HCP Social Media Ads Blog Series: AR vs. VR

As we approach the holiday season, advertisers are looking for new ways to stand up to consumers on social media. We’ve all seen and used the regular ad formats (single image, carousel with multiple images, video, etc.) on at least the three major platforms (Meta, Twitter and LinkedIn). (And if you are not using these platforms, you will miss the opportunity to reach your target audience by the way.) However, today’s blog post will delve into a new emerging ad format: Augmented Reality (AR) vs. Virtual Reality (VR).

Augmented reality, by definition, is 25% virtual, requires no major hardware, and is compatible with the real world. A recent campaign from Michael Kors Provides an excellent example Augmented reality marketing in action. They have designed an ad that allows users to try on the sunglasses as well as try different colored lenses before making a purchase.

On the other hand, VR, by definition, is 75% virtual, requires a head device of some sort, and is completely fictional. For example, Meta uses its “Meta Quest” (VR headset) product. To revive Halloween. They’ve partnered with film director Eli Roth to take users into a 180-degree VR experience of a horror house where people appear to be transformed into dolls. Meta also has a new four-episode “Scream Park” in VR starring Grace Van Dien from Stranger Things.

As you can see, there are some new and exciting things to test and use in the social media marketing space. But maybe you still have a question about which platforms can I use AR and VR? I’m glad you asked!

The following platforms currently offer or have provided augmented reality solutions: Snapchat, Facebook (Meta), Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok. The most common way brands use AR on social media is to create a filter. The filter, for social media marketing, is a photo effect that can be used while taking a photo, or applied to photos before a user posts them. Sometimes a filter can be as simple as placing a logo in a corner with a border, or it can be a specific event such as placing user faces on the bodies of teams playing in the Super Bowl.

A regular carousel, banner or video ad is great for getting users to click on the site or create brand awareness. However, what AR advertising can bring to a marketing plan is increase customer engagement, improve brand awareness, and help your video or brand go viral. I know it’s new to most healthcare brands or users, but this is a place where we can be creative and think outside of the regular banner or video ad.

Switching gears to virtual reality, Roblox is one of the biggest players in the space. Roblox is an application that allows users to play a variety of games, create games, and chat with other users over the Internet. It combines gaming, social media and social commerce in one place. Brands like Nike and Gucci have created cities or “lands” that allow users to interact with each other online and play games or create avatars wearing Nike and Gucci products.

Wendy’s Restaurant has leveraged the Meta Horizon World Platform to create a metaverse restaurant where users can walk behind the counter and interact with each other through mouthwatering adventures. Some of the differences that make virtual reality more impactful than augmented reality is that you get the user’s full attention when they are in the virtual world interacting with their brand; Virtual reality is not just telling stories but living the story. VR brings your brand story to life before the eyes of users and makes them experience the brand before purchasing any product.

We can also provide both spaces with great benefits for the brand, especially within the social media channel. For a quick summary of AR, it does not require a master set and is present in the real world and can be used on a variety of applications in terms of filters. Virtual reality requires users to own a headset and it happens in a full-fledged world and there are few apps and platforms that offer the experience. Either way, both augmented and virtual reality have become staples of social media marketing and it will be interesting to see what pharmaceutical brands can do.

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