VR Storytelling; Is it Time for Brands to Dive In?
It’s a question that brands must ask: “When do we start really investing in VR content; is it worth it now or should we wait?”
Marketers asked themselves a similar question about mobile for several years. Before that, it was desktop, and before that, it was cable. Today, marketers sit around the VR pool, dangling their feet, waiting to see if any of their peers are bold enough to dive in head first. This pool party plays out for every new medium. VR is no different, except that the water in this pool may be more enticing than the plunge parties of the past (and could prove to be more refreshing).
At the Adobe Summit this past week, Kelly Andresen (USA Today’s Senior VP) took the stage to say that VR Brand Advertising works, and she has the research from Nielsen to prove it. The company has featured several “VR Stories” that put the viewer in exciting, and sometimes dangerous, real-world experiences. Working with content partners like Nest and Honda, USA Today has seen metrics rise across the board.
Here’s even more proof that VR is perhaps the most effective medium yet for lifting brand metrics: Virtual Sky and Nielsen teamed up to produce the first ever VR Advertising Effectiveness Study. Working with three major brands, they discovered that VR content was between 1.5 and 18 times more effective than traditional video, depending on the content and metric. Highlights included brand recall, which was 8 times more effective across all brands when immersive VR was used, as well as intent to share, which was at least 2 times more likely when utilizing VR.
Immersive media represents a tremendous opportunity for brands of all sorts to engage, persuade and emotionally connect with customers and prospects in powerful ways, but what about scale? What about production costs? Where is the ROI on this stuff? That question has many brands still sitting on the pool deck, but there are those out there who aren’t willing to simply wait. We sat down with Jason Acker (Digital Director, Diageo), and Julia Hamilton Trost (Business Development & Content Partnerships, Google VR) during the Sundance Film Festival to ask about their perspectives on Brand Storytelling in VR. Read some of their responses on the BrandStorytelling.tv blog.
Nielsen and YuMe put out a research-backed report saying that the potential VR has for marketers is “incredible”. While the potential is there, development and connection between content and platform will need to be achieved before there can be an opportunity for results. When tested against 360-degree video and 2D screens, VR yielded the strongest emotional responses, meaning huge opportunities for brands who can create engaging content built around their products and ideals. This comes with the acknowledgment that to do so, content will need to be pioneered by a new breed of directors who can create a balance between strong narrative and the ability for a consumer to