Commentary

Virtual Reality Struggles To Go More Mainstream

Despite the experience it can provide, virtual reality is still a relatively small component of the Internet of Things.

One of the key barriers is the cost, with 96% of the online population who do not own a VR headset, according to a new study.

The price has been a growth barrier, but headsets from Google and Facebook’s Oculus this year could change that, since they are cheaper and don’t need a high-end smartphone or PC to work, notes the report.

The study by Global Web Index comprised a survey of 97,000 online consumers, 3,800 of whom own a virtual reality headset.

The potential for marketing in VR is alluring, since it presents the opportunity to place messaging literally right in front of people's eyeballs.

The study found that branded content can play a role in purchasing, with 27% of headset owners motivated to purchase by exclusive content and more than a quarter (27%) using video while searching.

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Inside VR advertising is still at the developmental stages. However, ad blocking may become an issue as virtual reality grows. The study found that more than half (54%) of VR headset owners block ads in their current digital interactions. Here are the reasons:

  • 49% -- There are too many ads on the internet
  • 48% -- Too many ads are annoying or irrelevant
  • 45% -- Ads are too intrusive
  • 43% -- Ads sometimes contain viruses or bugs
  • 41% -- Ads take up too much screen space
  • 38% -  To speed up page loading times
  • 36% -- To avoid having to see video ads before watching clips or shows

Aside from blocking ads, VR headset owners interact with brands in number of ways, such as watching their videos (31%), downloading and using branded apps (31%) and playing branded games (24%).

Much of VR marketing is still at the experimental phase, so there’s time to learn from past digital consumer experiences. The study already shows why VR headset owners block ads when online. Virtual reality marketing presents an opportunity to learn to do it right, while the market is still relatively small.

9 comments about "Virtual Reality Struggles To Go More Mainstream".
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  1. Tom Siebert from BENEVOLENT PROPAGANDA, March 29, 2018 at 10 a.m.

    The reception to the film adaption of "Ready Player One"--intended as a means to normalize and glorify VR to the masses--will be telling. The media is buzzing about it, but I'm not getting a similar vibe from the public. 


    Personally, I've not enjoyed my VR experiences, which have left me feeling dizzy and carsick. I had the same sensations from 3D TV. It's quite possible VR will get the same respone 3D TV got from the masses: indifference that blossomed into failure. 

  2. Ginger Cookie from Consultant, March 29, 2018 at 10:13 a.m.

    Although bear in mind that AR is going to scale first. 

    Starting with the simplicity to overlay its animation/graphics over the widely scaleable 360 degree footage.  VR will be secondary to this burgeoning rollout. 

    Less intrusive, safer and done in the write context with timing, will gain traction of "time spent" on a higher qualitative level as well as engagement to click over for more info/purchase, obviously pending on the category, etc. 

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, March 29, 2018 at 10:30 a.m.

    We need this like another hole in the head.

  4. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, March 29, 2018 at 10:35 a.m.

    Getting the same reactions here, Tom. Lots of insider buzz, and we're being hit wiht tons of PR on it. There are some really interesting uses of VR, though, especially in areas of training and research. Check Walmart training, System1 research, as well as Isobar which is doing some very advanced VR research.

  5. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, March 29, 2018 at 10:37 a.m.

    Good points, Ginger. Numerous studies show VR gaining in the short term and then AR blowing way past it, by a lot. For 360, lots of that done for VR but realistically viewed more easily on PCs and phones.

  6. John Grono from GAP Research, March 29, 2018 at 6:41 p.m.

    These things tend to happen in three stages.

    First, augumented reality.

    Second, virtual reality.

    Third, real reality.

  7. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, March 29, 2018 at 7:25 p.m.

    You may be right, John, even though the industry officially views the third stage as "mixed reality."

  8. John Grono from GAP Research replied, March 29, 2018 at 8:05 p.m.

    Ummm.   Chuck, maybe I was being too subtle.   We're in the third stage now.   And what a wonderful stage it is.

  9. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, March 29, 2018 at 8:10 p.m.

    With ya now, John. :) 

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