Mountain View, CA – To help jump start your 2017 virtual reality projects, Google just published some engagement tips on its think with Googleplatform. In the article, they outline 3 best practice takeaways from a qualitative study that they conducted with a panel of 13- to 44-year-old smartphone users who watch at least one hour of video per week. The question they asked: What makes you stick around in a VR world? The response was that in order to keep interest, the content must do at least oneof the following:

#1: Make the viewer the protagonist, not just a spectator, in the VR experience – Give the user an active role, not just a seat in a omni-directional theater. Incorporate real decision-making into the experience to get folks emotionally invested and intellectually stimulated.

#2: Make the impossible possible – Take the user to a place that he or she could never go in real life, whether that place is a remote corner of the globe, or a truly impossible journey to a distant galaxy.

#3: Expand the viewer’s worldview – Think beyond the “coolness” of the technology, and use VR as a tool to deliver a new perspective on something familiar. Use it to deliver a new point-of-view by allowing the user to experience a situation through someone else’s eyes

The author, Alexis Cox, concludes that VR doesn’t have to have high-end production values and crazy effects to be immersive and compelling. Creators need to purposefully leverage the unique capabilities of VR to build experiences that intrigue and pull the audience in emotionally.

In addition to these helpful tips, the article has some great links to VR projects that demonstrate each of the best practices. Check out them out here.

Why this matters – Now that VR is becoming more mainstream, it seems like every pharma brand is looking into what the tech can do for them—from boosting HCP engagement and standing out on a crowded congress floor, to making a deeper connection with patients and caregivers. So far, we’re seeing plenty of projects that do a decent job of incorporating  takeaways#2 and #3. Not surprisingly, VR has been used quite masterfully to demonstrate drug  MOAs and complex interactions at the cellular and molecular levels (truly impossible experiences otherwise!). We’re also seeing quite an up-tick in VR empathy projects—typically an attempt to get the HCP to share some of the symptoms and experiences of their patients.

Perhaps where we’ll star to see creative marketers break through in the new year will be in VR experiences that deliver on #1— projects that allow for greater autonomy of experience and engage with decision-making that has real (virtual) consequences on the story. It seems like an obvious approach to better connect with HCPs. After all, practicing medicine is all about making numerous decisions day-in and day-out. Interactive VR can replicate some of this clinical dynamic and can even be used to turn the tables to give HCPs a perspective on all of the decision-making (and consequence) that goes on behind the scenes in a patient’s life outside of the office. In any case, we’re excited to see what creative VR pharma can cook up in 2017!

About the Author:

Jeffrey Giermek