry is projected to hit $1.8 billion by 2022 within marketing and retail. If you carefully consider how users will access VR and best practices for generating leads with virtual reality marketing, there is a lot of potential here.
Virtual reality marketing has a high potential for lead generation, both before and after the VR experience. The new technology offers many ways to shape a unique experience for your potential clients and users.
Here four things to consider if you want to invest in strategic VR marketing to generate qualified leads.
Virtual Reality Marketing Strategy
To make a Virtual Reality experience successful, developing a strategy is crucial. Using a new technology just to create a buzz will not be enough to reach your business goals. Leave no detail out to ensure the experience is strategic, fun, and relevant. Your strategy should include a clear goal, use case, potential barriers you may need to overcome, and success measurements.
What is the purpose of the VR experience? You want the experience to be engaging, relevant, and to add value for the user. Virtual reality marketing takes time and can be very costly, so it is critical to tie the experience to a specific business goal. Ensure each part of the virtual reality experience, , are aligned with this goal.
How to use AR/VR
How you apply virtual reality marketing within your campaign is also important. Depending on the stage of the customer journey you are targeting, there are several applications for which you might use a VR experience.
- If you are trying to reach customers during the awareness and interest stages, using VR marketing at tradeshows or other events will assist with this goal.
- Product Demo. A product demo using VR would be useful during the consideration and evaluation stages of the customer journey.
- Sales Meeting. To really sell your product or service, using VR at a sales meeting or other opportunity to directly sell to a customer could be the closer.
- Once a customer has purchased your product or service, you can use VR to train them on usage. You can also use it internally to train employees.
Your strategy should address the following barriers to ensure your use of virtual reality marketing is sound and aligned with your goals.
- VR is a novelty technology. Do not let the novelty wear off or become overused.
- Equipment and development can be very costly, so ensure you achieve the highest ROI possible and make a sound investment.
- VR is very time consuming to design, develop, and test. Make sure you leave plenty of time for testing to eliminate any bugs and glitches prior to launch, and that you factor this into your ROI.
- Your VR experience needs to align with your brand’s image.
Ensure your strategy includes notes on how you will measure the success of your virtual reality marketing. If you cannot tell whether your experience was successful, how will you know if creating it was worth the investment?
Some of the common metrics for virtual reality marketing success measurement include:
- Total views
- Unique users
- Number of users that complete the experience
- Watch or interaction time per user
- Number of leads generated
- Call to action – buy button clicks, subscription form submissions
The pseudo formula for VR ROI is I/E + T + EX = ROI
[Investment / (100% Engagement + 100% Total Immersion Time + Compelling Experience) = ROI (Brand Affinity + Emotion + Probability of Return)].
It is true that some of the metrics in the formula are not quantifiable, but it gives a realistic idea of what should be included when measuring success.
Other important virtual reality metrics include eye tracking and time spent engaged.
- Advanced VR technologies can a track users eye movements, so you can determine their interests based on where they are looking during the experience.
- Time spent engaged is a useful metric for downloadable content. By measuring how long users spend with the experience and notice when they leave, you can see what portions of your experience can be improved.
- Treating VR as A/B test helps build better portfolios. The more A/B test you can conduct on your line of products and services, the higher the accuracy of your assumptions.
- Developing and testing VR can be very time consuming and may lead to overlooking some key metrics, using VR analytical tools like Cognitive VR, InstaVR or RetinadVR can help speed up your development and provide you with key analytics about your VR project.
Continually improving the experience will help bring in additional leads, as well as keep current leads and customers engaged.
Carefully consider the environment or setting in which your experience will be presented to users. You also want the environment to be as controlled as possible, so users know what to expect.
Virtual reality at B2B tradeshows and industry specific events are a great way to present your VR experience in a B2B context and generate leads. With hundreds, or sometimes thousands, of attendees, tradeshows can be high-pressure environments.
Generating buzz around your booth with relevant virtual reality content gives visitors and users a memorable and positive branded experience. Asking users for their email addresses before allowing them to access your VR experience is a great way to generate leads.
Virtual Reality Creates Attention and Buzz
You can nurture attention and buzz around your VR experience by announcing it prior to the event and giving your audience a sneak preview of the experience with a short video clip. Having something unique to look forward to makes it easier to promote your business and encourages attendees to visit your booth.
Virtual reality can also help you stand out among the competition and capture the attention of attendees. Virtual reality marketing is still somewhat of a novelty, so it can help attract even more potential leads to your booth. As attendees talk about the event amongst themselves, your VR experience will generate buzz as attendees hear about the experience from other attendees. This will draw more potential leads to your booth.
Also VR experiences will get attention from publications covering the event, not to mention social media posts and shares by attendees. This will boost your exposure and brand awareness before, during, and after the event.
Virtual Reality is Memorable
A good virtual reality experience will leave a strong impression on attendees, and they will remember that your brand gave them an exciting experience much longer than they will look at a brochure handed to them. It is much easier to throw out a flyer than a memory.
Our client, NexStage, has a team of marketers that wanted to create an engaging, immersive, and added-value experience to generate qualified leads. We started this project by working in close collaboration with the client to develop a strategy. Using a virtual reality marketing strategy, we created and developed a VR experience that resulted in a high ROI and was engaging for users. Read the full case study here!
Presenting your virtual reality experience at a tradeshow or event allows users to enjoy the experience without having to buy their own equipment. Different headsets will impact the user’s experience. The one you choose depends on your goals for the event.
Here are the three headsets our team evaluated for our B2B clients:
Google Cardboard is the cheapest option for virtual reality, but it comes with limitations. It relies on a user’s phone, not all of which support virtual reality or 360-degree video. Google Cardboard has a much lower image quality than other headsets. However, because the headset is relatively inexpensive, companies can give it away to allow users to relive the experience and share it with others. Considering COVID 19 has changed our tolerance for hygiene, getting people to wear shared headsets at a tradeshow is going to be a challenge, even with disposable covers and Lysol wipes. There is a multitude of services available to produce and acquire branded Google Cardboard units to give out at tradeshows at a very low cost, which could help people feel less uncomfortable about sharing something that just touched someone else’s face. This will also build brand loyalty with leads and customers, as well as increase brand awareness.
Oculus has several different headsets, all much more expensive than Google Cardboard, but providing a much higher-quality experience. This high-end technology will help your content stand out and amaze users. Their latest offering Oculus Quest 2 is a great entry-level VR headset incorporating the latest hardware and software at a much affordable price. This is a good option for events or tradeshows.
Valve is not a new entrant in the market. It played a major role in the development of HTC Vive, one of the best VR headsets in its time. The Valve Index is a comfortable, high-end VR headset with one of the best build and user qualities of all headsets, but it comes at a steep price. While it may be a good choice for companies with deep pockets which aim to provide the best of experiences, it is not ideal for trade shows or mass use. Another limit of the device’s high quality is the weight it brings, making it less ideal for long VR experiences.
Repurposing Virtual Reality Experiences
Tradeshows are ideal for virtual reality experiences, but another great way to increase brand loyalty is to repackage the experience in another format for users and potential leads who could not attend the event. When creating your virtual reality marketing strategy, plan to repurpose the already created VR experience for other formats and channels. Repackaging the experience with different content is cost effective and can help you generate leads outside of the tradeshow environment.
One way to repackage your virtual reality experience is to adapt it to a video format. YouTube supports immersive-3D and 360-degree videos, although they are not quite as immersive as true VR. With 360-degree videos, users can pan to explore all the angles in the video.
Converting your virtual reality experience into a video format and uploading it to YouTube or your website can give leads an experience adjacent to your VR experience. Include a Call to Action at the end of the video directing viewers to get in touch or learn more. Also, if you host the video on your website rather than YouTube, you can gate the video to collect contact information from potential leads.
You can create a downloadable version of content created for a tradeshow that works with users’ phones or a specific headset. Provide visitors to your tradeshow booth with a link so they can re-live it. Whether users can use the experience at home will depend on the equipment you chose to use as part of your strategy.
If you are not presenting the experience at a tradeshow, you can create an experience directly for download with headsets or compatible phones. Whether you are repackaging tradeshow content or creating a downloadable virtual reality experience, you can gate downloadable content to generate leads.
The future of VR is website. Ultimately, the VR experience you are creating should be part of a larger marketing campaign to boost ROI and generate qualified leads.
There are certain success measurements for virtual reality experiences that can determine their performance, including some common metrics such as number of views, click-through rate, and social media shares and comments. Other important virtual reality metrics include eye tracking and time spent engaged. Advanced virtual reality technologies can track users’ eye movements, so you can determine users’ interests based on where they are looking during the experience. Time spent engaged is a useful metric for downloadable content, as you can measure how long users spend with the experience and notice when they leave the experience which can indicate what portions of your experience can be improved. Continually improving the experience will help bring in leads and keep current leads and customers engaged with your brand.
And that’s a wrap on our virtual reality series! We hope you had as much fun reading as we did writing, and that part three has helped you understand why virtual reality marketing is a great way is to generate leads. If you missed the rest of the series, part one covered reasons to use virtual reality for content marketing, and part two covered best practices for designing and developing virtual reality.
Interested to see how virtual reality might help you achieve your strategic business goals, reach out to the Pace Creative team. We’d be happy to discuss your needs and help find solutions to get you there!