Current Issue Summary
June 2021 (Vol. 61, Issue 2)
Can Advertisers Overcome Consumer Qualms with Virtual Reality? Increasing Operational Transparency through Self-Guided 360-Degree Tours
Hotels, museums and other travel-related entities regularly advertise using virtual, self-guided, panoramic tours. Yet, there has been little insight into how this format influences consumer behavior. So, Nathalie Spielmann (NEOMA Business School-Rouen, France) and Ulrich R. Orth (Christian-Albrechts University-Kiel, Germany) used computer-mediated experiences to evaluate the impact of such platforms on consumer perceptions. Their research argues that telepresence is important for creating lasting, memorable experiences with a brand. Self-guided panoramic tours, which are nearly equivalent to firsthand experiences, offer consumers the opportunity to control their telepresence on whichever device they are using. As a result, they are more likely to want to experience the ad. When marketers choose to embrace consumers with a telepresence advertisement, the authors suggest that such contact “may be beneficial for increasing authenticity and lowering perceived manipulative intent.” Three studies provided evidence that supported the authors’ conclusions:
- In the first, a U.S. panel took a self-guided, panoramic tour of the Museum of Childhood in London. As they experienced heightened telepresence, they became attracted to the advertised offer because they perceived it as authentic, and had lower perceptions of inferred, manipulative intent.
- Similar results came in the second study, which used a different panel of respondents and compared virtual tours of the Ice Hotel in Quebec to static images.
- The third study replicated the previous ones at Vietnam’s Son Doong Cave, adding claustrophobia as a covariate, which further promoted the ad’s authenticity.
- These studies’ findings “point to computer-mediated experiences being a robust and reliable means for successfully advertising to consumers,” the researchers wrote.
Read the full article here.