We hear the term Virtual Reality but do we really understand what is it?
VR is a computer-generated scenario that simulates a realistic experience. The goal is to create what appears to be a life size, 3D virtual environment without the boundaries we usually associate with TV or computer screens.
Social media is a great place to keep businesses in the forefront of consumer minds without the need for hard-hitting adverts and with this in mind, companies are investing in VR to gain a bigger brand awareness.
Social media, which started out using just text or images is now evolving, giving way to live videos and the ability to upload ‘360 videos’ – allowing users to tilt their view to see the video from any angle. Many of us find it hard to comprehend anything more than a 3D perspective but as technology evolves, with gaming leading the way, other aspects of technology will be adopted virtually and become more widely used.
Facebook has also signaled that they’d like to expand this further and would like to develop the possibility of people being able to meet up virtually with friends, communicating with them from the comfort of their VR systems.
Studies from social media show that video content is the most engaged form of content and it is videos that most grab people’s attention and prepare customers to invest in a product or experience. A video can say much more than a million words!
Photos and images are still extremely effective and can be powerful but going a little further can often make a huge difference to the customer’s experience.
As we head into a new realm of virtual reality and how it can impact social media, although it is still early days, we will inevitably see it taking its place in regular social media streams – allowing businesses to create more advertising experiences. E-commerce retailers will be able to leverage these formats to reach hesitant audiences in a digital space, creating a virtual store for shoppers to explore online.
The use of virtual reality is accelerating quickly and the good news is that hardware is becoming affordable for people to try the experience. The latest Samsung Gear VR headset is retailing for around £75, and Facebook’s Oculus Rift is available for £370 – which is less than the cost of an iPhone! It’s becoming more accessible to every-day people to explore the possibilities of virtual reality which will benefit all companies that start to integrate it into the social media strategies.
“The great thing about Facebook allowing you to upload and explore 360 videos is that it allows you to understand the concept of 360 & VR more.
It gives you the opportunity to be exposed to the type of content that is being created. It’s the baby steps that is allowing a larger audience to start getting used to the idea of 360 & VR.
Especially for those who can’t afford a headset yet.
Facebook has already explored connecting people across the world using Facebook spaces, allowing Facebook users to hang out together in a virtual world. Facebook is all about keeping people connected all over the world and VR is just one next step. One day you won’t be scrolling through your wall, you will be experiencing it.”
– Samantha Kingston / Client Director at Virtual Umbrella
Are you already using virtual reality? Can you see the benefits are in using it for social media purposes? We’d love to hear your comments below.