Encash VR: Virtual Reality Monetization, Growth and Trends

The New York Times stated in 2007 that people saw an average of 5,000 ads per day. We live in a world full of distractions, so it's increasingly rare to have someone’s complete attention. In such times imagine a platform which assures undivided attention of users - that's where Virtual Reality (VR) comes in.

Virtual reality provides the opportunity for an experience totally void of distraction, letting the user naturally engage with the experience. Use the world’s newfound enthusiasm and curiosity for VR to your advantage. Make use of the time consumers spend in this intimate world wisely by logging what users are looking at as actionable business intelligence.

Simply put, goal of virtual reality is to simulate the real world in digital form. Effectively it transports (virtually ofcourse) the user into a new realm. More formally, as defined by Gartner:
"Virtual reality (VR) provides a computer-generated 3D environment that surrounds a user and responds to that individual’s actions in a natural way, usually through immersive head-mounted displays and head tracking. Gloves providing hand tracking and haptic (touch sensitive) feedback may be used as well. Room-based systems provide a 3D experience for multiple participants; however, they are more limited in their interaction capabilities."

While the VR experience can be delivered using expensive headsets like Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR, it can also be experienced with Google's $15 Cardborard.

The single biggest selling proposition of Virtual Reality technology is is the immersive experience it brings for users with 360 degree video and surround sound experience.

Here are some quick stats on VR Adoption and Growth

  • IDC predicts that VR headsets will grow at a very strong pace, with a CAGR of 48.7% through 2021. AR and VR headsets collectively are expected to increase from under 10 million units in 2016 to just shy of 100 million units in 2021, with a 5-year CAGR of 57.7%. 
  • CCS Insight expects sales of dedicated VR headsets to grow to 22 million units by 2021 - an 800 percent increase over 2017. Market to be worth $7.7 billion by 2021. 
  • PWC's study finds that China's demand for VR headsets will reach 85.9 million by 2021, overtaking the United States' demand for 68 million units. 

So here are some ways business can encash the Virtual Reality wave

  • Branding: If you are an early adopter of this technology, you can use this opportunity to generate buzz around your brand by developing a branding based VR initiative. Example Coca Cola created 
  • Creating new kind of interactions with content: Given a new kind of immersive experience entertainment, education and gaming businesses in particular can create new content leveraging the 360 degree video, surround sound, touch and other new ways of users interacting with the content. If these new experience are indulging enough, business can monetize them on a standalone basis or even use them for better stickiness to the overall offering. 
  • Making prospects experience proposed offerings: Prospective customers can be given tours of in-progress or planned real estate projects or even made to experience under-development or conceptual-stage products. 
  • Simulate hard to replicate scenarios: Businesses can demonstrate performance of offerings in difficult to replicate situations like safety features of car or performance of security equipment during theft etc.   

Having a VR experience for your customers is not the end of story. Whats required is to continuously analyse, optimize and innovate. However just understanding content play counts is not good enough. View, share, and click metrics don't incorporate human visual perception. Thus, by not taking actual consumer actions into account, there's no real value stemming from the data.

Effective virtual reality analytics should provide you with statistics of the trends and outliers that you weren’t aware of but should be when creating and revising your content. Value of VR analytics and experience optimization can be realized only when you have understanding of your audience’s preferences and behavior.

For the first time, the combination of the user’s physical behavior and their physical interaction from the VR headset actively tells you what people are engaging with. The user experience is key. Understanding the sensory value of a user's experience is essential in order to replicate it. What is making your user smile or say, "wow, this is so cool" when they’re locked in your story in virtual reality? Knowing what led to the smile, or any emotion, is essential in optimizing the way users get to the "wow!" moment.