Immersive experiences: adapt or be left behind
By Jessica Jacobs, Group Chief Customer & Partnerships Officer at Incubeta
As customer expectations continue to shift, capturing an audience’s attention has become one of the biggest challenges currently faced by marketers. Especially as the trends of immediate gratification, shortform content and perpetual connectivity are making it increasingly difficult to engage in any meaningful way with consumers.
According to research, human attention span has dropped to just eight seconds across all generations. That’s shorter than a goldfish’s. If you break it down further, the time in which marketers have to draw in their audience gets much shorter. Gen Z, for example, only has an active attention span of approximately 1.3 seconds when it comes to advertising.
Enter immersive experiences. A growing trend that has become central to many brands’ marketing strategies, emerging as a powerful way to instantly grab, and hold, an audience’s attention. More than that, it is a technique that transforms audience members from passive recipients to active participants in the narrative of a marketing campaign. That said, immersive experiences take a lot of work to create. In fact, to build something truly outstanding that an audience will want to interact with, and will remember afterwards, requires a fair amount of insight into your consumers’ needs and interests.
So, before we lose your attention to the next distraction, we want to discuss how you can harness new technology – such as the power of artificial intelligence (AI) – to build innovative, creative solutions that will captivate, engage, and entertain your customers.
Why immersive experiences are essential for engagement
As the world becomes increasingly digitized and the level of convenience offered to people continues to increase, customer expectations have risen higher than ever. The onus is now on companies to provide a memorable, personalized user experience to their customers or risk losing out on their business. Immersive technologies – such as virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality – are a key tool in providing these memorable experiences. In fact, a recent study from Capgemini Research Institute revealed that 58% of the consumers surveyed mentioned immersive experiences could be impactful and valuable during product/service selection and purchase.
And brands have already started using these tools to great effect. Take, for example, Sephora’s announcement earlier this year about offering its customers skincare personalization technology and solutions, both in-store and online. Or Volvo’s recently created app that allows consumers to experience a test drive of their XC90 SUV on their phone. While, BT has launched Immersive Spaces for business and public sector organizations, a 5G-enabled solution that simulates real life situations to improve business learning and development. The interactive space includes a library of more than 3,000 virtual scenarios, real-life environments, games and training experiences.
All of these experiences have been designed to get customers to interact directly with the brand, and to leave a lasting impression. They are creative, engaging and exciting and will no doubt be memorable for those who use them.
AI, the secret to immersive technologies
As mentioned, these experiences are not easy to create. Fortunately, we are entering an era where advanced technologies such as AI, machine learning (ML) and automation can play an instrumental role in their creation. By tapping into the potential of these intelligent solutions, marketers can develop strategies to create immersive, interactive and personalized content on a whole new level – and use it to dramatically increase customer engagement.
These technological solutions can be used to analyze vast amounts of data and make intelligent predictions about user behavior, helping to accurately recognize and interpret physical environments and even allow for immersive experiences to respond and react to the user in real-time. This means these experiences won’t just engage with the customer, they have the potential to be increasingly relevant and hyper-personalized.
Ultimately, AI is a powerful tool that businesses can use to streamline creative excellence, increase efficiency and reduce time constraints. According to Scott Mager, CMO at Deloitte “It’s [AI] a creative renaissance; it puts creativity in more people’s hands, and I think we’re going to get more interesting content that’s [currently] locked in people’s heads.”
When combined with the immersive, AI can help create something truly unforgettable.
Pushing the boundaries of AI driven immersive experiences
In conclusion, AI and immersive technology is creating new and exiting opportunities for marketers to reach customers in memorable ways. It is now more important than ever for brands to prepare themselves and think about utilizing the capabilities of AI to make their personalization strategy more efficient.
Brands should think about their investment in these two emerging technologies as a long-term business strategy, rather than just a one-off marketing activation. Implementing AI and immersive technology will add a more tangible, engaging aspect to their offerings that will resonate with new and pre-existing consumers and leave them with a lasting impression.