The Rise of Immersive Customer Experiences

In the business world of the modern day, your company either stays ahead of the curve or falls behind. Advertising is one of the best ways to get consumers engaged with a company, but advertisements often annoy the public.

People are using AdBlock and other apps to avoid online advertisers, and switching from cable to streaming devices is becoming more popular for the future of television. Consumers are paying for and going the extra mile to get rid of advertisements entirely. So, how does a company get consumers’ attention without annoying them? By making advertising fun.

Why Companies Like Immersive Advertising

Companies are only reaching a percentage of people through advertising as compared to previous years. With people not engaging as much, the businesses are deciding to initiate engagement by making advertising enjoyable. What’s more, the immersive marketing leaves a good vibe with the consumer.

Traditional advertising may take weeks to years to do, but experiential or immersive advertising can be fast and effective. The consumer likes the campaign so much that they share the experience on social media or in conversation with friends, and positive word gets out to more people for less effort, money and time than the other way around.

Why Consumers Want Immersive Advertising

Customers go out of their way to avoid traditional advertising — even to the point of willing to pay and switch to other services. The truth is, traditional advertising takes up the consumer’s valuable time. A single 30-second video may seem subtle, but not when there are hundreds of them all the time.

However, immersive advertising can be different. Consumers won’t feel their time is being wasted because they make the conscious choice to participate. For example, people enjoy virtual and augmented reality. Nearly half of people between the ages of 16 and 34 say they’re interested in VR headsets, so incorporating VR into advertising can be rewarding.

VR and AR Marketing

When one thinks of immersive advertising, one of the first things to come to mind is advertising with VR. The company saves time and money developing the campaign, and different people can view the advertisement multiple times without sacrificing the charm of the experience. VR can allow the user to experience games, take personal guided tours or test products with nothing but a headset.

AR can also showcase products without the product ever being there. IKEA, for instance, lets customers use AR with their catalog application, allowing them to see what specific items would look like in their home all with a phone or tablet.

For now, the estimates speak for themselves of what the future will hold. According to Gartner, 100 million consumers will shop exclusively with AR, and 30 percent of web browsing will be down without a screen by 2020. They also predict 20 percent of large businesses will use AR, VR and mixed reality immersion by 2019.

Offline Immersive Experiences

The immersive campaigns happening in the real world are much more likely to draw attention from the public. Not only are the experiences really happening, but sometimes they are used to help people or brighten someone’s day. Other times, the experiences are just art in action.

Beautyrest conducted an eight-hour concert surrounded by 150 of their mattresses each filled with a person trying to sleep between the hours of midnight and 8 a.m. The experience wasn’t a resounding triumph for all involved — Adweek’s Katie Richards reported only getting a couple of hours of sleep — but, in general, the campaign was a success regardless. Other consumers noticed the concert, saw some success stories about people sleeping comfortably, and the rest took off from there.

In another instance, Oreo took 3D printing technology to a new level by allowing customers to custom make their own Oreo cookie and watch as everything was assembled. By utilizing the hashtag #eatthetweet and posting pictures to social media, Oreo took advantage of the technology available to them and made an immersive experience without dabbling in VR tech.

Not every immersive experience has to be earth-shattering, though. Simple convenience for the customer can go a long way. After all, companies acknowledging the value of a customer’s time can make a lasting impression. For example, adding brightly-lit and detailed menus at restaurants allow customers to read faster and easier while getting their business done quickly.

Advertising in the Future

As antagonism for advertisements rises, even more people will switch to platforms without any advertising at all, and billboards only garner so much attention.

Consumers want to be pandered to and for their needs to recognized. Having a customer-centric mindset for your business includes how to advertise to the individual without bothering them and creating a negative repertoire. Soon, immersive experiences will be the only way to reach consumers on their level.

 

By Nathan Sykes

About the author

Nathan Sykes is the founder of Finding an Outlet, where he covers business and technology.

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