It’s Already Here: A VR/AR Guide for Marketers

blog header of individual wearing a VR headset

Marketing professionals are tasked with an enormous feat: to understand the trajectory of what digital marketing technology is capable of. Make no mistake, it is no small order.

In 2022 alone, digital marketing experienced tremendous growth, booming from an estimated $350 billion in 2020 to a projected $946.9 billion by 2027. That explosive growth means in order to keep up with demand, marketers and brands alike need to implement their marketing technology tools, or MarTech, to create cutting-edge digital experiences.

For years, marketers have proclaimed that “the future of marketing technology is coming.” But any great marketing agency knows the truth: the future of marketing technology is already here, most notably, in the form of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR).

If brands aren’t already producing and implementing experiences with AR and VR, they have already fallen behind the curve.

The Basics of AR and VR Technologies

Today’s consumers enjoy the pace and ease of online discovery and checkout, and immersive technology layers that digital experience with virtual, real-time experiences within the comfort of their own homes.

Virtual and augmented reality technologies can transform the way marketers design campaigns and consumers interact with brands.

As stand-alone experiences or complementary tools, AR and VR can enable brands that want to stand out from the crowd to impress and surprise consumers with how helpful, easy, or quick they can provide products and services.

AR is a tool used to enhance our perception of our environment. It enables consumers to experience the physical and digital world simultaneously. Since AR does not require the use of any additional devices or headsets, consumers can easily access augmented reality technology through websites or mobile apps.

Many ecommerce retailers have already implemented AR functionalities into their online shops, allowing customers to try on, try out or simply interact with products in ways quite similar to a brick-and-mortar experience. Because AR immersion allows consumers to experience products in a digital manner, marketers can provide fantastic products and brand experiences within the virtual space.

VR uses specific devices like headsets to create a completely immersive digital experience for users. Unlike AR, which combines digital elements with our real surroundings, VR offers a virtual replacement for our physical environment. VR offers benefits across multiple industries as well; customers could plan trips by virtually travel to new locations, and businesses can design prototypes and create simulations before investing money to create expensive physical products.

The Future of MarTech is Here

As a data-driven marketing agency, (human)x prioritizes experimenting with new strategies and technology, like AR and VR. We pride ourselves on making data-backed decisions both for our business and for our clients. To ensure we provide relevant advice to anyone looking to scale their brand and remain competitive within their industry, (human)x frequently relies on our internal research team to gather and analyze trends in technology.

In fall 2022, our team conducted a survey which confirmed what we have long suspected: the latest wave of marketing technology has not only arrived, but it is also here to stay.

According to the survey, which polled 322 manager-level-and-above marketers, the popularity of the immersive AR and VR technology of today parallels the rise of smartphone technology in 2007.

While the emergence of mobile technology drove the replacement of desktop-first design with mobile-first design back then, immersive, tech-first design may soon supersede those efforts as top priority.

Our survey also noted, however, that adoption and prioritization of AR and VR technology in both the B2B and B2C marketing space is not keeping up with the pace of consumer demand.

While the data suggests that we are still a handful of years away from mass consumer adoption, early adopters of immersive technology are well on their way. Around 54% of marketers have invested in emerging MarTech, including AR, VR, NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) or cryptocurrency — VR being among the most popular.

We found that 31% of early adopters have already created a consumer-facing VR product, and 1 in 5 early adopters have already listed NFTs for sale. Most marketers in our survey shared that they are investing in VR training, AR software and are planning for future NFT activity.

If your brand isn’t also utilizing the latest in immersive technology, now is the time to jump on board and join the future of marketing.

Why Does VR + AR Matter to My Brand?

As more consumers prefer to spend their time online rather than in-store, marketers need to offer immersive marketing technology options that speak to consumers and meet their expectations. Creating a data-informed marketing strategy that incorporates developing VR and AR is a necessary step in keeping your brand relevant and on par with consumer expectations.

The (human)x survey discovered that more than 50% of companies, consumers and marketers are demanding a shift toward immersive technology, with innovation and customer engagement reported as the leading drivers of market demand.

Looking ahead to future market trends, our survey further predicted that over the course of the next ten years, marketers predict an increase in budget allocation for VR and AR. That means that marketing budgets will be more equally spread between social media, websites, and VR/AR. In fact, 63% of marketers predicted that immersive technology will be a major component of future marketing campaigns, with VR and AR technology potentially becoming as commonplace as smartphones in the US.

The impact and longevity of VR and AR technology has yet to be seen, but one fact remains certain: the most successful brands have already implemented immersive tools, and those that haven’t are in danger of being left behind.

As cutting-edge MarTech developments filter through the gaming, entertainment, and ecommerce industries, adjusting your brand’s marketing strategy to include AR and VR technologies is critical to developing and executing successful campaigns.

Partnering with a seasoned marketing agency like (human)x, where our internal team works tirelessly to ensure our clients have access to the most relevant data, will move your brand in the right direction. To learn more about AR and VR and how to integrate it into your marketing strategy, connect with the (human)x team today.