Your Questions Answered: Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and 360 Video

VR provides a new level of immersion with a brand or product, absent other distractions. Not every video you watch with a VR headset is virtual reality. Why should my brand experiment with VR? Is VR right for my brand? What are the opportunities for marketers? A brand, for example, might choose to sponsor one of Hulu’s upcoming Live Nation VR concert experiences, Mr. Naylor said. But the entry point with 360 video is about $150,000 with some 360 video costing as much as $1 million, Mr. Raciti estimated. At this juncture, marketers who are testing VR shouldn’t expect their creative to reach a ton of eyeballs. Pepsi‘s Mountain Dew VR experience tied to the NBA All-Star Game in Toronto garnered about 150 million views, the beverage giant said at an industry conference earlier this month. What’s next for VR?

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Virtual reality is the holy grail for marketers who want to
transport consumers to the islands of sunny Hawaii or allow them to
test-drive a car from their couches. VR provides a new level of
immersion with a brand or product, absent other distractions. It’s
no wonder, then, that marketers are scrambling to figure out how
they can play in the space.

But in this nascent stage, there are no advertising standards or
turnkey solutions for marketers. Even what constitutes VR isn’t
necessarily agreed upon.

So as you explore VR opportunities for your brand or client,
here are answers to some of the questions you may be too afraid to
ask.

What is the difference between 360 video, virtual reality, and
augmented reality?

Not every video you watch with a VR headset is virtual reality.
VR has become the catch-all phrase for content viewed in this
manner, but in actuality, VR is a fully immersive experience that
transports you out of your living room or office, or wherever you
are consuming the content, into a computer-generated world that you
can interact with and navigate through.

The 360-degree video that is being championed by YouTube and
Facebook isn’t VR. These are videos that capture the entire scene
around the camera, giving you the feeling of actually being in the
jungle or on stage at a concert. But while you can look around in a
way a traditional video doesn’t allow, 360-video doesn’t offer the
same level of interactivity as VR.

Augmented reality has also received plenty of buzz this year
with the advent of Pokemon Go. AR essentially inserts virtual
objects into your real-world view. The phrase mixed reality is also
sometimes used in this context.

Why should my brand experiment with VR?

Virtual reality provides a level of immersion that can’t be
achieved on other screens, said Dario Raciti, director at Zero
Code, the interactive entertainment arm of OMD. While
wearing a VR headset, there are no other distractions. It can also
give consumers access to locations and events they perhaps could
never experience in real life. In this way, brands can develop a
deeper connection with audiences remotely.

And while it is still early, VR may actually boost your return
on investment. According to a survey released this summer from
research firm Greenlight VR, 53% of respondents said they would be
more likely to purchase from a brand that utilizes VR than one that
doesn’t.

Is VR right for my brand?

Some industries lend themselves to VR more naturally than
others. Entertainment companies such as video game makers and movie
studios are the most obvious beneficiaries of the technology.

VR is also expected to change the way the travel industry
markets itself. Marriott Hotels introduced “VRoom Service” at
select locations last year, allowing guests to borrow Samsung Gear
VR headsets that come preloaded with travel experiences.

For automakers, VR could transform the test drive. Toyota, for
example, created a futuristic VR experience where users could
experience the new Prius Prime.

But any brand that is targeting an 18-to-34-year-old demographic
should be thinking about VR, said Peter Naylor, senior VP-ad sales
at Hulu,
especially those that want to be known for innovation.

Where should I start?

Before you even think about jumping into VR, it is important to
already have a clear content marketing strategy in place. Given
that, 360 video is a great on-ramp to experiment with VR. For many
consumers, it is the first way they are becoming acquainted with
virtual reality, since it only requires a cheap cardboard device to
experience in a VR-like way.

Digital publishers who have VR initiatives like Conde Nast, Time
Inc., and
The New York Times
make for good distribution platforms and
content partners since they already have scale, an audience…

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