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What Makes For A Successful AR/VR Experience?

Still on the fence about whether augmented reality and virtual reality are here to stay? 

Digicapital estimates that the AR/VR industry will hit $150 billion in revenue by 2020, with AR accounting for the bulk of that at $120 billion. Still unsure?  

The truth of the matter is that consumer uptake of VR and AR is on the rise. That means marketers who are focused on meeting their customers on all of the platforms they use will have to integrate AR and VR into their plans sooner rather than later. 

That leads to the question: What are some of the best practices for AR and VR experiences? We reached out to five experts for the answer. 

Gordon Meyer, Head Of Marketing, YouVisit Virtual Reality:
Whether it’s VR, AR, or 360-degree desktop, the key to a successful immersive experience is interactivity. Passive “look around” experiences fall flat. Audiences want to participate and deeply engage with the content. The experiences we create typically average over 10 minutes and have users engaging more than 30 times to click and explore. Imagine Pokémon GO but for your brand. That’s tremendous success with this powerful medium. You’ll know you’ve nailed it when you start to see engagement and conversions skyrocket.

Guy Primus, CEO And Co-Founder Of The Virtual Reality Company:
In VR/AR, the best way to create truly engaging experiences is through strong character development and compelling stories, which should be delivered with cinematic quality just as with film or television. For both, gaming mechanics and built-in social components are strategies that increase that engagement.

Interactivity is also important but has different meanings in VR and AR. In VR, it’s an opportunity to explore environments and engage with other users and nonplayer characters. Interactivity provides the opportunity to immerse yourself in worlds not possible in reality, allowing the potential of engaging with fascinating experiences. Immersion, a distinctly VR concept and one of the technology's most appealing factors, can be enhanced with sensory manipulation, haptics—vibration, temperature, motion, etc.—and scents, or by mapping physical objects into the virtual world.

In AR, interactivity between digital assets or a character and the physical environment is necessary and need to be functional and seamless. Interaction between the assets or character and the user is equally important. Emotive characters in an AR experience with well-developed personalities or engaging landscapes on a tabletop that inspire users’ imaginations will create a deep connection between user and content, keeping them excited about coming back.

Dave Dickson, Senior Product Manager, Emerging Technologies, Adobe:
Brands that have successful, sustainable AR and VR experiences aren’t just creating them for media buzz or brand activation. They are thoughtfully connecting them to their business strategy in ways that the technology can uniquely impact. To do this, map out your customer journey and identify areas these immersive experiences can enhance—like simplifying decision-making, streamlining processes, or accelerating conversion. For example, VR holds promise in immersive employee training, while AR can help users visualize products, navigate wayfinding scenarios, and simplify back-office processes, like service calls or warehouse picking. By connecting these emerging technologies to your business strategy, you’re better able to measure the impact of user engagement and justify ROI.

Abbey Thomas, CMO, Tremor Video DSP:
In general, there are a few basic principles to consider as a content producer. First and foremost, ensure the VR/AR format works best for your brand. Don’t just do it because it’s the hot, new thing; nobody wants to go virtual with insect repellent.

Give the viewer time and space to explore. For instance, studies exploring average time spent with 360-degree videos on YouTube reveal that most viewers will watch for over a minute. Virtual video asks the viewer to move and explore, so make sure you’re filling their world with rewarding content at every turn.

When a viewer finishes a VR or AR experience, they should feel that the format of the content made the experience more exceptional. It needs to surprise and delight in a way they couldn’t have experienced with traditional formats.

Greg Auer, Executive Creative Director, Wunderman Chicago:
When it comes to creating a successful VR/AR experience, it’s important to understand how the experience will extend a brand’s narrative and how we can use the technology in a way that helps consumers see, feel, and immerse themselves in the brand in a way that ultimately helps create a personal connection. Our goal is to bring consumers into a brand and not just expose them to it. 

Wunderman is part of WPP’s The Naval Partnership, which serves the U.S. Navy business. We recently created a VR experience that addressed the No. 1 question all potential recruits have: “What’s life like in the U.S. Navy?” VR technology gave us the perfect platform to show them the answer and make it the most authentic, real-life, and immersive experience people can have. One of the most impressive results to come out of this work—and which proved its success—was that 20% of participants who were not initially interested in a career in the U.S. Navy changed their minds.

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