New Frontiers in Digital Present Fresh Ways to Reach Consumers
May 26, 2022
You know what they say about affiliate...where there’s a link, there’s a way! Not really, but when it comes to new social media and online platforms, marketers are testing their way into showcasing relevant ad content through new technology trends such as AR, VR and the metaverse, and TikTok to name a few.
Though some of these concepts may come with a steep learning curve in regard to monetization, marketers are figuring out how to harness new technologies to increase conversion and reach new audiences.
1. Augmented Reality (AR)
What is AR? Augmented reality (AR) allows a user to interact with objects virtually overlaid on their real-world surroundings. Remember back in 2016 when everyone was catching Pikachu at their local park with their phones? That’s AR.
How can AR be used for marketing? When leveraged for marketing and advertising, brands have introduced new purpose and use of AR with “try before you buy” experiences, like with eyeglasses, clothes, and furniture. As more brands adopt unique AR experiences as an ecommerce shopping tool, users have been on the rise; in 2022, it’s predicted that 35 million people will use AR for shopping, which is nearly double the 18.9 million in 2019.
Advantages of AR and the way forward Shopping with AR leads to reduced rates of returns and an increase in conversions. Shopify reported that informed purchases led to a 40% decrease in returns from 3D visualization due to consumers getting a better sense of product fit and style. And, according to the AR firm, Vertebrae, the customer conversion rate increases by 90% for customers engaging with AR versus those that don't. More marketing opportunities through social, traditional, and gaming are reachable through AR and through that other acronym, VR.
2. Virtual Reality (VR) and the Metaverse
What are VR and the metaverse? In contrast to AR where a virtual object is placed in the real world, VR immerses the user inside a completely artificial environment connected through TV, computers, mobile devices, or headsets. While marketers are still wrapping their heads around how mechanics in VR will work, video games like Roblox, Animal Crossing, and Fortnite have been first adopters as large platforms for testing campaigns.
How can VR and the metaverse be used for marketing? eMarketer predicts mobile gaming ad revenues in the US will reach $6.26B in 2022, up 14% from $5.49B in 2021. These video game landscapes in which avatars are created for socialization have created an environment for brands and products to naturally weave into the narrative, adding an element of the real world to this virtual one. For instance, skate brand Vans created a skateboarding-themed world in the game Roblox, which has seen more than 61.3 million visits since its launch in April 2021. In-game events like virtual concerts are signing big names and bringing their following; for example, in November 2020 Lil Nas X hosted a concert series in Roblox which has been viewed more than 33 million times.
The metaverse has the potential to disrupt everything from business travel and the future of work to gaming, health and fitness, entertainment, marketing, and education.- eMarketer
Advantages of VR and the metaverse, and the way forward Like AR, VR also sees increases in conversion and decreases in returns with a more informed purchase decision, even in a completely virtual environment. Since VR is currently closely tied with gaming, the storytelling element of marketing plays a big role in engagement. Players have become accustomed to seeing brands in games, but it’s important to consider relevant interweaving and how marketing blends into games’ storytelling. In a June 2021 Comscore survey, 42% of respondents said they expect product placement will be relevant to the game, or placement could seem too forced.
What’s happening with TikTok these days? TikTok has come a long way since its early days as the video platform for viewing short-form dances. Nowadays, not only do consumers find themselves making purchases from their favorite influencers with little hesitation, TikTok’s algorithm can serve up new and relevant content and product ads for future conversions.
How can TikTok be used for marketing? The hashtag #tiktokmademebuyit has gained popularity showcasing the ease with which influencers can encourage impulse spending on the platform. eMarketer reported in March this year that videos with the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt have accumulated 10.2B global views. Because US TikTok users skew younger (41% of viewers are 10 – 25 years old), there are limits to the buying power of this audience within the Tik Tok platform. TikToks often result in inspiring intent, but ultimately many purchases happen off-platform.
Advantages of TikTok and the way forward To combat off-platform conversions, TikTok is rapidly releasing new features to drive users from discovery to purchase directly on the platform. TikTok has expanded their shopping tools by working with third-party commerce partners such as Shopify, Square, Ecwid, and PrestaShop to enhance solutions for US merchants. With these partnerships, TikTok Business account holders can create in-app storefronts, product links, collection, and dynamic showcase ads, as well as live shopping links.
Since TikTok ads are algorithm-driven for trending content, brands should adopt a content-first, commerce-second approach to their strategies. Just like similar practices for strategy in gaming and the metaverse, content shouldn’t be overly promotional where it doesn’t fit the light, irreverent setting of TikTok. Testing your way into the platform, by incorporating the viral sound clips with product links or poking fun at your products by linking to an in-app storefront are a few ways to measure and see what works best.
Interested in testing out something new and noteworthy in this fresh frontier of marketing? Contact your CJ account manager to strategize a successful test campaign.