Extended reality is the new way to engage audiences for marketers in search of immersive and interactive customer experiences. While Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are expanding in the customer journeys of many brands, we see them becoming a real medium of their own.
The iPhone moment
The last twelve months have been characterized by a tectonic shift of interest from VR to AR. VR has grown at a much slower pace than anticipated, at fewer than 10 million headsets. Current devices are cumbersome, while high quality content is scarce. The market is still looking for the first mass market VR device: the iPhone moment. In this environment of deflated expectations, we tend to forget that VR is advancing on many fronts: gaming, location-based experiences and in-store activations. On the other hand, AR has just gone through its iPhone – and Android – moment. 1 billion mobile phones will be AR-enabled in 2019 thanks to new mobile AR platforms. Starting from simple Snapchat filters, AR is expanding to the customer journeys of companies like Zara, and is set to become the new search and computing platform of our mobile-first future.
An extension to Total Video
Extended reality is still a nascent technology and medium. While it is hard to predict future consumer adoption, nobody doubts its revolutionary nature for media companies. VR will enable us to engage audiences at an unprecedented level through immersion, interactivity and social viewing. AR will extend our formats with real-world elements and into our viewers’ living rooms. They both expand our reach to new devices and headsets that may become mainstream in the future. For all these reasons, VR and AR are natural extensions to RTL Group’s Total Video strategy. In 2017 we decided to prepare for the long-term and invested in Inception XR, a company that combines leading technology with an award-winning immersive content studio and a top VR destination. The insights from this collaboration will enable us to:
- build the technical and storytelling capabilities needed for these new media;
- learn about user behaviour through Inception’s distribution platform;
- create new Total Video advertising formats, extending TV and digital to VR and AR.
The quest for ROI
Advertisers also need to prepare for the future, but they do have an immediate opportunity. AR is not an innovation project anymore, it is a medium that drives engagement and sales, reaching 1 billion people across the world. AR is revolutionizing the mobile shopping experience. Consumers can test and visualize products wherever they are. This is why platforms such as Snapchat and Facebook are focusing on AR advertising, while a lot of work is put into standardization. While VR cannot be used to for mass reach yet, it is the most immersive tool for physical activation. Airlines, auto makers and others are already redesigning their customer interactions around this. It should be in the minds of all marketeers designing in-store experiences.
Discover the TV Key Facts publication here.