In 2016, we saw some major developments in the world of online marketing. From the explosion of virtual reality to the rise of robotics, marketers will have to adapt and evolve to the new normal to stay relevant and effective.
VR And Marketing: What’s Next?
Virtual reality (VR) is one of the major shifts in technology in recent years. It merges real life with digital life, creating a whole new dimension of entertainment and learning. The mobile phone (phone) is now a key device for consuming media and interacting in VR, meaning marketers can reach an entirely new audience and engage them in new ways, particularly via mobile phone ads.
Thanks to advances in mobile technology and accessibility of virtual reality content, we’re now seeing a rise in the number of people using VR for learning and entertainment. Some examples of VR products and platforms include:
- Turtle Beach WorldVR TCH-XTD (phone)
- Oculus Rift (headset / PC / Mac)
- Nintendo Switch (console)
- Google Cardboard (phone)
- Vrvana (web / app)
While VR itself is a relatively new phenomenon, the potential for VR and mobile marketing is enormous. With mobile penetration reaching almost every corner of the world and a generation growing up with screen-based media, marketers are well positioned to take advantage of this new platform.
Robotics, Augmented Reality, And Virtual Tours: The Future Of Marketing
Marketing in the 21st century is always adapting and evolving to new media and new platforms. As previously stated, VR is one of the major technologies changing how we interact, learn, and enjoy media. But the impact of technology doesn’t stop there. Other major innovations such as robotics and augmented reality (AR) are reshaping how we do business, entertain ourselves, and learn.
Augmented reality (AR) blends the real and the digital world, enhancing reality with computer-generated (CG) images, videos, and sound. For example, if you have a digital version of the Blue Train by Maurice Sendak (a children’s book about a train ride through a series of fascinating landscapes), you can place the book on a virtual reality (VR) headset and step into the world of the Blue Train, as it were (https://youtu.be/cEuJ3Rzu7s). You can see how this could be useful for marketing and educational purposes.
One of the primary uses of AR right now is to provide an enhanced experience to digital shopify stores. If you visit a digital shopify store like Hatchimal, for example, you’ll see how they’ve integrated AR technology into their online store, making it easier for customers to find and identify products, and allowing the business to capture more leads and grow their business (https://youtu.be/OcZkXgQTU8).
In the future, we can expect to see more businesses and brands using AR technology to supplement their marketing efforts and provide customers with more immersive experiences. Marketing in the age of robotics and virtual reality is certain to be a whole new ballgame.
7 Online Marketing Predictions For 2022
It’s important to keep an eye on the future to know what’s coming and how you should behave (or rather, behave online) in order to stay relevant and effective. Many experts have made some predictions about the future of online marketing and technology in general, and it’s always interesting to see what these experts think. Below are seven predictions for 2022, along with a brief explanation about each prediction.
- 1. Video will be the primary form of content on social media.
- 2. Authentic storytelling will continue to grow in importance.
- 3. Product demos/walkthroughs will become more popular.
- 4. Influencers will play a bigger role in the lives of regular Joes.
- 5. Live demonstrations/tours will become more popular.
- 6. Product reviews will continue to evolve.
- 7. Personal branding will become even more important.
Product Demos And Walkthroughs: Back In Fashion?
VR, AR, and other immersive technologies are completely changing the way we experience and engage with product demos and walkthroughs. These experiences allow consumers to see products in ways they haven’t before and provides them with additional information (often vital) about the product. This is why these technologies are so popular and useful for marketing purposes.
For example, if you visit an e-commerce website like Shopify and search for digital shopify stores, you’ll see a variety of options pop up. One of these stores, hatchimal, provides an immersive experience via 360-degree videos that allow users to see products in all their glory and navigate the store virtually, selecting items and checking out, all without leaving the comfort of their homes. (See above for link.)
Based on my own experience as a consumer who has used these tools, I can say that I prefer an immersive experience via VR and AR over simply reading about a product, watching a glorified product demo, or looking at a picture of a product on a website. In most cases, these experiences are much more useful and relevant than simply comparing features on a list or staring at a bunch of products and clicking on a few, randomly.
Product demos and walkthroughs are here to stay, but they’ll take on a new form and function. The above-listed technologies are only the beginning, and marketers should prepare themselves for the exponential growth in this space.
The Rise Of Influencers
In 2022, we’ll see more influencers than ever before, particularly as brands and businesses look to take advantage of the video generation.
Influencers are popularly known as celebrities or famous people who have a large audience or social media following who are generally interested in a brand or product. Influencers can range from social media stars to popular bloggers or vloggers to webcam models who have thousands or millions of followers on social media. Essentially any person who has a significant social media presence is considered an influencer.
Thanks to the rise of platforms like TikTok, where anyone can become an influencer simply by creating content that’s entertaining or informative to viewers, influencers will have a broader reach and be able to impact more people than ever before. This is great news for businesses since influencers, particularly those with large followings on TikTok, can attract and inspire a new audience. In fact, it’s often said that “the next big trend [on TikTok] will be defined by its influencers” because of the platform’s broad demographic and the ability to influence it. (https://blog.kissmetrics.com/the-rise-of-influencers-g88b3f9b5b24)
Of course, not every business will be able to afford expensive influencers and celebrity brand ambassadors, but everyone can afford video content creation, so content creators, bloggers, and vloggers can play an important role in educating and entertaining viewers, particularly within the millennial audience, which is the largest and most influential demographic online right now.
Product Reviews Will Never Be The Same
Thanks to the marvel of the internet, we’ve seen the evolution of product reviews over the years. From printed reviews of books and DVDs to online forums and blog posts, we’ve seen a steady stream of content providing essential information for consumers, particularly in the case of digital goods and services.
However, with the rise of mass-produced, identical products and the democratization of product testing, we’re seeing a shift in what type of information consumers want.
It used to be that consumers would flock to reviews, watching them to learn about any glitches or problems with a product before purchasing it. Now, with the ability to research products before buying them, they have the information they need at their fingertips and rarely visit reviews save for those published by established review resources, like the Better Business Bureau or the Amazon product reviews (which are generally much more trustworthy than those found on sites like Yelp or Google Reviews).
With more people relying on online reviews to learn about products, it’s becoming increasingly important to establish credibility and trustworthiness of these reviews, particularly when compared to more traditional review sources (like magazines or newspapers). This is one area that will continue to evolve and change, particularly as more businesses adopt review walls on their websites.