One of the factors that propelled me to start this blog was the dearth of case studies that would aid marketers in determining the ROI of their immersive marketing campaigns. If the technology is to move decisively beyond the ‘nice to have’ phase it will require a more evidenced-based approach. But that begs the question…what type of return are we looking for?
Marketing literature is replete with discussion on the types of metrics that are appropriate when reviewing marketing activity. Gone are the days when the only determinant of an activity was the direct impact on sales. There are a number of reasons that have led to a more nuanced approach to metric development. Firstly, the impact of a campaign may be felt earlier in the marketing funnel, but be no less critical. Secondly the synergistic nature of campaigns mean that isolating the impact of an individual activity is problematic. So a more broad range of metrics, or KPIs ( Key Performance Indicators ) have evolved.
Paul Banas, Kraft Foods Group’s director/consumer insights and strategy, cited by Stephen D. Rappaport ( 2014 ) identifies four levels in a pyramid of a social-involvement pyramid.
Awareness (consumers passively receiving brand messages) forms the pyramid’s base and lowest social involvement level.
Social involvement increases with Participation (simple efforts to interact with the brand), which leads to….
Engagement (greater or more frequent interaction with the brand and sharing) and culminates with…
Advocacy (unsolicited speaking for the brand to other consumers). The brand aims to move people from awareness to advocacy.
Rappaport goes on to describe two examples at opposite extremes to show how the metrics and levels fit together: The low-involving, passive Awareness metrics included impressions, reach, and brand mentions. Advocacy metrics focused on positive user-generated content created on the brand’s behalf, the number of social recommendations, and the net promoter score.
All of the factors above are ones that can be used in evaluating an immersive marketing campaign. For example, the concepts of reach and brand mentions can be measured in the context of an immersive marketing campaign, not just in terms of how they are achieved in the immersive medium only, but also in terms of wider coverage that the campaign may be getting on other media such as PR coverage.
However, I think that the nature of the immersive environment, particularly in virtual environments, means that a new set of metrics should be deployed.
In previous blogs I have discussed the huge potential that immersive technologies have in creating more ‘sticky’ brand communities. The capacity of the technology to allow people to be digitally present in an alternative environment is exciting, and also offers the promise of a new era in measuring marketing effectiveness.
In virtual reality a new range of opportunities for measurement arise beyond that in the physical world. One of the most promising areas for developing new metrics is in eye tracking. The latest versions of headsets such as HP Omnicept allow for accurate tracking of people’s gaze, and to do so at scale. Eye tracking is not new – it’s commonly deployed in the context of website design and evaluation to see where are the ‘hot-spots’.
But in a virtual reality brand environment a new dynamic arises. As it would be deployed in three-dimensional spaces a new added-value to eye-tracking arises. For starters even where respondents are stationery, the wider field-of view will allow for a richer tracking of where people’s attention is at. A computer screen or print advertisement requires a relatively narrow field-of-view to be used. When people are in brand environments there are many more competing stimuli for attention to distract from a single marketing advertisement for example; accurate eye tracking offers the promise to capture the nature of such attention.
Of course where a 6 DOF movement headset is used, the metrics will move beyond eye tracking. As Brand Metaverses develop more engaging, powerful narratives then it follows that metrics that measure engagement in these virtual spaces will emerge. We will need a new set of metrics to capture fully the extent to which our target audience are responding to our messaging and virtual assets.
And beyond Eye Tracking, a new set of potentially interesting metrics are emerging.
How about the area of biometrics?
Again, headsets such as the Omnicept will have receptors which allow for a clear determination of cognitive overload, which could be deployed against 360 advertising campaigns for example.
Hand Gestures and Movements: we are likely to see new metrics evolve to measure the extent of hand movements and also the nature of gestures.
Facial tracking: as people become more habituated to wearing HMDs so the ability to trace how they are feeling will grow. Expect to see more of these deployed.
And it’s the scale at which these can be deployed which is particularly interesting.
I would like to propose a new model for consumer metrics in the virtual eco-system. Certainly these are speculative, but I do think they potentially offer the basis for a lot of interesting research.
© The Immersive Marketer 2021
All of the above metrics hold potential to unveil new ways to measure the broad construct of brand engagement.
But what should never be lost sight of is the brand objectives context in which such metrics are being developed. Just as in the case of social media – where there is a fixation with platform specific metrics such as Likes – we need to be cautious in not creating another battery of metrics that are self-serving, rather than directed at brand objectives – which senior management do stress over.
For example if the key strategic objective for the brand is to cement customer loyalty, rather than volume growth, then the optimisation of brand presence metrics that are directed at this is called for. In this instance we might have a greater weighting on Zonal Dwell Time as a metric to be focused on. As with all marketing campaigns we are back to first principles, decide on the goals first and only then develop a set of appropriate metrics – I hope that the suggested immersive tech metrics I am proposing help provide some new menu items for more creative metric setting.
Lessons Learned from 197 Metrics, 150 Studies, and 12 Essays: A Field Guide to Digital Metrics Stephen D. Rappaport Stephen D. Rappaport Consulting LLC
This article appears courtesy of The Immersive Marketer