The growing role of VR and AR in social media marketing
With over 4.89 billion users worldwide, social media platforms are an impactful tool businesses can use to promote their products, generate leads, and gain a competitive advantage.
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are among the recent innovations that integrate with social media. With a lot of buzz around these technologies, how are they implemented using social media? How could they impact the marketing potential of the networks?
The role of VR and AR in social media marketing
Social media marketing is a tactic that embraces the power of social media networks to hit business marketing goals. In the social media marketing context, VR and AR technologies have gained significant traction in recent years.
While these are still evolving technologies, their potential to revolutionize social media marketing approaches makes them a promising avenue for marketers seeking to enhance their campaigns. They offer unique and immersive experiences that can boost brand engagement, drive customer interactions, and create memorable connections with target audiences.
Here are some ways VR and AR are shaping the landscape of social media marketing:
- VR and AR can take your campaigns to the next level by delivering personalized ads. By leveraging user data and preferences, brands can create personalized VR and AR experiences that resonate with individual users.
- VR and AR can provide valuable data and insights about user behavior and preferences. Brands can gather information about user interactions, engagement levels, and conversion rates within X-reality experiences. Furthermore, this data can be used to tailor marketing strategies, optimize campaigns, and deliver more targeted and personalized content to users.
- By adopting VR and AR in social media marketing, brands can differentiate themselves from competitors and create a distinct brand image. These technologies can position your brand as innovative, forward-thinking, and customer-centric, helping to build a competitive advantage in the market.
- VR and AR can transform the way brands engage with their audiences. VR platforms enable companies to host virtual conferences, trade shows, or product launches, providing a more accessible and cost-effective alternative to physical events. AR filters and effects can also be used to create interactive experiences during live events or as part of marketing campaigns.
- The use of VR and AR contributes to highly shareable content. Users are more likely to share unique and immersive experiences with their contacts, thus, increasing the overall reach and exposure of the brand. Marketers can leverage this social sharing behavior to amplify their message and generate organic brand advocacy.
Benefits of using VR and AR in social media marketing
Given the global digitalization of the business environment, digital marketing methods including social media marketing keep gaining pace. Companies strive to embrace innovations and implement new marketing tools to achieve their promotional goals and objectives that don’t change too much.
When it comes to Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, they have quite a number of benefits to offer to social media marketing strategies. Let’s consider the key advantages.
Enhanced user engagement and experience
VR and AR have the potential to significantly increase brand engagement by creating a totally different social media experience that allows users to go beyond traditional text, images, and videos and actively participate in a virtual or augmented environment. They achieve that through:
- Immersive and exclusive experiences: VR and AR can transport users to virtual environments where they can interact with branded content in a highly interactive manner. For example, a clothing brand could create a VR experience that allows users to virtually try on clothes, explore different outfits, and even walk down a virtual runway. This will make users feel more connected to the brand, ignite their interest, and enhance their engagement, involvement, and excitement. To bring these immersive and personalized experiences to life, businesses can collaborate with an e-learning software development company that specializes in leveraging VR, AR to create customized learning solutions that cater to the unique needs and preferences of their audience.
- Personalized content: By leveraging user data, marketers can create tailored content that aligns with individual preferences and interests. For example, a travel agency could use AR to offer personalized virtual tours for specific destinations based on users' travel history and preferences. This level of personalization fortifies user engagement and creates a more memorable and impactful brand experience.
- Interactive ads: VR and AR can transform traditional advertisements into interactive and dynamic experiences. Interactive ads can improve click-through rates and increase conversion rates, leading to better ROI for marketing campaigns.
- Influencer collabs: Brands can collaborate with influencers to host virtual events, product launches, or Q&A sessions, allowing users to interact with them in real time through social media platforms. This will not only boost user engagement but also leverage the influence and reach of popular influencers to increase brand visibility.
Increased brand awareness and recall
Utilizing VR and AR in social media campaigns can help generate buzz and attract attention to a brand. These technologies offer unique and novel experiences, making users more likely to share and talk about the brand's content, thus promoting brand awareness among their social networks.
AR filters and lenses on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram provide an opportunity for brands to create interactive and engaging experiences. By developing branded filters that align with their brand identity or promote specific products, companies can encourage users to create and share content, generating organic reach and user-generated content. British Vogue developed branded Sunglasses Flip filter on Instagram to promote their Salvator Ferragamo sunglasses collection.
Gamification is yet another method of effective virtual reality tools used in social media. By incorporating game mechanics such as challenges, rewards, and leaderboards, brands can create a sense of competition and encourage users to actively participate and share their experiences. This can be particularly effective for brand awareness, product launches, or contests.
Success examples of VR and AR use in social media marketing
Though a relatively new marketing tool, VR and AR have been successfully used in social media marketing by many companies including well-known brands.
There are two big names that have made the best use of AR and VR technologies for now and keep evolving in this area.
- Spark AR Studio enables creators to develop their own AR effects and filters for Instagram Stories, which is a great option for branded campaigns
- AR filters on Instagram Stories give users an opportunity to enhance their photos and videos with effects like face filters, animated objects, and 3D masks to create shareable content
- A Try-On feature allows users to virtually try on cosmetics, accessories, and clothing items from various brands before making a purchase
- Facebook Horizon is a social VR platform for users to create their own virtual worlds, interact with others, play games, and attend events within the virtual space
- Facebook Portal devices incorporate AR effects during video calls, enabling users to add filters, masks, and interactive elements to their video chats
- Facebook's Oculus VR division develops VR headsets and immersive experiences for users to engage in virtual gaming, explore virtual environments, and interact with others in VR social spaces
Branded VR experiences and campaigns
Many other brands embrace virtual reality tools too and actively use them for their marketing strategies. Thus, IKEA launched the IKEA Place app, which utilizes AR technology to place virtual furniture items in your own space. Using just their phone, users can visualize how IKEA furniture pieces would look and fit in their homes before making a purchase.
Similar to IKEA, shopping apps for buying furniture and household goods are launched and maintained by Amazon, Wayfair, Target, Overstock, Home Depot, and Houzz. Notably, most of them not only allow visualizing products in 3D models but also enable customers to do visual searches by images.
Nike has also utilized VR technology to enhance its marketing efforts in the sports and fitness industry. They have developed VR training experiences that let users delve into virtual environments and engage in realistic training sessions. This not only promotes their products but also provides value to users by offering a new exclusive experience and getting them hooked emotionally.
Sephora used VR technology for creating virtual try-on experiences. They developed the "Virtual Artist" feature on their mobile app, allowing users to virtually try on different makeup products using their smartphone's camera. Users can experiment with various shades and styles before making a purchase.
While VR and AR implementation in social media marketing requires strict and thoughtful planning and there are certain challenges to keep in mind, these digital marketing tools can bring your company to yet another level in a business environment and give it a long-lasting competitive advantage. So, it’s worth tapping into these technologies now to keep up pace with fast-changing social media marketing trends and maintain solid future business growth.