Why Most Marketers Should Care About Virtual and Augmented Reality

For many, virtual reality still feels like an out-of-reach experience. Only 8% of the US population has tried immersive VR. Throw in concerns about how your body would react to prolonged use, the considerable expense involved in both creating and viewing VR content, and the lack of tangible metrics, and it’s easy to see why many marketers are wary of VR marketing.

But what is virtual reality exactly? A report by Forrester Research found that 42% of US online adults have never heard about VR headsets.

Here are some examples of available VR and augmented reality (AR) technology:

Headset VR. This experience typically involves a headset, sensors, and a VR-enabled PC. Though it is the most immersive, it is also the most expensive, making widespread adoption challenging. Some examples are the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

Lo-fi VR. An example of this type of experience is Google Cardboard and other headsets that use a smartphone as part of the system. One application commonly used with this tech is 360-degree video, which allows users to look around from various perspectives within a video. There is a good deal of debate around whether 360 videos should be considered VR at all, but for most consumers it is their first VR-like experience.

AR. Though it’s not technically virtual reality,…

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