Although agency executives generally agree that the goal of using virtual reality is immersion that engages consumers, there seems to be uncertainty on the best way to achieve that goal.
This was the general consensus from a panel discussion at yesterday’s MediaPost OMMA VR/AR at Advertising Week conference.
"Nobody's really cracked the code of using immersive technology yet,” said Andrew Klein, associate director of social experience and product innovation at Mediavest-Spark.
The panel, which also included executives from Hill Holliday, Giant Spoon and OMD, discussed which type of VR experiences agencies should utilize, as well as how to approach bringing the ideas to life.
On the creation and production side of VR experiences, the general consensus was that agencies should focus on partnering, rather than tackling complete projects internally.
VR by nature is neither fully video nor fully gaming, but the group agreed that agencies should not approach VR from a video production standpoint.
Agencies building teams to work on virtual reality projects should focus on sourcing talent with experience in game development.
The group also discussed the different tiers of VR in relation to client and market expectations. Scalability and budget are the main areas that define which direction to move with using VR for clients.
Creating lower-end, 360-degree video experiences can achieve higher reach, with playback in baseline mobile-based VR viewers like Google Cardboard and support across most major social media platforms with or without a VR viewer. However, the experiences generally are not fully immersive and engaging.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, creating fully immersive virtual reality experiences that enable consumers to physically move around in and interact with the virtual world can have high impact, but the scalability is much lower. The issue of scalability was also mentioned by others throughout the event.
The limiting factor seems to come down to costs. These experiences require consumers to own expensive computing and VR equipment, although there were several references that the PlayStation VR headset could have a positive effect in this area.
The cost of creating also seems to increase in a nonlinear fashion when moving toward the fully immersive VR experiences, based on project costs mentioned throughout the event.