The Future of Social Networking: Virtual Reality Meets Social Networks

The following is a guest post.

Social networks have been woven into the fabric of everyday life. From Facebook and Twitter, Instagram to Snapchat, these social networks keep us connected (and distracted) to people all over the globe.

Social networks rely on advertising as their primary revenue source. Advertising revenue comes from targeting your advertising dollars to reach your target customers. Your find your target customers from information provided by users on these networks. Virtual reality (VR) might be the next big thing in targeted advertising; the combination of social networks with VR could provide the ultimate platform for consumers and business alike.

Trends show that VR industry will keep growing, meaning that current mainstream headsets- Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR, are just the beginning. Display resolution will keep improving, problem with motion sickness when using headset for a long period of time will be solved, there will be no need for extension cables as all headsets will run wirelessly, all this leading to the fact that VR is the future. Besides gaming and videos, VR will be integrated in jobs and social networking.


A video is worth 1.8 million words

The old adage goes “a picture is worth a 1000 words”. In the digital age, a video is worth at least a thousand pictures, so a video is worth over a million words. Studies have shown that this logical extension actually comes to 1.8 million words. Advertisers can harness the power of social networks with the capabilities of VR to produce hyper-targeted ads for specific groups.

Video improves material retention AND engagement. A tweet with an image received 150% more retweets while after three days people retain 65% of a message via video vs 10% for just text alone.

VR is even MORE effective than video alone, by some accounts 1.5 to 18 times more effective as an advertising platform. It also doubled the intent to share the information with others. In other words, VR might just be the most effective marketing tool ever developed with social media being the most effective distribution channel.

Several industries can obviously benefit from the use of VR as a marketing tool. One industry making use of VR is real estate. VR home tours save time and money as clients and agents can take a virtual tour of prospective houses without leaving the house/office and can help target/identify suitable properties. Real estate agents can post these VR videos to their social media accounts and drum up business that newsletters, emails and newspaper ads just fail to do.

Travel industries also make good use of targeted VR ads. For people wanting to take a vacation, an immersive VR experience of your target destination is a good way to begin to make your initial plans. Also, VR experiences can also help you eliminate potential destinations if you have several options to consider.

VR simulations of roller coasters are a no-brainer for those considering a trip to an amusement park. VR roller coaster simulations can almost make the viewer feel that intense moment of free fall as they go down that first hill. Travel agents (like real estate agents) can post these VR ads to their social media accounts and let people have a look.

The immediate future of combining social media with VR will likely produce much more targeted and effective advertising. This combines the extraordinary reach of social media with the remarkable marketing power of VR. As these industries pioneer the intersection of VR/social media, their success will likely inspire other industries to follow them.