Report: VR won’t be ready for marketers until 2020

New research from Forrester finds truly immersive VR experiences at scale are years away

Marketers may be ramping up for virtual reality, but a new study warns consumers aren’t quite ready for it.

The study released by Forrester, Virtual Reality Isn’t Ready For Marketing Yet, revealed critical-mass consumer adoption of truly immersive, high-end VR is still at least five years away.

While brands, media, agencies, and marketers have all been raving about VR in the past year, fuelled by the expectations that it will transform how consumers interact with media, the report claimed beyond some free PR fervour around any VR experiments, marketers will not get much out of VR as it exists today.

It highlighted that today's consumers just don’t get it and still struggle to fathom what a VR experience is, or even why they need it. In fact, 42 per cent of US online adults in 2016 said they had never heard about virtual reality headsets and 46 per cent said they don’t see a use for VR in their lives. The report further revealed that currently, only 360 degree video content will flourish on low-to-mid-end VR devices, offering limited value to brand and consumers alike.

The report also evaluated the current VR market, identifying key factors that marketers should consider before diving into VR.

It found that in order to determine if launching a VR initiative makes sense for their business, marketers must embrace a post-digital mindset and ask themselves the extent to which VR aligns with their consumers’ behaviours and expectations and their brand’s promise and experience. Importantly, the report also warned marketers to steer clear of using VR as an ad pushing channel, but rather, focus on a more immersive, social and shareable experience.

The study suggested marketers need to consider three key factors before determining whether to invest in VR technology.

Firstly, it suggested marketers assess the current and future customer propensity to embrace VR and pace the VR strategy to align with current and future customers’ interests.

Marketers need to determine if VR is a natural fit for your brand, examining who you are, what you sell and how you sell to customers, the report stated. For instance, certain brands that stand for a certain aspirational lifestyle may benefit from VR to craft virtual experiences that elevate brand ethos in a manner more immersive than TV ads and more scaled than events, Such brands can use VR to radically transform storytelling for a deeper emotional connection and higher affinity, the report highlighted. Finally, the study suggested marketers determine the approach to VR marketing, in the context of the wider marketing objective.

As an example, the report recalled how Topshop piloted this type of use case by letting customers virtually sit in the front row of fashion shows during London Fashion Week in 2015. Ford also virtually invited brand and racing enthusiasts into the command centre during the 24 hours of Le Mans in 2016.

Despite the lack of uptake in the short-term, the report predicted VR will eventually offer exciting new opportunities to B2C marketers.

According to Forrester, VR is unlike any channel to date: Highly immersive and intimate, with a future integrated with social and the internet of things (IoT). This unique combination will create not just new storytelling capabilities, but also opportunities to craft whole new experiences as part of the brand offering.

Eventually, the report forecast in the net 5-10 years VR will transform marketing experiences and will evolve significantly, integrating into marketers’ post-digital marketing approaches. And given its unique characteristics, VR will be unlike any marketing channel that has come before, the report claimed. It predicted new technologies, like body haptics feedback, and wearables, such as connected gloves, will ultimately immerse consumers in a new and immersive sensory experience and unleash new and exciting forms of storytelling.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Innovations in retail will bring creative and technology closer than ever

While approaching a customer in a shop and asking what you can help them with is Retail 101, how many of us actually enjoy being approached? Generally, you have to give the forced, fake smile and say, “Just browsing, thanks,” while screaming on the inside, “just leave me alone!” Maybe it’s just me?

Jason Dooris

CEO and founder, Atomic 212

There’s a brand in my digital soup

Not a day passes by in the life of business executives where digital innovation or the prospect of disruption is not front of mind. This in turn, drives an unrelenting flow of questioning, discussion and strategy papers.

Jean-Luc Ambrosi

Author, marketer

Can marketers trust agencies again?

Unless you’ve been marketing under a rock, you’ll probably have questioned whether your media agencies are offering you transparency.

Nic Halley

Founder and managing director, Mindbox

Nice post Brad! very useful information. The retail stores are really mean for every brand I am agree with you. Now Online Service Market...

Srialto

The rise of online retail marketplaces and what they mean for brands

Read more

Minor correct Nadia, just wanted to clarify that the "Marketo consultants" that did this work, were actually Hoosh consultants

Fab Capodicasa

What it's taking for Edible Blooms to grow a stronger personalisation strategy

Read more

Im not surprise though, been in the industry for couple of years and I feel and see it with my tow eyes how eCommerce platforms innovated...

Jason Smith

Australia Post earmarks $20m for Australian ecommerce innovation investment

Read more

For marketers that are "going Agile" I recommend using Ravetree. It's a really powerful suite of tools for Agile project management, reso...

Janice Morgan

7 ways to run your marketing department like a software startup

Read more

Over the years very part of our lives has become technological. That’s why I am not surprised to see that Australian home loans are going...

GreatDayTo

Why Aussie Home Loans is embracing digital transformation

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in