Over the past 10 years, we have masterfully learned how to use gadgets to communicate. Today, digital technology is transforming the art of storytelling by transporting consumers beyond the screen.
Virtual Reality (VR) has become a powerful new tool for storytelling. It blurs the line between storyteller and audience. VR technology is rapidly evolving as a channel for attracting viewers in everything from entertainment to advertising.
Users are already identifying best practices and developing tools to measure ROI. In one of its earliest videos, USA Today actually gets you inside the house. As part of the branded content promotion for Nest, smoke alarm technology, viewers can experience a 360-degree perspective on what it’s like to be inside a house on fire. The idea is to highlight how smart smoke signals can help save lives.
The power of virtual reality
One of the great features of VR is that it creates an experience for the viewer that can be as real as a real experience. In the best examples of an impressive narrative, a user or viewer can remember the story as if it actually happened to them.
VR pioneers’ red lines for creating brand stories are car companies. The industry that moves the fastest and makes the most noise in terms of VR are car brands. Automotive companies like to give users a sense of what they’re doing in the car. The 360 video, for example, will provide a driver’s seat for the Honda Indy, traveling at over 200 miles per hour.
VR’s impressive experience is a compelling way to highlight the power of the brand and Honda’s engineering capabilities. The two-minute video was extremely successful – we have millions of views. It also helped us to understand that there is an audience looking for a truly quality VR experience for consumption.
Creativity meets technology Every great marketing campaign starts with a really good story. Some of the companies that have already figured out how to tell VR stories.
Although there are still many technical problems, USA Today is a company that demonstrates how video can be monetized. Adobe is also investing to facilitate end-to-end management and delivery of VR content and to measure its effectiveness.
For example, Adobe Primetime includes playback, digital rights management and ad insertion capabilities. In terms of monetization, Adobe extends the advertising capabilities that already work on PCs, tablets and smartphones for VR devices. This allows supported ads, multiscreen content providers to reach VR audiences without adjusting their business model.
Adobe is also working on VR advertising solutions, which include seamlessly embedding ads in VR environments and the ability to collect additional metrics for everything from online video delivery to tracking data from a VR custom headset. In addition, new ways to overcome bandwidth limitations are being developed to provide end users with significantly higher image quality.
Soon: Interactive holograms
If you think that exciting 360-degree video has potential for the market, get ready for what’s coming. Two new mixed reality technologies are on the horizon – volumetric video and light fields that allow people to be inside VR video. With these innovations, companies will be able to immerse their customers in real-life storytelling experiences.
In fact, these new technologies go beyond a VR headset, transforming the user interface from viewing to engaging. 3D video provides the ability to fully scan and capture the moving, talking person with whom you can walk and see from all angles. With light field technology, the objects you see are also 3D and accurately depicted from any angle.
This differs from volumetric video in that with this technology, light fields guide the user’s view to the center of the event. So instead of being outside looking into what’s happening, you’re in the center of the sphere looking at the events. From this perspective, you can walk around, inside the sphere, and the 3D objects that are projected around you still look real.
Growth of in-depth VR
Although holographic technology is still not ready for prime time, VR is ready to develop very quickly. One report by The Diffusion Group states that VR shipments will grow from less than 5 million per year. The report also predicts that global revenue associated with VR will exceed $18 billion. As the market for VR grows, advertising and marketing opportunities will be available.
Especially in virtual reality you are living the experience. Selling and marketing virtual reality must be part of the experience. This isn’t about selling openly, it’s about experience. One of the innovative technologies Adobe is working on is the ability to replace the brands that appear in VR videos with personalized messaging that is user-oriented in the context of what they are viewing.
This could mean, for example, that someone taking a virtual tour of Times Square in New York will see a digital billboard in which a targeted ad replaces what was on that billboard in the original video. The idea is to combine real-world advertising with targeted advertising, but it will still be very unobtrusive, without interrupting the user experience.
VR is still in its infancy, but it already has an impact on entertainment and advertising. As USA Today has learned how to use VR to promote branded content, a full immersion experience can create a powerful connection between viewer and brand.