What You Need to Know About Virtual Reality

Eoin Dowdall
Creative Director

virtual reality

Over the past few years, virtual reality has shifted from science fiction to accessible technology. 2016 is predicted to be a big year for virtual reality since it is the first year that the technology has become affordable enough for the general population. This increase in affordability has widen the reach of this niche market, and virtual reality sales are set to surpass the £1 billion sales mark by the end of the year. But what does this all mean for you and your organisation?

Meaning of Virtual Reality

The meaning of virtual reality, simply put, is the use of technology to create a simulation of a three dimensional environment that can be interacted with. And it is only recently that virtual reality (VR) has reached a point of commercial realisation due to advances in technology. Optimal VR requires very high resolution screens which have only recently been technologically and financially accessible.

Immersive video

VR is a completely immersive video, as you are wearing a headset to completely insert you into the video. Consequently there are minimal distractions when using VR which means that there is more attention on the message of the video. This creates endless opportunities for VR as it puts the audience at the centre of an experience.

However when using immersive video like VR, one has to be cautious. Due to the immersive nature of VR ads, a poorly conceived ad has the potential to leave users feeling sick. This creates higher stakes for VR than other video strategies.

Virtual Reality Charity Videos

The effectiveness of VR is the way it inserts the viewer directly into the video and creates an experience for them to interact with. This allows for virtual reality charity videos to tell a story in a more personal and intimate way than normal video allows.

Virtual reality charity videos can be an effective means for raising awareness, encouraging donations, and increasing advocacy. Charities use video to tell emotional and meaningful stories. And VR allows for charities to break down the barriers and let audiences experience these meaningful stories for themselves. This makes VR a very powerful tool for charities. Moreover our brains are more likely to remember events that are linked to locations which makes VR experiences have a stronger resonance in the audience’s memory.

A few charities have already tapped into the power of virtual reality with great results.  They’ve found that VR is more effective at generating strong emotion in users which are linked to real behaviour change. Unicef is one charity that has used VR to great success, as can be seen in the video below. Creating an VR experience for a Syrian refugee camp, they were able to double their donation rate.

Only time will tell what applications VR will have and it’s full potential. But remember that just like any other marketing tool, VR is most effective when used strategically to target audiences.