girl riding a bike wearing a virtual reality headset

Virtual and augmented reality are shifting into mainstream media faster than most marketers realize. Just like the rise of social media, and eCommerce, if businesses don’t stay up-to-date on the latest emerging technology they risk financial loss, and failure.

The good news is it’s far from too late, and businesses already using social media as a marketing tool have an advantage in that VR and AR seems to be extending from pre-existing social platforms.

Who Is Dabbling In Virtual & Augmented Reality?

Snap

Spectacles

Ever since Snapchat rebranded to Snap, the company has been adamantly pushing their new identity as a “camera company”, alongside the release of Spectacles. These camera sunglasses allow you to take photos with the press of a button, and wirelessly share the snaps to Snapchat.

Currently Spectacles do not have any VR or AR functionality but we know that Snap is openly exploring the possibilities, thanks to this patent they filed for augmented wearables. The patent lists future products like “glasses, visors, watches, or other network enabled items.”

World Lenses

Snapchat has already stepped into the world of augmented reality by adding 3D objects that can be seen while walking around with your smartphone camera opened to the Snapchat app. (If you’ve played Pokemon it’s just like that.)

Here’s some instructions on how to use the World Lenses with your Snapchat app today.

Facebook

Facebook Spaces

Facebook acquired Virtual Reality headset company Oculus in 2014 with plans to expand into the VR world. Recently, they launched “Facebook Spaces“, a beta VR experience that allows Facebook users to build 3D cartoon versions of themselves, hang out with friends, share photos, draw 3D objects, and do video calls. Right now, users must use an Oculus Rift headset to participate in Spaces.

messenger-video-call-still

There’s not exactly much to do in Spaces, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue for the Facebook VR team, who are most interested in how current users are interacting with their Facebook friends, rather than opening the world up to strangers.

If the experience doesn’t make your existing relationships with family and friends on Facebook better “then it doesn’t belong in here. At least not now,” Facebook Head of Social VR, Rachel Rubin Franklin, told Wired.

Learn more about Facebook Spaces, and how to participate in the beta, here.

How Will VR and Augmented Reality Impact Influencer Marketing?

The world of VR and AR is still new, but the technology is evolving quickly, and influencer marketers will undoubtedly become wrapped up in this new form of communication.

Live Videos Turn Into Real-Time Virtual Hangouts

Currently many influencers host live videos where participants can comment to ask questions, and interact with each other and the influencer via the social media platform. With virtual reality headsets a whole audience will be able to join a hangout with an influencer. (This is still a little ways off, but prepare for it, because Facebook is preparing its Spaces for moments like this.)

Virtual Reality Product Testing

We’re all familiar with trying on clothes in a brightly lit dressing room, looking into the mirror, and wondering, “Will this look good when I go to that outdoor event?”. With virtual reality, shopping is probably going to take another leap into the future. Virutal reality can transport us into different settings without leaving the comfort of our home.

Experience Benefits Of Giving To Charity

In Tom’s flagship California store they have started using VR to allow their customers to experience what it’s like to donate shoes to children in a remote Peru village. The popular shoe brand has been popular for it’s one-for-one program, where if you buy a pair of shoes, they donate another pair to children in need.

There’s a few more Tom’s stores across the United States offering this experience – simply ask to try the “virtual reality chair”.

What’s Next?

Sky’s the limit when it comes to VR & AR, but one thing’s for sure, the brands who end up on top aren’t just dabbling in next-level technology, they’re thinking hard on how to incorporate it into existing programs and campaigns.

Keep reading the Acorn blog to get the latest updates and news on everything digital and influencer marketing.